Hana McDowell aka Blaq: Image Navigator
Images fly across the screen as small thumbnails, representing slices of time. Once prerecorded and digitized, they are cataloged, sequenced and re-sequenced. She arranges the images one way and creates a linear story arc, traditional in tone and effective none the less. Not satisfied, she rearranges them into a synchronistic dance telling a story through fragmented glimpses of disconnected data. She somehow makes sense of it all and invites the viewer to fill in the gaps with his own imagination; and at other times presenting the subject in such clear focus leaving nothing to the imagination. This is what Hana does with such grace and precision it looks as if this were her true purpose in life. She knows her tools like a hunter who knows her weapons. She is the very definition of an editor. The importance of her job is often overshadowed by the subject, but due to her precise skills the subject shines so very bright.
Christopher Adams: A Man of many faces and talents
Christopher Adams, CEO of Impakt Studio was born and raised in Chicago’s Roseland area where gangs and drugs were as much a part of the landscape as the homes and storefronts. As the Chief Animator, Artist, Director and General Business Manger for Impakt Studio, Chris is hands on in all aspects of his busy company. “I learned early in life the mantra of if you want something done well, do it yourself and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” His creativity surfaced early in life. Self-taught in all of his trades, he compared the price of school versus the price of equipment and it was a “no-brainer”. Chris incorporates a variety of disciplines, knowledge and ideologies in his work. “My father is a mechanic and I learned how to fix just about anything from him. His ingenuity inspired me to learn to master the many tools I need in life, both physical and metaphysical.” This philosophy is applied in many instances when the need for “creative flexibility and innovation” arises. According to Chris, “if you know how something works you can dissect it and apply what you need from it to something completely fictional.” Chris also strives to push his art far beyond the urban markets that nurtured his talents, believing that art and music are the “only universal truths left in modern society and can therefore reach far beyond their intended audience.”
Impakt Studio was founded because there was a lack of professional visual presentation amongst Chicago’s music community. “The images representing Chicago were horribly produced, most of which were done by people who knew nothing about the artist and cared even less. These images were horror shows that demonstrated no creativity at all.” Because his style is so creative, it can be quite hard to describe. “It constantly changes so that I can reinvent myself and my style. I gather inspiration from a variety of sources including Japanese animation, directors and artists. My all time favorites are: Ansel Adams, Kazuaki Kiriya, Mamoru Oshii, Massamune Shirow, Spike Lee, Chris Cunningham, Mark Romanek, H.R. Giger, Zdzislaw Beksinski, Joel Peter Witkin and Hype Williams.
“When people come to Impakt Studio they are bringing us their hopes and dreams. You have to handle hopes and dreams with care so I treat them as my own, because I want to see them realized as much as they do.”
Impakt Studio success is a special case in that for nearly 10 years it has amassed a clientele that is the who’s who of Chicago’s elite music community. For example, in 2001 they produced two music videos and countless design jobs for Atlantic recording artist Twista. The cameo appearance by former Universal recording artist Crucial Conflict in Twista’s video for “Piece of Mind” allowed Impakt Studio to later produce a mini-movie and many album covers for Crucial Conflict. This in tern allowed Impakt Studio to network with Chicago’s Westside hip hop community. In 2003 Impakt Studio linked up with Drama Ward which includes Psychodrama, Triple Darkness and Do or Die. That same year, Impakt Studio produced music videos and graphic design work for Do or Die and a logo design for Legion records which eventually signed the group. 2003 also proved that Impakt Studio was well on their way to paying their dues. When WGCI/107.5FM hosted its first ever Chicago Idol, Impakt Studio was the only production house allowed to film Chicago R&B don R. Kelly during the finals. The winner of Chicago Idol and future ICEE artist White Boy, choose Impakt Studio to produce his video submission for the contest and to later shoot the video “U Know” featuring Kanye West.
But the real testament to Impakt Studio’ success is that they have done absolutely no advertising. “We let the work speak for itself. I’ll put our demo reel up against anyone’s no matter how big their budget is. Our creativity and understanding of the tools we use, the subjects we shoot along with the drive to push the limits of visual media has enabled us to stay on top.”
Impakt Studio 2010 s. Wabash Chicago, IL USA 60616 + 312.307.7554 impaktstudio.com
“redefine, reinvent, explore the possibilities, ignore trends, initiate change, grow”©