Osbert Parker on the importance of play

Osbert Parker has spent the last 30 years ripping, cutting and dismantling in pursuit of his mixed media moving image work. He tells CR why experimentation – and a certain amount of naïvety – is key to his success

“I just play here,” says Osbert Parker, who’s chatting over Zoom from his studio in Highgate. There’s props and paper and bits and pieces littering the walls and table behind the designer and filmmaker, who says he spends as much time as he can in his studio “making stuff”. “I used to really love being in the middle of it all, and now I just want to get on, and do things, and not just talk about them,” he tells CR.

This idea of ‘play’ has defined Parker’s 30-year career, which has seen him create short films, title sequences, and ads, often using his distinctive mixed media and animated approach. He found his love of experimentation while at art college – a place the filmmaker says he never wanted to leave.

After some experience of working in the industry, including a brief stint at FCB, Parker moved to New York and spent several weeks working on Tim Burton’s first feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, creating storyboards for the opening title sequence. Having had a taste of creative industry life, he returned to the UK to finish a graphic design degree at Middlesex Polytechnic, with a better understanding of where to focus his efforts.