Mattias Gordon

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Mattias Gordon and I work as animator ( handdrawn, 2D & motion graphics ), illustrator, comic artist and writer as freelancer in my own little studio.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Crazyness is part of the job but I cant remember any crazy jobs.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
My first animationjob was when I 1986 – 88 worked on a Swedish feature called Voyage to Melonia.  It was fun to work on the two first CD-games with the Swedish famous characters Pettson and Findus ( same in english I think ) becuase so many have played these games.  In 2009 my shortfilm the Jaguar had premiere on the Cinemas. Don´t think it was a huge success but it was very nice.  My musicvideos for Kathryn Williams, Hazmat Modine and now lately Fanfare Ciocarlia.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Sweden and have been living most of time here. I have been in the business for some years. I will be 50 this year. When I was small I was very interested in animation but it was very difficult to find information about it. Today it´s so much information in books and on internet.  So what did I do? When I was 16 I started an animation fanzine called Storyboard where I interviewed people from Sweden and outside. I interviewed people like Bill Melendez, Art Babbit, Carolyn Leaf and Flip Johnston.  I got so involved so at a moment it was like this that if somebody wanted to know anything about Swedish animation they said ”ask Mattias, he know it all”.  So that was my ” school”. I could have been a animation journalist I guess but then I found out that I wanted to do animation, not write about it.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I start at about 6 am in the morning. I have lunch at 12 – 1 pm . Then I work to about 4 pm, then my brain is not working so well anymore. I often have some more working hours in the evening as well. Before lunch is the best hours for getting ideas and to work on stories. Pm-work is a little more slower when it comes to brain-work.  I work in a studio close to my living house. I live in the countryside so I just have 5-6 metres to go.  Even if I work in my studio by myself I love to collaborate with other. And nowadays it´s so easy with the interet.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like most parts actually. I often go throw the whole process in a film an all parts have their good parts. But best is to develope ideas, create characters and animate. And to try new things, to explore and learn.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Well, trying to fund a project is not so funny. The development part is very funny but you want to get started and often trying to find money often takes a lot of time and energy and many times you don´t succeed.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
I started out before the computer where use so My base is the hand drawn animation. I still find that way very useful when I want full control of the drawings. If we talk character animation. So I use my lighttable and the computer. I work with the software Photoshop, After Effects, Toonboom storyboard Pro & Animate, Flipbook, Tvpaint and sometimes Dragonframe if I do something with stopmotion.  In the last 5 years very much happened. It has become so easy to put together animation with different techniques and sources.  It made me try techniques that I did not do before. It´s playful and fun.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I would say to get money to get things going. The problems is not ideas or if you can do it or not. It´s to have money so you can do your work. Besides doing jobs for others I have several projects of my own.

If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
Even if I in the last answer mentioned it could be hard to get the money coming in I think it has to be that way. The struggle must be there. If you believe in your ideas and work you get to do it in some way. Maybe not the way you thought but never the less do it. You have to be create about every work. Even a job that seems not so funny you can learn something and create a part of your ”dreams”.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Did not exactly understand that question. If i have had moments of joy in my work? When I do a nice animation or a good BG-painting or a design I am very happy. And that happiness comes a few times every day. At the same time during the same day there comes dissappointments about doing crappy work. That´s life.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I few times in life I have had problems to find joy in work because the lack of paid work. But then I started to just doing things not thinking if I would sell it or not to find the joy. And I did recover and there came jobs as well.  In my private life I live in a house on the countryside with my wife and two kids ( in their teens ) so that life is very pleasant.

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I have a lot of projects. My studio are full of plots, characters etc. It could be for animation, children books or comics. At the moment I am working on a graphic novel based on a play by Swedish Henning Mankell. I think he is well known in the US as well.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Not really. I like to bake and cook food. And to grow things that you can eat. Otherwise by work is my hobby so….

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
It´s so different now compared to when I started. There are so many amazing artists and animator everywhere. You get inspired and lost at the same time. The base for all artistic work is to feel joy for what you do. And also to have an eye on what you could do with so you can pay your bills.  For the career is not the important thing. It´s to do work that I like.

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