Asif Mian joins 1st Ave Machine

1st Ave Machine has expanded their happy family by adding Asif Mian to the mix. After Matt Lambert, who joined 1st Ave a few months ago, Asif is 1st Ave’s second new director. His mix of live action and subtle vfx is a perfect fit for the unique brand of storytelling upon which 1st Ave has built their reputation.

Here’s some more info from the release:

Coming from a background of traditional fine art and sculpture, Mian uses a variety of creative techniques to tell intriguing stories, both in his short films and in music videos for bands including The Roots, Woodhands and Aesop Rock, among others.

Whether he is marrying live action with stop-motion animation, photoreal CG or creating in-camera effects, Mian’s highest priority is the story and telling it in a truly unique way. “I’ve always had this desire to isolate the everyday elements of real life and infuse them with creative abstraction,” says Mian. “I use whatever technique I think will best tell my story.”

Mian’s initial work, “Fast Cars,” a music video for hip hop artist Aesop Rock, opens with an image of a grade-school composition book. Unaided by human hands, the book opens itself to reveal a series of typewritten pages that turn faster and faster. Gradually, the typed words rearrange themselves to form the face of Aesop Rock, himself. The pages continue turning to reveal a striking cityscape rendered as a pop-up book scene, with Aesop Rock performing at the center. The ambitious technique, originated by Mian, is composed of entirely handmade pop-up book scenes that utilize stop motion to come to life. Additional CG elements were added to create fuller, hyper-real scenes.

In Mian’s latest work, a video for Woodhands’ track “I Wasn’t Made for Fighting,” time is frozen allowing the two band members to relive a disastrous day over again, eventually posing the people populating their day into a sculpture reminiscent of a classical painting.

“The Woodhands’ video was inspired in part by Renaissance paintings and sculptures that have people’s clothes and hair flying in the wind, as if they’ve just been frozen in the moment,” says Mian. “It’s also a visual story about that universal desire to live some days over again. Many of the ideas for the scenes came out of my own drawings. I will happen upon an image that I like, and I’ll figure out how to make it into a story.” Talking about the in-camera tricks and talent direction, Mian says, “I used wires, fishing line, a lot of hairspray… and I had people stand verrrry still in specific poses. Lighting and camerawork was very important in distilling the right mood.”

Mian holds Bachelor degrees in both Studio Art (Mixed Media Painting) and Biology (Genetics). Mian describes himself as a self-taught graphic designer, art director and animator for music, fashion, television, and film. In 2004, he was named one of that year’s best visual artists by XLR8R Magazine. Moving into film direction, Mian’s innovative style gained immediate notice with his work on “Fast Cars,” which was nominated for mtvU Best Animated Video, mtvU Most Downloaded and Plug Awards’ Video of the Year. In 2006, he was included in the prestigious ADC Young Guns Award.

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About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

One Comment


Big up Asif! Really awesome work… and looks pretty smooth in fullscreen on the 1st ave site as well :)

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