Interview with Esteban Lapidus, Sebastian Lapidus, and Ezequiel Aprile, of Estilo 3D
What led you to digital art?
Esteban: My mother is a doctor, and she was an amateur in the study of art, in her spare time she painted, and I thought she did it quite well. My father had a marketing company dedicated to Below the Line. Since childhood I knew the world of production and art. It was easier to me to build things than to draw them, and I graduated from University as an Industrial Designer. I thought that my drawing skills were not good enough to illustrate my ideas and designs, so I started to develop my knowledge in 3D to be able to visualize my ideas in a more evolved way. A world of possibilities opened to me and it was no longer just designing objects. The advertising industry was the perfect place to utilize my curiosity and build my professional development.
How many years have you been in the business?
Sebastian: I started in the advertising industry at age of 14 (almost 30 years ago) when after the school I went to work in the advertising agency of my father. Over the years I passed for many positions, since production to account services. Many years later in 2005 we started our creative production studio.
Are you self-taught or school taught?
Ezequiel: Self-taught unintentionally. It all started as a game. When I was 10 years old, my father who is an architect, bought a Mac which included design software but no games. Out of curiosity and as a form of entertainment I started to spend a good part of my free time to discover this new world without realizing that I was not only learning to use design tools, but I was forming as a self-taught. Years later I understood that this method would be useful both in my profession and in my life.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
Esteban: Being able to work at an international level, developing projects in America, Europe and Asia, and being able to work with so many talented and dedicated people is our greatest achievement. If I have to reflect on a specific milestone, without a doubt, winning at the Cannes Festival and other international festivals are our greatest achievement because that is where the whole industry rewards excellence.
Sebastian: My greatest professional achievement has been helping to build our creative studio and put our company in the map of the most important advertising agencies and creatives around the world.
What professional goals do you still have for yourself?
Ezequiel: My professional goal is to continue learning and in that daily improvement I measure neither time nor effort, I only care about the result, then the recognition arrives, and more than expected.
If life were “as good as it gets” – what’s there? If your career were “as good as it gets” – what’s there?
Esteban: I imagine that would be to see that everything I have worked on has meaning, that I have been able to learn and share knowledge, and that I have the mental clarity, calm, and focus to devote the necessary attention to every pursuit.
Could you describe how you create your images? What do you look for?
Sebastian: Every project is a whole world, when we receive a brief we automatically think what we would apply to it, what would fit better, the colour, the light, the texture, there are a thousand of aspects that must be taken into account and this is exactly what makes each project a new challenge.
Who is/was your greatest mentor?
Ezequiel: I don’t consider that I have a mentor but that a lot of people have contributed in the development of my learning. When you are self-taught you design your own study program, that makes your knowledge not based on a person or institution but based on what you like or passionate about. The highest percentage of knowledge that I apply in my work is not related to what I learned in conventional education. That does not mean that conventional education does not work. That means that the education that everyone receives, what it does is to equalize everyone. Today you have much more information in your pocket than in school. But if you learn something different with a different learning process, the results will be different.
What’s missing from your career that you could add to make it complete?
Esteban: I believe being able to participate in the arts beyond advertising, and to see our work exposed, criticized by people outside of the industry, would be a way to feel complete – at least until something new comes to mind – hahaha!
How do you work best – in teams, with assistants, on location, in studio, etc…?
Sebastian: This is a teamwork where the collaboration is the best practice for solving the challenges and produce the best quality.
What part of your work do you find most demanding?
Ezequiel: The greatest difficulty in the work is the time. This limit is sometimes not enough but in spite of it, with the experience acquired, we can obtain great results in a good period of time.
What is your work philosophy?
Esteban: A professor told me at University: You need to do the easy things in the right way, and do the hard things easy. I know it seems obvious, every part of a project needs time.
How did you achieve your vision?
Ezequiel: I try to put my eyes on a different point of view, which not only modifies the place from which you are looking, but also the image you perceive.
What is the ideal relationship for you with your clients?
Esteban: I believe the key to an ideal relationship is trust. The client must trust us, as we must trust the client – obviously that trust needs to be built. With new clients that trust is built from the presentation of our ideas in the treatment, the creative calls, forethought in pre-production of the unforeseen issues that may arise, sharing the work process – all this is critical and confirms our commitment, and in so doing generates confidence and trust.
