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We took on an ident for MTV and rather than staying in London we moved to Bangkok and rented a gigantic marble floored apartment with a garden and swimming pool on the roof. While our very primitive laptops were doing the rendering we blew the budget on flying to Borneo and going scuba diving in Sipadan.

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

Sam Lanyon Jones and Drew Cope - tokyoplastic

Your first web encounter, year etc. 

My first web encounter kinda passed me by. It was such slow evolving thing it just trickled into my life without really making much of an impact.

I was big into drawing and design so computers didn't really do it for me back then.

I guess it was a little after dialup and the whole flashanimationpornosoundmotionthing started to kick in I started to get I little more excited by it.   

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

Tokyoplastic v.0.1 was online back in 2002 with a second version I think around 2004.

It's a bit strange thinking about it now, it was just a little experimental flash experience that I put together just to go through the motions of getting a handle on publishing a web site.

It served no purpose just kooky animation, sound design and a bit of interaction.

It used quite a vivid flat graphic style that was all painstakingly put together in 3D and rendered in vector back then. I think was pretty pioneering.

I remember when it was finished, I posted up on a design portal that was a real inspiration and a few hours later boom! It just took off and went totally viral. The success of it was mental.  

Your digital journey since. 

We were never really techy people. We were always driven more by the design and the concept than by the technology or its limitations and I think it was that outlook which led to the creation of tokyoplastic.

Or to put it another way I don't think we ever felt limited by what were then popular conventions or 'rules' of web design or by the limitation of the technology which we managed to coax into doing things that it wasn't really designed for.  Not really through any great insight or creative genius but simply because we didn't know any better.

We never really expected or planned for the success of tokyoplastic. I guess it's not something we really considered, we were just following our instincts and our drive to create something that we were passionate about.

In many ways we have retained that philosophy towards our work and as a result our career path has been somewhat meandering and we have become well known in a number of different fields for very different things.

The idea was that by leaving conventional work behind we would be set free to do what we wanted a lot more.

Prior to the success of tokyoplastic we had done a lot of very varied work and always managed to combine it with slightly unhinged adventures.

We took on an ident for MTV and rather than staying in London we moved to Bangkok and rented a gigantic marble floored apartment with a garden and swimming pool on the roof. While our very primitive laptops were doing the rendering we blew the budget on flying to Borneo and going scuba diving in Sipadan.

While tokyoplastic catapulted us into a world of far larger budgets and a great deal more responsibility than we had previously experienced, I think, probably because we were so new to it all , we didn't take it all that seriously and still focused on the core creative ideas, the things that had always driven us, rather than pandering to clients.

The first commercial we ever directed for television was a Super Bowl spot for Microsoft and it was only after working in the advertising industry for a number of years that that seems like an extraordinary thing.

One day we were working out of a tiny home studio in our house in Oxford and the next we were taking first class flights and being driven round in limos. They were strange times but because we never really had ambitions in that direction, it didn't have that much of a negative impact on either of us. We didn't suddenly turn into these two big headed arrogant assholes, well I don't think we did... at least no more than we were already.

Somehow, probably again because it is something that we always wanted to do, travel has been a huge part of our business. We've been able to spend several months each year pursuing random things like kite surfing, diving, snowboaring and fighting in Thailand.

Our trip to Taiwan is another memorable one, not for any of the business we conducted which to be honest was ultimately redundant but because while we were there we tried to ride round the whole island on scooters in four days after a typhoon had washed away a lot of the mountain roads.

Over the past decade we have always created stuff which bears the mark of our style in one way or another and it has all been stuff that we have felt compelled to create, not for any particularly strategic reason but because it's what we want to do.

We have been incredibly fortunate that some of what we have done has captured people's imaginations and propelled us forward into fields of work we would never have chosen and probably never have been able to enter otherwise.

What are you up to now. 

We are currently repped by Passion Pictures and we are directing commercials with them.

We make a lot of stuff: animation, toys, product designs, strange little interactive projects, some of it is wildly popular, some of it vanishes into the ether without trace.

Earlier this year we put on a show with Emilio Garcia in L.A. featuring weird little brain bugs at TAG Gallery.

We are continuing to direct an ongoing campaign with DARE Vancouver which is some of the most entertaining, challenging and rewarding character animation work we have ever done and we are working incredibly hard on a personal project that we are loving.

It's kind of revisiting tokyoplastic territory but reinventing it for a contemporary audience.

We have always wanted to do that; to try and expand on what it was we captured back then. It is much the same aesthetic as the original but is very much more character driven and hopefully totally as pioneering.

It is strange looking back and seeing quite how much things have changed; but most of it is incredibly superficial, we are both 10 years older, software has come and gone, so has hardware, fashions have changed and the online world, advertising world and business world have been through huge upheavals and changes.

However in other respects, most significantly the way we work and the things we choose do, things haven’t changed a great deal at all. And most importantly we are still producing work which we are enormously passionate about and have no idea whether it will be a phenomenal success or an abysmal failure. Good times.
Links

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Sam Lanyon Jones and Drew Cope... Then
Sam Lanyon Jones and Drew Cope... Then

Sam Lanyon Jones and Drew Cope... Now
Sam Lanyon Jones and Drew Cope... Now















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