Secret Thirteen Interview - KORB

Interview with KORB

Photo by Lyja

Constructing unearthly narratives that convince with truthfulness – an interview with an influential visual art composer KORB

Rimantas Lukavičius is a director and founder of digital filmmaking and design company KORB, based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Having started to work on diverse motion designs while studying architecture and photo/media in 2007, Lukavičius has progressively established itself in the arts world. By working with such well-known brands as MTV, Formula 1, Discovery USA (SCI Channel) and other notable companies KORB drew a subtle balance line between art and commerce. Rimantas and his productive team works were recognized in such worldwide festivals as Resfest, Onedotzero, Semi-Permanent, KTR Festival. Circuito Off festival even awarded KORB with special prize - screening at Centre Pompidou in Paris (2013).

The unexpected and subtly aesthetic scenes created by KORB require your imagination, empathy and receptivity. This is where organic inspirations meet supernatural world, thus leading observer into the fictional sphere of visionary happenings. Focusing on aesthetic, imaginative consistency and technical perfection delivers incredible narratives and implement impressive ideas in the work. High-quality works, innovation, originality and suggestibility are landmarks to KORB brand developing ideology and constantly growing creative identity. Their website declares "KORB explores the physical and mathematical nature of unusual forms, substances and materials, which reveals the particular field of photorealism in the industry – photosurrealism". This is the obvious truth. With over 1 million unique views on Vimeo KORB continues to investigate and reshape multi-platform world and amaze every spectator of the surreal digital reality.

Secret Thirteen invites you to know more about KORB phenomenon by reading this smart and informative interview with Rimantas Lukavičius.

How would you describe your works in terms of style, enduring value and ideology behind them?

Basically, I think that our works don’t fit into one concise category of style or ideology, but I’d probably focus on minimalism as a main and most crucial point in my works. Minimalism focuses on shapes, textures, reflections. The same you can feel in our works.

Another fundamental starting point is imperative of aesthetics. Or we can simply call it beauty, even attractiveness. Our team design addicts, art lovers, fashion and architecture trend hunters. On the other hand we are driven by passion for technology, we are obsessed by mathematical precision and programming subtleties as well as physics and chemistry. The most enjoyable is the process of combining all these passions to achieve aesthetical and technical perfection.

Anyway, I feel that our latest visual experiments with digital sculptures lead us behind the boundaries of photorealism, closer toward photosurrealistics.


Can you tell us a bit more about your collaboration with MTV, Formula 1, Nike, Discovery? What were the positive and the negative aspects of working with these brands?

MTV was the first big commercial project for Korb. And probably the best project could ever be for the starting VFX company. We had an absolute creative freedom. And very big creative support from MTV creative director John Kwoka. The project was really huge for such a small team, enough challenging from technical side and the deadline was pretty tight. But we really did the best we could, and a little bit more to be honest. It worked: MTVHD Lake won Gold in animation category at KTR Festival, Idents were featured by most influential online magazines and blogs, I won a prestigious ADC Young Guns award.

Formula 1 allowed us to learn from inside how the world of advertising works. We collaborated with London based advertising agency DixonBaxi. TV Idents for Science was another amazing project with our great friends from London based Design and Motion studio ManvsMachine.

As to negative aspects, I actually don’t think that working for world known brand is much different than for any other client. The main challenge and aspiration is to enjoy the process and achieve the final result, that satisfies not only the client, but you and your team as well.

It is common for people working in creative industries to have many projects at a time? How important is the flexibility when you are working on a number of projects?

We are lucky enough not to rush among big amount of projects going on at the same time. Our team is quite small - four people and a few freelancers we usually collaborate with. Actually, we can’t work on more than one or two big, challenging projects at once.

Sometimes we have to turn down good and very interesting projects and it never is an enjoyable process. But we believe that those with whom we work appreciate and understand the fact that we’ll focus on project 100 percent. So, actually, every project, which we produce, every story we tell is a preferential for us.

Any lessons learned from your past collaborations? What would you do different the next time?

Every new project is a new story. Every client is unique and distinctive. The lesson you have learned working with one client might not work for another.

It’s amazing to feel passion to collaborate from the first email or call. If you understand that the client fully trusts you, it becomes a powerful stimulant for your team’s creativity. Probably the most proved principle is not to get involved in the projects for which you don’t feel passion.