Sebastian: We always let of our works talk for themselves, and this is our best resource to attract more clients; doing our job the best we can, always applying something different in every project to make it unique. We try to be always partners of our clients, not just suppliers, trying grow up the campaign to the best possible.
What is your creative philosophy?
Ezequiel: Creation starts from a finite number to an infinite number of possibilities. Objects are born as people, by combinations. The periodic table starts from a limited amount of elements but with its mixture it was possible to create everything that surrounds us. The musical notes are very few and always the same, but with them were composed all the songs that we know today. So if you learn something new every day, the options that you’ll have to create will never end.
What’s your advice to handling rejection?
Esteban: Creative work is rooted in our inspiration and emotion. This is part of our brand, exclusive to you as an artist, but the personal must end there. Once the work is exposed, you must understand the criticism in a professional way, and if you must reformulate, you will. I like to be positive in that sense, since criticism and critique forces you to leave your place of comfort, and once you move from there, the possibilities grow and your work evolves.
Sebastian: Believe in yourself always.
Ezequiel: Rejection is not a denial, it is just a different point of view. The intention is to analyze it to achieve a positive change by obtaining benefits from this modification.
What is the toughest feedback you’ve ever received and how did you handle it?
Sebastian: When we started we went to visit one of the most important graphic producers of that moment in our market and although he was surprised by the quality of our reel he said us that I did not see that the 3D-CGI tools had a chance in the market. Thank God we did not hear it and we continue our plan. A few weeks later he called us to to solve several projects of the agency.
What inspires you?
Ezequiel: Inspiration is usually born when I see something unknown or something that astonishes me that by linking it with what I already know, new ideas come up that I never thought of.
Where do you seek inspiration?
Esteban: I believe that before anything, inspiration is achieved with hard work and dedication, paying attention and learning. Traveling and discovering new places, or returning to known places are a great source of inspiration. The mood and openness that I have when traveling makes me very receptive to the environment. My father was also a source of inspiration. He could not finish secondary (high school), but he is what we call an “orchestra man”, he was an entrepreneur. There are many things I do not share with his way of seeing the world, but his perseverance, determination and creativity may be my greatest source of inspiration.
How would you describe your brand?
Sebastian: I think that since a long time we are much more than what our brand says of us since we do much more than 3D. We added many of other resources’ and techniques as 2D illustration, photography and art direction to mention some of them. In several moments we even think of changing our brand but at the same is a name with which we have come a long way and many people recognize us by it.
What are some of your influences?
Ezequiel: I have felt influenced by several branches of art, such as design, architecture, cinema, music, etc. I’m always looking for artists that I’ve never seen before, trying to find new images that inspire me to create different things.
Would you have any advice for artists just starting out?
Sebastian: You will make it happen If you really want it.
Ezequiel: For those who are starting out, I would suggest to acquire a method, it is necessary to “learn to learn”. The method that has worked for me, could be synthesized in four steps:
For this you should generate an extensive mental library and always try to increase that gallery. If every element that we save in our library was a point, the way to generate something creative is to link those points in an interesting way. The more points we add, the more possibilities we have of combining them. You have to motivate the brain. Shake the neurons, extend the wiring. This should be taken as the basis for any creative or artistic process.
What are you passionate about, gets your blood pumping, or gives you joy?
Esteban: I never miss a game of the club I am a fan – River Plate and also the Argentina National team – (soccer). It really influences my mood, it is a completely irrational love, and I like it. Once during the Cannes Lion Festival, River Plate played a really important game, and I had to watch it alone, because if any client had seen me at that time, it would not have been something I could be proud of … hahaha.
Sebastian: Enjoining of my kids and family as much as possible. And playing basketball as much as I can … I love the game!
How do you approach your down time?
Esteban: I am very close with my family and friends. I spend my free time with my wife and 3-year-old daughter, we are preparing for the new family member who will arrive in October – a boy. I meet with my friends often, and luckily as time passes, we continue to enjoy each other. A couple of months ago I reconnected with a sport – CrossFit, I’m training every week, and I could never have imagined that I would be so motivated.