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  • 11.24.15

How Digital Artist Cyriak Gave “W/ Bob & David” The Trippiest Opening Credits Ever

There’s a reason the opening credits on “W/ Bob & David” are so nuts–they come from the delightfully warped perspective of Cyriak Harris.

How Digital Artist Cyriak Gave “W/ Bob & David” The Trippiest Opening Credits Ever

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At surface-level, the work of infinity-obsessed digital artist Cyriak Harris does not seem to have much in common with the pantheon-topping, mid-’90s sketch series, Mr. Show with Bob and David. What they do share, however, is an ability to get synapses snapping and hold sway over bong-addled dorm-dwellers, and perhaps a debt to Monty Python. So the two forces joining together in the opening credits for Netflix’s Mr. Show revival, W/ Bob & David, makes its own sort of sense.

If you’ve seen Cyriak’s work before–often characterized by exponential repetition, automation, dark humor, and cats–you likely caught a wave of familiarity at the top of W/ Bob and David, which premiered November 13 on Netflix. All of the artist’s signatures on hand, blending in with the be-costumed visages of the titular creators. Cyriak was familiar with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’s sketch show from having watched clips on YouTube–and Odenkirk and Cross were familiar with Harris’s work from the same platform. It was a very modern mutual admiration society.

“I just got an email one day asking if I wanted to do the titles,” Cyriak says. “It sounded like a fun project and it was cool that David and Bob were both fans of my work.”

Fittingly for a show that is synonymous with unfettered creativity, Cross and Odenkirk took a hands-off approach to the credits sequence.

“They basically just wanted me to do what I do,” Cyriak says. “They would give me a ton of material and would let me fill 20 seconds with whatever madness I could make from it. They even wanted me to do the music, which is unusual (both the request and the music). So, a lot of creative freedom there. The main challenge was making it at 4K resolution for Netflix. That’s four times bigger than my monitor. It turned out my computer can’t handle video footage very well at that size, so it was lucky they had loads of hi-res photos for me to play with.”

The finished product is an appropriate amuse-bouche for the delightfully warped main dish that follows. And knowing that the creators of the show and its equally twisted credits are so simpatico makes it all go down that much smoother.

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“The only feedback I ever got was to make it less like TV titles and more like something I would make for myself,” Cyriak says. “Which is the kind of feedback I like to hear.”

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.

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