Juli 7th, 2013

week #37 – @jameshutson / James


Who are you and where do you come from?
G’day. I’m James Hutson, writer, illustrator & animator. I create clear explanations of complex – mostly science and technology – information.
I work at Bridge8 <http://bridge8.com.au>, an Australian foresight agency. My role is to engage our various audiences in thinking about how science informs the future by translating, humanising and visualising complex source and stimulus materials.
And as they might say on a book dust jacket, I live in Melbourne with my wife, two children, an old dog and a young budgerigar.

Share your twitter account with us and tell us what you are twittering about:
@jameshutson: I endeavour to be myself on Twitter. So while I should just twitter about my work, I’m just as likely to post photos of intriguing things on my walk to the studio <http://studiosisu.com.au>, politics (it’s an election year in Australia), the crazed humour of my children and links to interesting science fiction, science, design, illustration, animation and technology.

Tell us about your creative side:
I studied science and law in Canberra but in my defence if you were to look at my class notes you’d see off-topic sketches in every margin. And a few more on the bar tables, in the university newspaper, on the odd poster, political postcards, a lot of birthday cards and in our legal workshop yearbook.
So side-stepping law, I became researcher and associate producer with Beyond Productions in Sydney (who back then made Beyond 2000 but today are better known for Mythbusters). A little later I moved to Melbourne where I studied animation and interactive media and have worked in educational and science-related media production ever since.
In my three years with Bridge8, I’ve written, voiced, animated and directed 23 animated shorts dealing with such things as nanotechnology, genetic modification, vertical farming, artificial meat, synthetic biology and critical thinking.
Our latest big animated project is This Thing Called Science <http://bridge8.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/this-thing-called-science/> a six part series which introduces the basic elements of the scientific process. It’s a sequel of sorts to our Critical Thinking <http://bridge8.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/critical-thinking-animations/> series from late 2011.

What inspires you?
Surprise and simplicity. That combination is the key to humour and scientific explanation and artful minimalist animation.

Time travel: Where would you go to?
Tempted to say visit departed loved ones but that’s a little maudlin, so I’d like to hop around a bit: see a live T-Rex, shake the hand of Charles Darwin, stay at a hotel on the moon.

Name your favorite present book:
I have far too many books so I’ll just mention a few recent favourites:
This Will Make You Smarter edited by John Brockman. Decision-making short cuts from the world’s best thinkers. Sounds like a self help book but it’s really a distillation of scientific principles for everyday use. There’s a lot of overlap with what I try to do with animation, so I’m both enjoying and arguing with it.
Information Graphics by Rendgen and Wiedemann. My codirector gave me the jumbo edition last week. 200 visual communication projects. It’s a glorious and mammoth tome.
The Hydrogen Sonata by the late, great Iain M. Banks. Big, bold, and optimistic science fiction.

Which tweeter would you recommend for @createandrotate and why?
Don’t make me choose just one…
For animation: @megpig, a funny and talented Australian animator in L.A. who I almost worked with.
For design: @vivekaa UX design consultant and collaborative technologies and virtual environments researcher who first introduced me to Photoshop so I’d stop trying to get him to illustrate the original Beyond2000.com.

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