Born in 2012, AN AXE TO GRIND is a collaboration between us, Ben Sasson and Mimi Violette, based in Prague. This site houses our design work in a portfolio format while encompassing a works shop and blog... The posts we share are some of life’s specimens that inspire us.
A bit about Mimi...
My early background in various iffy quests—from refurbishing grand pianos, to irrigating landscapes, to painting paraphernalia—balanced out much of my 20s, while playing bass (an '82 Rickenbacker) in a Britpop/shoegaze band called Starless, fronted by Harrison Ray.
Such abstract and great happenings later amplified my pursuits in art school and beyond... I arrived with a BFA in Interior Design from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia of the U.S., with thick roots in architecture... then commended the ‘start’ of a career at Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum Architects (HOK) in New York.
And so... my stargaze bent forth towards more cinematic constellations. I immersed myself in production design for film and ‘re-invented’ my portfolio. Forever transfixed with European aesthetic, culture and pace, I seized a corner in Scandinavia… Graduate film-school unfolded in Helsinki at Aalto University of Art and Design (TaiK) where I studied production design under the company of Kevin Phipps (V for Vendetta, Eyes Wide Shut), Rod Gorwood (28 Days Later, 24 Hour Party People), David Morong (HBO's Carnivàle, Big Love), and Jan Harlan (producer for Stanley Kubrick from 1975-1999).
On my way to Prague to have a hand in the Erasmus program at Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), I worked on The Rite (with Anthony Hopkins) in Budapest. Later I wrote a screenplay — as part of my Master's thesis — which was enthusiastically nodded by FAMU, and suggested for further development to Professor Jaromír Kalista (more commonly known as Executive Producer for renowned Czech filmmaker, Jan Švankmajer).
Until I one day produce and direct this number, I currently freelance in production design, graphic design and interiors — Most recently (in 2014), I was part of the Art Department (as a Graphic Artist, Illustrator and Draughtsperson) in Lee Tamahori’s action epic, Emperor (with Adrien Brody)... and more recently, from January - June 2015, I was the graphic artist for 200+ sets for the third season of American / Netflix TV crime-drama, Crossing Lines with Donald Sutherland and Tom Wlaschiha (Game of Thrones)... Both Emperor and Crossing Lines are co-produced by Film United and Rick McCallum (Star Wars, The Singing Detective, Castaway)
Check out more of my portfolio here and on mimiviolette.com
Between projects, I teach courses in Production Design, Mise-en-scène and Storyboarding at Film Academy of Miroslav Ondříček (FAMO) in Písek, Czech Republic.
And a bit about Ben...
My childhood affection for making short-films further developed where light is excluded... my yeshiva would grant me classes at public school in manual photography, later leading to studies locally at University of Notre Dame in Indiana, then beyond in Europe, where I studied fine arts in Florence at Santa Reparata International School of Art (SRISA) with a concentration on still-photography. With such life for the realm of film and theory, I deepened my studies at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), graduating with a BFA in Film and Minor in Photography.
Ever absorbed by mystery—from the illustrations of vintage Agatha Christie book covers, to the Italian film genre, “Giallo”— my cinematic style can be described as voyeuristic with a nostalgic candidness. Compositions materialize from a found poetic moment, and the natural geometry that surrounds it. Shooting with 35mm lens bestows an honest ‘extension of my own eye’ with consideration towards it’s potential graphic design layout.
In 2010, I spent time working in Israel, then Helsinki, where I studied film theory briefly before working in Budapest on the American feature, The Rite (with Anthony Hopkins). Establishing myself in Prague, I am a consultant and aid to Mimi on her curriculum at FAMO with emphasis on film science. As well, I am a freelance photographer, art director and graphic designer with specialty in posters, logo-design, web-design, business cards, brochures, press-kits and branding.
Since we met back in 2008, we have collectively worked on over 50 short films, videos, commercials, documentaries and 5 feature films with focus in Production Design, Art Direction, costume design, catering, set-photography, props and graphic design.
Since 2011, we have designed over 50 posters including for such bands as:
• A Place to Bury Strangers (US) 2012
• Beach House (US) 2012
• White Lies (UK) 2013
— all of which are personally signed by the band.
One of our favorite pieces to zone-out to amidst working from home is the full-length (audio) from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)... and Niccolò Paganini...
All original work done by us is copy-written and may not be used without permission. Shared, but not used.