Frida Ek

“I’m sure all people are creative, in one form or another, and I definitely think it’s something you can develop and become better at.”

Hello, Frida!
How would you describe yourself – who is Frida Ek?

Hey there! I’m a Swedish designer, animator and at times, dog wrestler.

Could you tell us a little about your background in animation/illustration?
I started out studying natural science thinking about going to med school. But before starting a 6-year education I decided to give film studies a go for one year. After a short animation workshop and several coincidences, I ended up applying to the Motion program at Hyper Island and ended up doing a couple of different internships. I’m currently working as a designer and animator at Animade in London.

Where and when did your interest in design and animation come about?
I love drawing and ever since I could wrap my chubby baby hands around a crayon I’ve been doodling. But I had always considered it a hobby and not something I saw myself pursuing a career in.

In my early teens, my dad bought me and my sister a handy cam and I started making all kind of strange sketches, along with a couple of historically cringe-worthy films.

During this time I also started experimenting by combining my two interests. That manifested itself in a 7 second Paint drawn animation piece where a Santa chokes on a pig’s foot. Not my most refined work, but we all gotta start somewhere.

What is the most enjoying part of animation?
Finishing it! It can be a pretty tedious process and knowing all the phases the animation has gone through and finally seeing how it ends up looking is a massively satisfying feeling.

How would you describe your creative style?
Colorful and fun. I love finding different ways to add humor to any illustration or animation, be it a goofy looking character or an unexpected turn of events. It really excites me how humor translates so well and can speak to such a wide range of people.

Who do you admire in the animation world? /What other illustrators/animators are you digging these days?
So many! There are so many stellar animators out there, but Henrique Barone, Bee Grandinetti, and Masanobu Hiraoka are some of the people whose work always gets me excited. I am also incredibly fortunate to be working at a studio like Animade with so many talented folks that definitely inspire and keep me on my toes.

Could you tell us about the short film Croak which is directed and animated by you at Animade? What’s the story of the film?
CROAK is a short film about a lonely frog (dim or possibly nearsighted) struggling to find love and searching for it in all the wrong places. It’s a tale old as time, but I think love and lust are such fun subjects to explore and work around and it’s something I often come back to.

A frog during mating season is so expressive and I thought it lent itself pretty well to a love story. It’s just incredibly unromantic, how they inflate and cry out for love, which also makes it pretty endearing.

Can the creativity be learned later, or is it a feeling that is always within the human being?
I’m sure all people are creative, in one form or another, and I definitely think it’s something you can develop and become better at.

What’s your favourite gif or animation?
Really hard question but I love C2C – Delta by CRCR. I remember seeing it back when I started learning animation and I was just really taken by it. It’s an amazing music video and I get excited about animating every time I re-watch it.

What animation best describes how you are currently feeling?
Possibly my skater dog. It’s that sweet spot between lazy and productive.

What are your top five songs on your playlist?
Shattered ring – SZA
Monument – Röyksopp, Robyn
Mrs. Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel
HiiiPower – Kendrick
Jump in the line – Harry Belafonte

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Music is such a huge inspiration and it would be really cool to do a music video one day. Kanye’s tunes has been with me since forever so I’d leave job and country to work with him.

What’s next? Any fun projects you are currently working on and can share with us?
I have! Right now I’m at the beginning of making a short film in my spare time. I’ve been wanting to do one for some time now, but it’s not until recently that I felt I’ve got enough motivation and focus to put that much work into a single piece. Usually, I’m what you could call professionally cockeyed, both eyes are rarely on the same project. But I feel really excited about this film and it’s made me want to put any other projects on the back burner.

Finally, is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do?
Maybe which the worst animation I’ve ever made is? Which probably would have to be the pork chomping Santa I crafted back in 07.

Thank you!