Even if you haven’t heard the name Sucuk und Bratwurst before, you’ve almost definitely seen their work. From Dior to Dua Lipa, Kali Uchis to Valentino, this creative collective that specialises in 3D visuals has been gaining major traction in recent years. With an ever-increasing list of desirable clients, and new personal projects in the works, we step into Bratwurst’s world: where an army of Will Smiths model Moncler, motorcycles metamorphose into clutch bags, and rubber ducks bob around in ball gags. Take notes, marketing world. Today, we speak with their founders, Alessandro Belliero, David Gönner, Denis Olgac and Lukas Olgac.
Sucuk und Bratwurst has its own unique aesthetic that distinguishes you from your contemporaries. Who has had the greatest influence over your style?
Our friends actually have a great impact on how we work and what we like. We made a lot of new friends along the way and it feels like we are making more and more friends with every job and collaboration we do. Inspiration and influence for our work in general can come from all different kinds of places, whether it is nature, movies, music or just looking at the most usual things in our everyday life until you find something unique in it.
Although you have your own aesthetic, you also work closely with so many different artists and brands. Is it hard to maintain your artistic style when you have so many different clients who each want something unique?
Fortunately, most of the brands and clients choose to work with us specifically because they value our very own approach to things and our specific aesthetics. We’re in a comfortable position to be able to discuss concepts and ideas basically on eye-level with all our clients.
Do you take a company’s ethics into consideration before you work with them? Have you ever turned a company down because they don’t align with your values?
Yes, definitely. If the client or the brand IS against our core values and don't match our world view in general, we usually don’t hesitate to decline the job. It is very important for us to create something we can support.
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You work with some pretty iconic brands that have spent decades cultivating their aesthetic and target demographics. I’m thinking of Dior and Valentino, for example. When they reach out to you for designs, how much creative freedom do you have over the content of the project?
It depends on the requesting client, project and its purpose, but usually we are free to create our concepts and ideas. One of the most important reasons for us to accept a project in the first place is that we are internally satisfied with the treatment.
For example, with Dior, it was clear from the beginning that this project is not about creative freedom but about technical and aesthetic precision, since it is the design of Hajime Sorayama, and we had to realize the 2D graphics as 3D animation. With Valentino, on the other hand, we were somewhat freer. One of Valentino’s signature objects for their recent collection were bright flowers, which we then used as a guideline for colour and ecstasy. They trusted us with concept ideas and the animations, and let us work freely.
It’s so refreshing to see brands working with artists like yourselves and seeing visuals and campaigns that are genuinely innovative and exciting. Most brands’ marketing campaigns in recent years don’t capture our attention, but you’re changing that. Is your intention to challenge mainstream marketing and show that it can become truly artistic?
Mainstream marketing in its core will always stay mainstream marketing. At the moment though, it seems to be like a trend especially for bigger brands (not only the fashion industry) to explore new ways of creating content, such as CGI-animated lookbooks, stills or videos. So yes, the aesthetic has changed quite a bit while the basic goal to sell stuff in the most appealing way and up-to-date at the cutting-edge of time remains. After all, it is a difficult balance between capitalism and artistic freedom which makes it rather impossible to really infuse marketing with a true artistic approach. That’s why we also prefer to do editorial artwork solely on our own without limitations in addition to our commercial work.
You guys have been friends since you were children, and it’s still the four of you who run the creative collective. Do you think this closeness is the key to your success?
The fact that we’ve known each other for such a long time is definitely an advantage in terms of knowing the person that you are working with on a deep, personal level, so it is easy and comfortable to communicate within the group. We see ourselves as a unit and try to push each other as much as possible to make sure that everyone is satisfied with the outcome.
Have you found that your demand has increased even more during the pandemic since traditional photoshoots can’t take place?
The pandemic has significantly increased the demand for CGI. We had several requests from major fashion houses, in which we first had to start an explanation dialogue of what CGI is and what is possible to create within a proper amount of time and budget. It was an important lesson for traditional fashion houses to learn that CGI is not necessarily faster or cheaper.
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I’ve noticed that you often work with the same clients multiple times: Alexander Wang, Moncler or Rimowa, for example. Are you more interested in establishing partnerships than one-off collaborations?
Yes, definitely. We like to work with our clients on a regular and more familiar kind of base where everyone involved is on the same page and has fun creating the best possible content. With long-term partnerships, it is also easier to understand what the client is aiming for when they ask us to create something for them.
I imagine each of your designs takes a long time to create. Do you have a collaboration that you’re most proud of? Talk me through the process of working on it.
One of the highlights this year was the collaborative artwork we did for the Moncler Genius x Will Smith campaign with photographer Daniel Sannwald. Due to overlapping schedules, we weren’t able to shoot the images and video in person, so we had to readjust and use a 3D scan of the head of Will Smith in combination with a body double we 3D-scanned in a full Moncler outfit. The head and body were merged digitally and placed into different CGI scenes to create the hero video for the campaign and launch event. The 3D scanning process as well as working with Will and Daniel was a lot of fun, and we learned many new things we can now use in future jobs.
I love the visuals you’ve been creating for Kali Uchis and her new music. Are there any other artists you would love to collaborate with?
We are very happy to be able to work with Kali Uchis on her new album. In general, we enjoy working with musicians because they always have good creative input. There are a lot of musicians we would like to work with in the future: Daft Punk, Travis Scott or Haftbefehl, for example.
Outside of your collaborations, you’ve recently had exhibitions at art shows in Berlin and Milan. You also release your own clothing. We’re not used to seeing creative collectives work across so many mediums. Do you want to move towards one medium in particular, or do you like having this variety?
We do not want to commit ourselves to one medium; we want to do and try out as much as possible and whatever we enjoy. When it comes to commercial work, the customer has a lot of influence, but when it comes to art, we are completely free in the design. And this is what we love and appreciate the most at the end of the day.
There’s not much you haven’t done yet, but are there any platforms you haven’t yet ventured into that you would like to?
We want to position ourselves even better in the art scene, in terms of exhibitions, etc. We also want to expand our own ‘merch’ and fashion designs, which is why we are already talking to a few brands about possible collaborations.
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