Featured: Psyop’s Alexei Bochenek on contagious creations and embracing your own influence — Graphika Online 2022

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — This year, Graphika Online 2022, one of Asia’s most influential design conferences, brought creativity and inspiration to the fore once again. Graphika has acted as an arena for the most talented and imaginative creative forces in Asia and around the world for the past 17 years.

Graphika Online 2022 hands the microphone to some of the most creative leaders in the industry — such as Alexei Bochenek of Psyop.

Bochenek is a creative director at Psyop, a gaming and advertising production company. The company prides itself in creating engaging content such as games, animated content, virtual/augmented reality programs, and digital campaigns based on pop culture and other trends for several global brands.

Psyop prides itself on its wide array of art styles, refusing to confine its creative prowess for the sole purpose of consistency; a principle of Bochenek as well. Their team is defined in being unpredictable, versatile, and surprising. According to Bochenek, one of their core strengths is their ability to embrace differences, layering opposing ideas on top of each other to create something new. 

Creating a colorful, finger-lickin’ good simulator

Bochenek kicks off his session by showcasing one of his viral creations, “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger-Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator.” 

The game follows the player as a promising culinary student trying to win the heart of their classmate, Colonel Sanders. In this journey, players face various decision scenarios that can affect their chances of friendship and love.

The “delicious” dating sim is heavily influenced by Japanese anime, American sitcoms and cartoons, cooking competitions, video games, and even the Colonel himself, who starred in his own commercials back in the day.

How did it become so viral? Bochenek answered: a project that was originally perceived as something “shallow” and as a “joke,” but very carefully and seriously executed, can easily pick up anyone’s interest, allowing them to enter and enjoy the game’s offerings.

It was clear that they succeeded when fans treated the KFC dating simulator with the same level of respect that they treat the other shows and games they love in various forms of content. “These people were ready to adopt our creation into their multitudes,” Bochenek said.

On embracing your quirks and influence

Bochenek also shared the game trailer for Apex Legends, an online multiplayer game featuring diverse characters and an array of playstyles gamers can enjoy. Players are encouraged to express themselves freely through the character they inhabit.

Taking this aspect of the game, Psyop intertwined dramatics such as spoken word poetry, theatrics, contemporary dance, and even psychedelic motion graphics to fully convey the game’s message.

“Creating a thing that feels new through layering and augmentation makes a project feel multidimensional.” Bochenek shared. “We aren’t limited to one genre, time, or place. If we approach our subject sincerely and with respect, and if we approach our audiences the same way, the audience will feel the same enthusiasm in our work.”

“It’s not enough to want something to be good. You still have to dedicate a lot of hard work and determination to execute it in a way you’re going to be proud of,” Bochenek said.

Why artists should join the communities they create 

After sharing his most popular works, Bochenek delved into the more personal side of things, including a quote from the “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, for I am large, and I contain multitudes.” 

Being a self-proclaimed nerd with several overlapping interests, Bochenek considers himself to be quite a contradiction. “I don’t feel defined by a single interest, I can contain multitudes too.” 

Bochenek shared more of his works influenced by our generation’s well-loved movies and games, saying that creating new content out of these influences feels like a tribute; a great way to connect with its original creators and with the audience as well.

“Letting people in on my influences has always been a way of communicating my honest desire to make something for other people; not just for myself and my clients, but for the audience who I want to spend the time with, and who I want to feel their lives enriched by this experience.”

“I encourage you to be a part of the community you create for rather than seeing yourself as apart from them, because it’s really rewarding to feel like you’re part of a community.” Bochenek said as he concluded the talk.

Check out Alexei Bochenek’s website and Psyop’s works on their website, Behance, and Facebook page.

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of Graphika Online 2022.

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