In today’s day and age there is a certain demand on artists of all kind to be creative, out of the box, outlandish and jump out at you kind of thing. I mean, if you don’t have a certain type of pizzazz most people will give up. Whether it means to give you a rejection, ignore you, stop reading your work midsentence (don’t get any ideas…) or something along those lines. It almost sounds like a break up. Some people not only take a creative spin to their work, but they make something genuine, majestic and intriguing. This is where Michael Lawrence comes in.
Coming from a design background as an art director, Lawrence now works primarily as a film director and photographer. And the work I described above as “genuine, majestic and intriguing,” is a music video titled “Crystal Ball”, a song by the band Emil & Friends, which Lawrence directed. The video presents a Flintstones typography, outlandish colors and extraordinary characters in scenic backgrounds.
When asking Lawrence more about it he explains, “When Emil came to me with the idea of doing a clip for “Crystal Ball”, my mind immediately began to erupt with ideas. I had spent almost a year in Indonesia at this point, and in many ways, was unable to process what was going on around me (or at least how I saw it).
Influenced by the local artwork around me and the general scurrility of Bali, the original treatment was written in one night while smoking shisha overlooking the Indian Ocean… based off a year’s worth of ideas from various states of mind (and written down in a water-logged black notebook). Ultimately the stream-of-consciousness approach called for some level of refinement. During conversation with a local shaman priest days later, we ended up delving into a discussion about “what the eye would like to see?” It became clear that world around me was subjective, and that all people could have this approach.
The through line that developed from this conversation ultimately led to what is the final version of “Crystal Ball”; a distillation of memories, of snippets, and of a personal vision on the world, grasping for cohesion and meaning in disparate environments. We shot the video in a variety of locations around the world: Bali, Sulawesi, Brooklyn, Buffalo, and (my hometown) of East Aurora. Each scene ended up being a sort of surrealist verity on my response to each location.
Subsequently, the “ball” that you see floating in the sky, is actual a scan of my eyeball rendered in 3-dimensional form.”