There is nothing more satisfying to an artist than to have their work recognised and appreciated. Many artists pursue multiple creative passions, even though they professionally focus on perhaps one or two disciplines.
The nature of the internet as a tool for sharing allows artists to gain a much wider reach for their work and to see how different audiences from all over the world respond to what they do. And sometimes, just sometimes, an artist’s work is noticed by the very people who inspire you and can lead to even greater work and collaboration that the artists dream of.
Randy Chriz is one such artist, a digital artist and animator with a deep passion for music, whose fan-made video for rapper Eminem’s track Godzilla caught the attention of Eminem himself and has resulted in brokering a successful partnership with the label representing Eminem, “Interscope”, which is part of the Universal Music Group.
The Sunday Morning caught up with Chriz to discuss his work with Interscope, how he works with music and art, and his thoughts on the relationship between the two.
Below are excerpts of the interview.
How did you get into art?
I have been into art since I was a child. My parents encouraged me to draw as well, and my father taught me a few tricks of the trade even though he wasn’t a professional artist.
When I was older, I wanted to get a job in a bank like everyone else, but an uncle of mine, who is also an artist but works in a bank, advised me to follow an artistic job. Then I went to certain advertising agencies with a file full of my drawings, but I was rejected because at that point, I didn’t draw digitally and the agencies I went to couldn’t use me as a traditional artist.
I then joined MTV as an intern, got hired as a librarian, and was eventually noticed for my drawing skills and given the chance to learn and produce animations for MTV news, leading me to start my career in art and animation.
What do you do as an artist? What defines and influences your work?
Since I am an artist and animator, the scope I can cover as a digital artist is slightly more dynamic than most. I do anything illustration-based like comics, wall murals, logos, and brand work to anything animated in 2D, from simple infomercials to detailed music videos and even feature films.
How does music play into your work? How did you get into it and what kind of music do you do?
My family is very much into music, so it is something I grew up with. I have a few cousins who are professional singers as well.
Music, for me, is a form of therapy, just like art, but I find more immediate satisfaction in music than with art because music can be produced as quickly as it takes you to pick up a guitar or any other instrument for that matter.
Creating art that is in your mind can take time from minutes and hours to days and months even. So although I didn’t pursue a profession in music, I often try to combine the love I have for music with my art and animation, which is why creating music videos is the perfect product for me.
You’ve just signed a deal with Interscope from the Universal Music Group. Tell us more about how that happened and what you’re working on with them?
Four days after I uploaded the fan-made music video I did for Eminem’s Godzilla track, “Interscope”, the record label that manages Eminem, contacted me about doing more work. They have been in touch since then, pitching various ideas for many of their signed artists.
Interscope is a label that belongs to the Universal Group and therefore the contracts are officially drawn with Universal Music, but my work is mostly with Interscope and it is an ongoing creative relationship between us. I did my first video for the label in August 2020, for an artist named Smino; we have discussed many more projects that are in the pipeline.
The difference in working with a label of this magnitude, as opposed to working with an independent artist, is that the process is more meticulous and a final decision takes time, but otherwise, both the label and all independent artists I have done music videos for have been incredibly supportive and respectful of my creative freedom and artistic integrity. This I consider a blessing. Having people around the world who trust you with your creative freedom is an amazing feeling.
In my career of 15 years working with local companies, I am keenly aware that this is a privilege that is hard to come by. But I suppose I have earned Interscope’s confidence in me and their respect because of the quality of my work and my personal drive to always deliver something better than the last thing I did. The secret is that I create for myself as much as I create for the client.
How important do you think it is to blend music and art, and how do you think artists can do this?
I can only speak subjectively on this matter because I love both art and music. But I don’t see how music would be an integral part of every artist.
There are many artists who work with music in the background, but there are also others who need absolute silence. But if music and art are presented together to an audience, I can guarantee it is always better received. This is obviously why music videos became a thing. A visual treatment given to any musical piece makes it reach a wider audience; similarly, art accompanied by music would be able to do the same.