Always remember “Who you are” — Bradley G Munkowitz
Gmunk: Hello I’m Bradley G. Munkowitz.
I’m a Director and Designer currently based in Hackney, London — I moved here from San Francisco about 18 months ago. I’ve been doing mostly Commercial and Music Video Direction for the past 4–5 years, prior to that I worked for the motion graphics industry for the last 10 years, freelancing and staffing as a Design Director for some of the top motion studios in the
My career started in Flash Animation and Design in the early 2000’s working with the freaks at Vir2L Studios both in Rockville Maryland and London, England. Some of my favorite projects through the career were definitely the Design Direction for the Holograms and Opening Titles for the Feature Film Tron Legacy, and also serving as the Design Director on the Projection Mapping film BOX, which blew up the Internets a few years ago — on both projects I learned more than all the others combined, just amazing experiences all around.
One of the proudest thing I directed were many parts of animation, titles and UI in Tron Legacy.
R: Do you do some ritual every day outside of work?
Gmunk: I do a nice workout ( Rowing Machine and Boxing ) at the GYM every morning so I can get a nice burst of energy throughout the day, my work hours are usually pretty weird, I start around Noon or 1pm and finish late late late into the evening, it suits my creative flow a bit better. I like it when it’s quiet and dark.
R: How do you manage to do work with incredible brand such as Audi or GoPro?
Gmunk: I have reps in both Europe and North America, who showcase my work to agencies and brands etc and that’s been very helpful in getting the commercial work rolling.
I think more importantly, I’m trying to define a signature style and technique that separates me from the rest — THAT’S the tricky part, having a unique identity so your work feels original and something brands and agencies will seek out as fresh and current.
R: How did you learn designing incredible things with computer graphics? Any road-map to follow or advice?
Gmunk: There isn’t a path to follow other than just subscribing to an incredibly hard work ethic, and an unwavering thirst for learning, growing and experimenting within your own sensibilities. It’s easy to say don’t follow the money-earning potential and stay true to your own aesthetic, but we all have to pay the bills etc, it’s always a tough balance.
I’ve found that LEARNING is what brings me more happiness than money, or recognition etc — it’s learning new techniques and tools, and pouring over new references that inspire new scenes and ideas — all of that stuff is the secret sauce for staying engaged in your career.
R: What thought or tip would you give to yourself in the past?
Gmunk: Always remember “Who you are” and push the personal work as a vital part of your portfolio.
Some years ago I was focusing only on working for Motion Graphics Studios primarily to make those handsome day rates — which in turn would be spent on a rather lavish lifestyle in Los Angeles. As a result, I lost the real motivation that led me to work in this industry in the first place — which was pushing my own Identity and Brand, and doing my own personal work in the process.
I kind of feel, as a result of this chapter in my career, that I lost about 4 years of progress and focus, and of course I’d love those years back as I think I’d be much further along if I would’ve remained more focused on the things that are important.
R: What would you suggest reading to young students?
Gmunk: I don’t read very much — I always set goals to do so and end up flaking on the commitments. I find my attention deficit disorder is best placated watching films and youtube channels.
R: Can you tell us a small story from an error that you made you understood something really important for your life?
Gmunk:I think it’s important that your work is not the only thing that matters, that you place your priorities in friendsa and family over that glowing rectangle. Of course this comes with age — when you’re 20 and just learning for the first time your priorities are different, but it’s something that is massively important especially because it’s so personal, you need to spend just as much time making experiences and memories with family and close friends as on your work — so essentially you need to make your time allotments count.
I say this because only those meaningful relationship will matter for your whole life. I always say, when you’re on the Death Bed nobody will give a shit about the work you’ve done. Instead, it’s the time you spend with people you love that matters and those people will be there holding your hand — so make sure that’s a massively important priority. And when you’re with those people — make sure you’re present — give them all of your attention don’t check email or phone every 5 minutes, just let go everything else and be in the present moment with them.
R: What is going to look like future? What would you like to create or to see developed? VR stuff?
Gmunk: I think VR, AR, Mixed Realities and AI are gonna play a really big role in our creative lives for the years to come — it’s something we can’t just avoid because we don’t know anything about it — it’s here to stay.
Also, everything will keep improving, resolutions will keep going up, Hard Drives getting faster — Computers and RAM improving etc — everything will just be better as we continue to do this.
I can’t wait for the day VR is out of the headsets and in projections all around us — volumetric — immersive — real deal shit. Also excited for Unreal and Unity to continue to improve and real-time rendering engines getting to the point where they look as good as pre-rendered. If the world doesn’t flood and burn up, it’s a very exciting time to be a creative !
R: What is going to look like your daily routine when you’ll retire from work?
Gmunk: Haha I certainly don’t think I’m gonna retire any time soon.
I’m still in the most active part of my career. I look at directors like Spielberg, Nolan, Tarantino — they’re gonna be doing it into their 60s and 70s easily, and directing Features is the hardest thing you can do. Shit Michael Mann is 74 and he just released a film last year.
But I have many goals — I want to become an incredible director for film and design, and also an acclaimed photographer. Another huge goal is to become an incredible father and husband — I’m working on that one as best I can, as I don’t think you’ve really LIVED until you raise your own kids, teach future generations about it all — I love the idea of dropping my kids off at school in my Tesla X, pumping some rad Electro and just being a great dad — can’t wait.
Another thing I’m gonna get into soon is teaching — probably in 10 years I’ll switch to teaching at a University Level — maybe full-time, maybe part-time, we’ll see. I want to feed off the energy of students who are as stoked as I was when I first started out — that would complete the cycle :)
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2015 DESIGN FOR MOTION — GMUNK Showcased Artist, Savannah, Georgia 2015 OFFF 2015 UNMASKED — GMUNK Showcased Artist…