Despite animation and CG graphics becoming increasingly lifelike, Leeds-born, Bristol-based animator and modelmaker Will Child has no interest in pursuing a polished aesthetic. Unapologetically handmade and filled with wit, charm and fingerprint marks, his claymation creations add a welcome lightness to the often serious business of sport, music and even politics.
Much of Child’s work tallies with his penchant for hip hop, having created music videos starring plasticine renditions of Drake, Young Thug and Kenny Beats. And alongside music videos, Child was brought on board to create the cover of Crack Magazine’s July issue fronted by 100 Gecs following the disruption to photoshoots during much of the pandemic.
A glance through his client list also reveals his passion for sport, working on projects for Reebok, Mundial and the Premier League, with the latter starring Chelsea-turned-United-turned-Spurs manager José Mourinho. He’s also modelled numerous recognisable figures ranging from a rather phallic Piers Morgan to a slightly more flattering take on the cast of the Sopranos.
Earlier this year, Child became ‘capo’ of his own business when he founded Gravy Mercedes – a name taken from a Cam’ron line in Dipset track I Really Mean It. While the core of the studio is still working on animation projects, he’s branched out his operations to encompass merchandise, zines, and even music releases under the part-serious, part-spoof Gravy Mercedes Records label.
He talks to us about building his animation career from his grandpa’s garage, how humour underpins his work, and why he’s happy trying out new ideas “just for the beans”.