Everything was so surreal for me, such crazy times. For the first 3 versions of the site I did not even have a connection at home. I would work all through the night at home and then test the things in the morning where I was working.

If something was not working I had to wait the evening to get back home and fix it, and so on.

Your name, plus your original "web name/handle":

My name is Niko Stumpo, I worked under different names, depending on the project I was doing.

I started with abnormal behavior child, I then worked under the name Aiko, Hanazuki and now I have an Imagination Studio called This is a Robot.

Every name was associated to a different project.

Abnormal behaviour child was all about the first interactivity online, the very first experiments in mixing audio, motion, animations and interactivity.

Flash was at that time the only software that could allow you to create those interactive project very easily online.

It was about exploring, discovering new things, pushing yourself in coming up with new ways of doing things online.

Mixing audio, animations, videos and interactivity to create an experience.

Your first web encounter, year etc.

For me it all started in Milan in 1998, I was there for an internship in an advertising agency, because my father had kicked me out to find a job.

I had been skating for more then 15 years, and trying to make a living out of it in Europe at that time was almost impossible.

SO I had to find a way to make an income.

I had a computer thanks to my parents and i started to use it to draw and make my own skateboards graphics and designs.

Since I can remember I always wanted only to draw and skate.

I got accepted for an internship in an advertising agency in Milan, where they told me that I was too “crazy” for classic advertising  and that I had to try to work in their new web department. There I got introduced to the world wide web.

It was blast.

For a skater like me it was like finding a brand new untouched spot. Where you can just go wild and try whatever comes to your mind, no rules, unlimited creative freedom.

Then one day I found online a project called The Remedy Project, created by Josh Ulm.

It was an online art-gallery showcasing the best of online storytelling at that time. Showcasing the works of amazing talented artists.

I was just shocked, I got a total epiphany the moment I saw it. It was so exciting, everyone constantly pushing each other.

People like Matt Owens of volume-one, Myke Young from designgraphik, Praystation, Futurefarmes, Antirom, Florian Schmitt from Hi-res, Arnaud Mercier,Gmunk , Greyscale, Dform1, ThreeOh, Chapter3, Chman fand more.

Was such a crazy creative community. No idea where they were going, only pushing it forward.

It was the same atmosphere there was when I was skateboarding with friends, infact most of the online artists were skaters or ex-skaters.

Most of the current visual styles were initiated in those years. Especially in the motion graphic field.

They took the style of the static designs you found in the skate world and gave them life by adding motion and interactivity.

Josh Ulm was then so kind to invite me to join the Remedy Project.  I was so stoked!!!

I even had the luck to do a second issue collaborating with Bradley from Gmunk.

We had become friends and he visited me in Milan where we created the second project together.

Really insane stuff lol

I did many project with Joshua Davis from Praystation too.

He was like my hero, he is an ex skater like me (he ollies higher the me) and what we were doing at the time was fitting each other.

He even flew me out to NY to work with him at Kioken for a little while.

After that I started traveling a lot, speaking at conferences all over the world and meeting all kind of talented people.

In this period I freelanced and worked for different agencies and clients. 

What our readers might recognise you most for, when you first hit the web.

I think abnormalbehaviorchild.com  was the one were I got more attention from.

All my experiments with Flash, design and interactive storytelling.

I actually won a lot of real prizes for the site : )

Everything was so surreal for me, such crazy times. For the first 3 versions of the site I did not even have a connection at home. I would work all through the night at home and then test the things in the morning where I was working.

If something was not working I had to wait the evening to get back home and fix it, and so on.

Your digital journey since. 

In all those years i was based in Milano in Italy,

(My first FWA award for a client work I got at the end of this period in 2002/2003 for a website for Mandarinaduck (italian bags))

Then one day  I received a call from my Norwegian friend Marius Gronvold ( afterlab.no), asking if I wanted to join him in Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, working on online projects for them.

So i moved to my favourite holiday destination Amsterdam turning it into my home.

In Wieden I stayed for 3 years, working as an art-director, mostly on online projects.

They were kind enough to let me work on my personal stuff too, so I kept  working on abnormalbehavirochild and another project called Aiko.

Aiko was a street/skate clothing brand that I created with my best friend Cristian in Milan.

We had a lot of fun working on it, met so many people, spreaded the love everywhere.

During that time I met my soulmate Hanneke, and together we decided to open our own studio/place.

So we created Hanazuki, a store, a studio and at the end it became a brand.

We found a nice place in the centre on Amsterdam and opened our own studio/store/showroom.

Selling products we created and produced and other creations from artists and friends and friends of friends :)

In the meantime working in the back as a creative studio for international clients.

The place became a little hub in Amsterdam for creatives, was nice and cozy.

Those were really intense and fun years. Having a store a studio and a brand to follow require a lot of time and love.

Without the love for what we do we would have not gone anywhere :)

What are you up to now?

Hanazuki lasted 7 years, in those 7 years we developed Hanazuki as a character, a visual style, with her story and a full universe of other characters around her.

My dream is always been to create a children brand, with toys to play with and wonderful stories. But what we envisioned was not possible to create with only the 2 of us.

We decided to find a partner to develop it more.

So we spent 1 year and a half pitching the concept to major toy companies all over the world.

The response was amazing, we could not have imagined anything better.

So we ended up working with Hasbro, a toy company that I have always liked since I was a kid.

They treated us super good and welcomed us in their family.

Hanazuki is going to have soon a life of her own.

Next step was creating a new entity to keep moving forward.

We founded This is A Robot Imagination Studio in 2010

Since then we have been working on a variety of projects from concept to production. As an Imagination Studio we create online and offline experiences, moments to keep and remember.

We host regular workshops in the studio, aiming at children and adults focused on developing handcrafting skills.

Being able to create something with your own hands in this digital age is something very important, it helps to keep you grounded in the “real world” not the digital one.


Niko Stumpo... Then
Niko Stumpo... Then

Niko Stumpo... Now
Niko Stumpo... Now

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