Invaluable experience for me is the opportunity to work with people from all around the globe. It’s absolutely amazing how different we all are, how differently people communicate, think, create, negotiate and act. It’s really important not to treat cultural differences as barriers. On the contrary, when you see it as an advantage, plenty of new opportunities come.

Have you ever found that you had to prioritize the project over feelings or needs of people?

Our latest works combine experiences of different people now: it’s a mix of our creativity and knowledge. Working in a team you have a virtue to operate in a much more expanded field of view than working alone. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to postpone even brilliant ideas of your team, if you feel it would not work this time.

How do you make efficient decisions?

It depends on the problem you have to solve. If it’s about creativity, very casual things can help sometimes like a few days off in the forest or near the sea. Thought sometimes you have to feed your brain again and again to come up with something visually striking. If I need to recharge batteries swiftly for some bothersome business or bureaucratic issue, 10 minutes of intensive ping pong in the office might help as well.

Filmmaking involves thousands of decisions. How do you reduce the amount of decisions that you need to make?

We have a wonderful team and everyone knows what he is responsible for. That really helps in dealing with big projects. Another important thing is to learn to set the priorities and focus only on the most important issues.

How would you describe the difference between the visual art scene here in Lithuania and Europe or the rest of the world?

We are witnessing a huge explosion of creativity and quality. Actually we’ve become a source of inspiration to each other. Everything is so mixed and intertwined that all traditional differences, that we used to see, are vanishing now. In my opinion, contemporary visual language is more convenient to deliver the message than any other language in the world.

The viral creativity has dramatically affected creators, audience and the content too. Using new visual language we became able to tell new kinds of stories, we can see things and feel sensations, that were invisible, hidden and even unimaginable before.

That’s why it is the amazing time to be a visual storyteller. And listener as well.


How do you balance between the reality of business and the process while maintaining creative integrity?

If you start a company to make money, you become a businessman. Korb, which was my personal pseudonym as an artist at first, became a company, because I didn’t see any other way to proceed further with projects that I wanted to work on. It’s just a tool to organize all formalities.

We are quite small and we see it as a huge advantage, that we can work with big and challenging projects now, but we don’t need to be in stew regarding a lot of income and take jobs that we are not happy with. Design & VFX boutique right now is the best way for me personally to balance between business and creativity.

What public figures impress you and inspire your works?

Jim Jarmusch, Daniel Askil, Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor, Santiago Calatrava, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Muhammad Ali, Steve Reich, Ruichi Sakamoto, Carsten Nicolai, Robert Henke, Iris Van Herpen, David Gahan, Quentin Tarantino, Tilda Swinton and many more.

What were one of your most memorable moments?

You spend days and months exploring, creating, modeling and rendering, balancing between your personal, your team’s and client’s aspirations. Then you get comments, after that you get likes, shares, posts, views, embeds, your works become part of one big global visual story. And actually a fundamental part of your brain, soul, your life and entity.

A few months ago I was invited to present Korb at centre Pompidou in Paris at Hors Pistes festival. Before screening we decided to make a test to check quality, sound etc. I was sitting absolutely alone in a big empty cinema hall, looking at my works I was working on for months and years. It was really marvelous moment to see it on big screen, in such a quality and size, to listen to the sound through high-end system. And to imagine all these people, who will come to the screening, and their feelings. This little moment of seeing my works newly, in absolutely new context was really surprising for me.

What is your favourite audio record of all time? Do you often listen to the music and how much important for you is the quality of sound, innovation?

I listen to the music really often, mostly all the time in the office. It is a very important point both to my creativity and even to my daily life. But I can’t say that I have a favorite record and even favorite artist. Having such is a little bit risky for me to constrict in a certain circle of experiences.

Music and sound design are vital in our works. I am lucky enough that we have amazing friends in different parts of the world creating sound design, that help our stories to became not only visible and audible, but perceptible as well.

What projects, challenges KORB will face in the future?

We have just finished amazing project with Taiwan based design house JL Design. Four episodes for different idents were shot in Taipei, where our team captured actors bodies in order to have data about their movements. Every captured movement forms stunning digital sculpture. The project for CCTV Documentary Channel was full of technical, creative challenges and inspiring discoveries, but we couldn’t be happier with a final look. This project is another big step towards our perpetual challenge to keep moving on exploring the boundaries of multi-platform world.

KORB works

Links: Website - Vimeo - Behance - Facebook - Twitter

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An interdisciplinary journal, offering eclectic mixes and smart interviews with original artists and label owners as well as contemporary art reviews.

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