Ash Thorp’s EPOCH is an Experiment in Cinematic Space Exploration

Space is a recurrent theme across popular culture, from literature to visual art – this is perhaps no surprise, given the seductive mystery of the unknown. For artist Ash Thorp, space was something he had dreamed about since he was a child. He decided it was finally time to attach his unique lens to the subject, and create EPOCH, an experimental video quite unlike anything else.

It’s certainly a step up in terms of scope and ambition from the subject of our last Ash Thorp feature, but a career in the film industry is an easy fit with this artist’s love of drawing, combined with his interest in cinema. Ash has worn many creative hats since his graphic design work for feature films like Total Recall, and video game Call of Duty: as an illustrator, graphic designer and creative director. Alongside his professional career, Ash has found time to create a graphic series entitled “Lost Boy”, which is in further development with his co-director Anthony Burns and production company “Post Panic Pictures.”

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Epoch is an experimental film designed to take the viewer on a journey through space. Through using cutting edge CGI and unusual melodies, Ash and previous collaborator Chris Bjerre wanted to do a planetary take on the age old story of David and Goliath: David was to represent humanity, and Goliath symbolises space and beyond. With this fascinating video, Ash explores the vastness of space and the unknown.

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But vastness is difficult to handle; how did Ash get on? We got in touch to find out…

The Plus: Can you talk us through the concept of EPOCH, and where you got the inspiration from?
Ash Thorp: Chris and I were kicking around the idea of doing a space epic and felt it needed to have a timeless, yet simple, narrative to follow. David and Goliath fit perfectly with the overall theme of EPOCH, as we are showing mankind’s quest into the great unknown and the transformation that results from such a voyage.

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TP: Could you tell us about how you and Chris collaborated on the score with composer Ben Boysen?
AT: Ben has this incredible ability to open up pockets of thought and emotion in my mind that I never knew existed. We gave him the liberty to create the sounds and melodies that he felt and heard when watching the images for the video; there was just an inherent level of trust and admiration shared between us all.

TP: Has there been anything you’ve been doing differently for EPOCH?
AT: Since NONE was a side project created over a much smaller span of a few weeks, between projects, the next goal was to see what we could do in our off-hours over 10-12 weeks.

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TP: So what sort of steps went into this longer process?
AT: We spent the first week exploring the ship design and pulling as many resources and reference images to help us along the journey. We then went into production on the ship. I have been learning a CAD-based modelling software called Fusion 360, and felt it was a great excuse to give it a try. We worked on iteration after iteration until we ended up with 25 versions of the edit.

TP: How much research into space did you do before you set about developing the project?
AT: We both love the topic of space, and equally conducted a fair bit of research to make sure what we were creating looked as real as possible.  Of course, we embellished on things here and there for our preferred design aesthetics, but we kept the core of it restrained and pulled back into what we termed “real space.”

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TP: How did you go about choosing the planets that were to be featured in EPOCH?
AT: The journey began from Earth and moved outwards from there into the cosmos, visiting each planet respectively along the way.

TP: Do you believe there’s life in space?
AT: Of course.  To quote the great Carl Sagan:“The universe is a pretty big place.  If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”

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