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“I’m not a super big fan of interviews,” Mato Atom admits. “I don’t like to tell too much.” Fortunately, Atom’s work speaks loudly. Like surrealist collages come to life, his animation and motion graphics are mind-bending, ocular confections populated with metallic aliens with spindle-like legs and furious dogs that shed animated profanity.
Atom was first attracted to visual effects as a teenager in Switzerland and eventually taught himself how to use 3-D animation software and other tools of the trade. He never went to school for these skills, but his autodidact’s education has served him well, allowing him to explore his passions without restrictions.
Atom, who uses his anagrammatic moniker instead of his given name (which he prefers to keep private), moved to New York in 2005 to work at the downtown motion graphics boutique Psyop. He spent a year there before going out on his own as an independent director. In addition to work for global marketers like Coca-Cola and LVMH, he has found time for personal projects, a priority for Atom. His pointed short film “Champions,” about the new world order as brought to us by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, is backed by a melancholy rendition of Queen’s “We are the Champions” and signals that his ambitions extend far beyond commerce. “Whenever it’s possible, I try to do something that is not connected to any kind of expectation about selling a product,” he says. “It’s the classic masters of philosophy, art, and science I look up to while accepting my little place in the commercial industry.”