The Insider: Kevin Burg

The Insider 01/03/2013

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As much as we love our photographer Jamie Beck, artist, designer, and Of a Kind studio mate Kevin Burg might heart her even more—he did put a ring on it, after all. The creative duo—and dare we say power couple?—collaborates on projects for mega-major brands (Donna Karan! Google! MTV!) on the reg, and originated the cinemagraph, an art form for the internet era. Here, a taste of what Kevin’s all about. —carlye wisel

Q: How much time and effort is required to make one of your cinemagraphs?
A: The sixties, hippy girl we did for Lincoln—that one probably had eight or nine separate plates of animation. We captured different parts at different times and put them together. So, her hair was captured differently than the tendrils in her dress blowing in the breeze. Her motion plucking the flower was totally different from the actual flower petal we animated. That one was very complicated technically.

Q: I noticed a lot of them tend to use a wispy wind element. Is there a reason for that?
A: The world is windier than you’d think! I see the world through cinemagraphs now, because everything is potentially a cinemagraph or not. The reason for the wind is because it’s a natural motion that occurs, so it appears very naturally. It’s very believable.

Q: What’s been the most remarkable part of working with Jamie?
A: Being able to travel, I’d say—having opportunities come up that will take us to somewhere we never thought we’d go. Like last year, we went to Abu Dhabi. It was kind of a last minute thing…we’ll kind of go where projects take us.

Q: What’s been your all-time favorite gig?
A: A project we did with Dogfish Head Brewery. That was just really fun because it was like visiting Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I’m such a fan of the brewery. We went there, spent a day with them—it was a challenge, but super fun.

Q: What’s the last best thing you read?
A: It was a really cool article about the TV show Lost and how it came to be. It just seemed like a very unlikely show to get on the air—to get a pilot shot, let alone turn it into a classic that ran for six seasons. Sometimes, it’s just the inner workings of the creative process that interest me. There’s no sure way that anything works. It could be a brilliant idea that goes nowhere or an unlikely idea that goes everywhere.

Q: Ok, did you get any really cool holiday gifts?
A: The Little Printer. It’s this little, tiny thermal printer that prints stuff out from the Internet. I think of it like a really tiny fax machine. We’ve been waiting for it for a year and just found out it got delivered to our studio! I’m just fascinated by how low-tech it is, but then it’s mirrored with high-tech.

Q: What’s your one favorite thing in your closet?
A: Jamie talked me into getting a vest—not, like, a Marty McFly vest, but sort of? I wish I had the right words to describe it. When I tried it on at the store, I flat-out refused, and she’s like, “Oh, I love it!” And now I get compliments on it all the time. We had a meeting with our manager, and she was like, “Where did you get this vest?!” Who knew! It’s a testament to trusting your wife.

Q: Do you have any life hack you’d want to share?
A: This is useful for New York: You know sometimes you’re walking down the street, and two people are walking straight at each other? And you do that little shuffle in the middle of the street? There’s a guaranteed way to avoid that: If you decide you’re gonna step right, you look right, and in a nanosecond the person will step in the opposite direction. It’s remarkable.

Q: Scale of 1 to10, how much do you like Of a Kind’s photography?
A: Oh, definitely 11.

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