Why animation?

Why animation?

Because it is endlessly enchanting. We can recognise that we are looking at a two dimensional illustration. We recognise the marks of pen or brush and yet it is alive. In combination with the photographic image – a way to place these living drawings in the world amongst us – I am even more easily convinced. Remember Bob Hoskins interrogating Jessica Rabbit? Tom and Jerry dancing with Gene Kelly? Dick Van Dyke and those penguins in Mary Poppins? It’s a delight to me to be reminded that we’re not so far removed from the audience who ran in fear from the Lumiere brothers L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat in 1895. That we are persuadeable. Or at least willing to be under the right circumstance.

“Anchors Away,” Jerry the Mouse, Gene Kelly & Tom the Cat, 1945

Why animation?

Animation is the creation of life, life is energy and it is invisible energies that I want to give image to. Thought, emotion, cognition, intent – these things all have a physical power but, within the culture I reside, are generally considered as esoteric or abstruse. The things themselves are hidden but their effect is endless. What is more, these things I am making/visualising must move, must exhibit their power and flow, to be most present. I have tried to simply paint over photos but the result is something very different – the energy is caught in stasis.

Why animation?

In converting video to animation I touch every frame with my hands. I paint and I stain and I scar them and my thought is present in every gesture retained. There is some voudou in this. I strip video of life (by rendering it as single frames on paper before painting) in order to later resurrect it (as an augmented and intensely ‘handled’ version of it’s earlier self). It’s a brutal and uncanny technique when I think of it in those terms. These animations are shadowed by something reminiscent of a dark magic or a grim science.

Why animation?

Animation is a ritual process. You paint a frame and then another and then another and you exercise this process in repetition with commitment and sustained attention until the sequence is complete. There is no sense of the success or failure of the ritual until the entire process has been undertaken. This requires both a faith in the object being brought into existence and a preparedness to discard everything once the investment of this ritual process is complete. I am learning to surrender to chance, which also relieves me of some responsibility. It makes it easier to let go. The ritual is my framework. What happens amongst it has as much to do with the weather (meteorological and emotional) as much as anything else. It either works or it doesn’t.

Why animation?

Because time is illusionary anyway. The extended time it takes to create a sequence, is ultimately collapsed into a loop of a few seconds. You can see the extended time (it is visible in the labour flashing past your eye) but you travel through it at great speed. In this way each work is a kind of time machine.

Why animation?

I am more than my image. How else can I show this to you? I haven’t found a better way.

April 2015

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4 thoughts on “Why animation?

  1. I think this is very cool. One of my blogs is a collaborative project on self portraits:
    http:\\strataoftheself.wordpress.com
    I wonder if you would give me permission to share your animation there?
    Credit given and a link back to your blog.

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