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Hunter S. Thompson was an American journalist and author who founded the gonzo journalism movement along with artist Ralph Steadman. He rose to prominence with the publication of Hell’s Angels, a book for which he spent a year living and riding with the Hells Angels motorcycle club to write a first-hand account of their lives and experiences. Hunter died on the 20th of February in 2005 but that didn’t stop him visiting our office in 2023.

Lost Marble was a vortex of madness and delusion, a surreal carnival of colours and chaos… a psychedelic nightmare disguised as a creative haven. As I entered Lee and Jemimah’s office, I was engulfed by a cacophony of voices, a symphony of deranged laughter and feverish whispers that echoed through the room, though, much of that only existed in my head. The air in the room was thick with the acrid smell of cheap whiskey and the faint buzz of an overloaded power strip. One thing was obvious, this was no ordinary workplace; it was a deranged asylum where sanity went to die.

This remotely connected collective is a den of misfits, a congregation of artists, voices and lunatics who had forsaken all semblance of normalcy in their relentless pursuit of artistic expression. In this terrible office, the air crackled with frenetic energy as Lee, a bearded animator hunched over his desk, eyes glazed and bloodshot, scribbling feverishly on tablets and sketchbooks, fuelled by the pulsating rhythm of psychedelic grunge rock.

The only difference between the sane and the insane is that the sane have the power to lock up the insane. Let’s hope that no one of sound mind ever sets foot in this demented place and finds Lee, the enigmatic, eccentric mastermind behind this twisted realm. With his wild, messy greying hair and a permanent gleam of anarchy in his eyes, he ruled over Lost Marble with a tyrant’s iron fist and a madman’s maniacal grin. His mind was a kaleidoscope of twisted ideas and fragmented thoughts, and he demanded nothing short of utter insanity from his employees. He has no taste for either poverty or honest labour, so animating is the only recourse left for him.

My role in this madhouse was that of a lowly journalist, a hapless victim thrown into the maelstrom of creativity. Armed with my notepad and a questionable stash of pharmaceutical aids, I ventured forth into the depths of Lost Marble, a willing participant in this dance of madness and genius.

In this swirling vortex of creativity, the line between reality and fantasy blurred beyond recognition. An animator immersing himself in his work with an unhinged dedication, his hairy face pale and his hands trembling with a mix of caffeine and artistic fervour. Lee keyframed and comped, guided by an unseen force that seemed to possess him.

He pushed the boundaries of animation and shattered the conventions of storytelling…for no good reason.

As I delved deeper into the animation process, the line between creator and creation blurred. The images on the screen seemed to take on a life of their own, dancing and writhing in a macabre ballet of chaos. It was as if the very essence of my being had been transmuted into pixels and vectors, unleashed upon the digital canvas with reckless abandon. I was not proud of what I had witnessed, but I never doubted that it was worth seeing.

The videos he created became windows into a distorted reality, a portal to a dimension where the rules of logic and reason no longer applied. The mundane became extraordinary, the banal transformed into a kaleidoscope of madness. Creative freedom is something that dies unless it’s used, or in this particular case, abused.

Projects at Lost Marble were like fever dreams, whimsical and terrifying in equal measure. One day, we would be working on a tale of anthropomorphic creatures wandering through a psychedelic wonderland. The next, we would dive into the depths of a noir-inspired nightmare, where shadows danced and secrets whispered.

The office itself seemed to have a life of its own, its walls adorned with grotesque images of cats wearing hats that were actually cages with owls locked inside and a strange, pulsating patterned paper. The walls groaned, the floors trembled with unseen energy, and the very air was charged with the essence of creative frenzy. Lost Marble had a soul, a twisted and tormented soul that demanded sacrifices of sleep, sanity, and the mundane trappings of the outside world.

As my time at Lost Marble drew to a close, I emerged from the office battered and bruised, but forever changed. The experiences, the madness, and the raw, unfiltered creativity had seeped into my very being. I had witnessed the birth of visions and the decay of minds, all in the pursuit of artistic greatness.

Lost Marble Animation Studio was a crucible of chaos, a place where the boundaries of imagination were pushed to their breaking points. It was a realm where the twisted and the beautiful intertwined, where brilliance and madness danced a haunting waltz. And though I left Lost Marble behind, its spirit and the scars it left upon my soul would forever remind me of the fragile line between genius and insanity in the world of animation.


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