Wednesday, January 27, 2010
She posted all the artist bios and videos!
It's a lot of work to put these kind of things together, and I'm so grateful to Amber for my first showing of film in NYC.
Here's the segment that my film is in:
Mine's at 2:15. I really liked Shai Zurim's film which is after mine, ooo!
Other videos here. Amber put them into interesting little groups, it's cool.
My piece was very spontaneous- I took a few segments that I started at previous Animation Draws and put them to music from jams with Cameron and/or Bradley.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I finally put together the last three Animation Draws. Thanks to Aaron Barnes for doing the music!
Our next Animation Draw is Saturday, Feb 20th, 3pm-7pm, at WonderRoot. No experience necessary- we provide light tables, paper, and markers!
This time for most of it I used a Canon MP780 scanner, which happens to have an auto-document feeder!! I've dreamed of the day I could just put stacks of paper into a machine that would scan for me. I actually like the way shooting with a camera looks- it has a certain noise/warmth to it that I love, and sometimes the colors on the scanner are too bright. Shooting with a camera might even be faster (and iStopMotion, the program I've been using, is fantastic), but this MP780 is certainly much less work.
Hannah and I were about to toss the MP780 into the dumpster, but I gave it one more try (after Tak's birthday party at my place, wooo!!!) and was so amazed when it worked.
You can see it in action at the very start of the video.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
So I put together a book of drawings and a few pages of comics! Now you can buy it (or download it for free) thanks to lulu.com.
I put this together as a portfolio piece for the MFA program in Experimental Animation at CalArts, but it was so satisfying that I may do more of these. The comics particularly seem to be popular, and I have tons more drawings I could put together.
A huge thanks to Erica Schreiner who showed me lulu.com with her amazing book, Hellos & Goodbyes, which is a collection of her heartfelt short stories and is wonderful!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
I have a one-minute animated film in Amber Boardman's Give Me a Minute show in Brooklyn, NY!
GIVE ME A MINUTE
curated by Amber Boardman
January 22, 2010
6pm - midnight
Kate Davis Caldwell
Paulo Dos Santos
Maria Jose Duran Steinman
Bill Gerstenmaier / Michael Murrell
Brett W. Thompson
Kurt Gilbert Wahlstrom
*This is a one night event
but can also be viewed by appointment
and online at: http://www.theshirey.com
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I started this post by just putting that flyer up there that I made for OAF, and now I feel the urge to give some background!
OAF was a really important little group for some of us in college.
Maggie Ginestra, now living in St. Louis where she started a chapbook shop called Stirrup Pants, started OAF when we were in college at FSU and several OAFers are basically lifelong friends because of it.
The format was simple- each meeting started with a question (which was often off-the-wall or silly). Everyone had a title they could make up for themselves. Multiple titles were fine, too- Sean was like ten things. I was Animator then Historian/Archivist, and I think Cameron was Pilot. Then we shared art with one another- readings or drawings or music.
OAF is how I befriended Sean Jarrett, who did all the voices in my films "Chickenheads" and "Fluidtoons" and asked me to animate "Victory Remix" (see 'em at fluidtoons.com).
I also met William at OAF when I was transfixed when he read an excerpt from his "Scrap Cops" project. In William's reading he described a veteran cop (named "Big Hockey") showing a newbie cop a fully-assembled handgun in the bowl of a toliet in the men's room. "I ate that gun piece-by-piece and shat it out fully formed," Big Hockey told the newbie. The hilarity and bizarreness of that story has stuck with me since!! Was Big Hockey lying to the newbie to intimidate him, or was that kind of thing possible in the fictional William D. Tucker multiverse?
William lived in Atlanta for a little while and had a few gigs at Eyedrum, such as this one:
I also Graham Goodman through OAF! I already knew Bobby Z and Cameron from before OAF, but it was important for getting us closer.
Eventually we rented a house (Roberto found it), which had a shed in the backyard, and Bobby Z and Kevin and a few others cleared it out (it was totally full of stuff) and built benches and a stage. The Slusher St Theatre was born!
The plays we put on there were magical. There was "Prisoners of Gotham" (about Batman and the Joker), "Magnificent Forge", "Everybody Knows Time Machines are a Bad Idea", "Alcestis", Kate's musical... amazing.
We also had open houses, which were interesting- a mix of some amazing stuff and some regular stuff.
Eventually most of us left Tallahassee and turned the OAF house over to Tall Tom. Slusher St Theatre continued to be used, though no longer for poetry and plays but more for punk or rock shows.
One thing that I'm really proud of is Jean-Louis Costes performed his "Les Petits Oiseaux Chient" (Little Birds Shit) show at the OAF house in 2007! I caught it at Eyedrum in Atlanta and was blown away.
I drew on a wall in the bathroom- I'd intended to draw over all of the walls, but never did. Thankfully Diana sent me some pictures of it!
Here are a couple pictures I stole from the OAF house MySpace page:
Thursday, January 07, 2010
So Gram (sometimes known as Graham) interviewed me about ASIFA-Atlanta for The GRAMICLE; take a look, it was fun:
what is asifa-atlanta? tell us about the organization.
ASIFA-Atlanta is the local chapter of the worldwide animation society ASIFA, founded in Annecy, France in 1960. ASIFA's a French acronym: "association internationale du film d'animation".
Our particular chapter has been around for about ten years. We got started when a few female animators wanted to start a Women in Animation chapter. They approached Linda Simeksy (executive at Nick and Cartoon Network), whose reply was why not start a group for everyone first?
In 2005, the president of ASIFA-Atlanta, Lou Hertz, who had worked on Mr. Magoo, passed away, just months before I moved to Atlanta. Joe Peery, animation director at Turner Studios, heroically resurrected ASIFA-Atlanta, starting by picking up a cardboard box of ASIFA-related tapes and papers from Lou's.
Joe stepped down in Febuary 2008, though he still runs our weekly figure drawing class. I had already been running a few events at that point and been pretty involved, so I stepped up as president and have been doing it since then.
Now we have monthly screenings, weekly figure drawing, monthly workshops, and my favorite, monthly animation draws, where I bring light tables, stacks of paper, and markers to WonderRoot (community art center in Atlanta) and have people draw whatever they want, creating animation. It's on YouTube, actually- search for "ASIFA-Atlanta animation draw".
where are other hot spots for animation around the world?
ASIFA-Hollywood is our biggest chapter at the moment. They have an incredible thing there called the Animation Archive- they have a physical space, open to the public, in Burbank, where they have digitized over 5,000 films (most not available on DVD or VHS) and scanned over 50,000 animation-related drawings.
I was most excited about the long collection of thick binders that held all the storyboards for Ren & Stimpy, though. They welcome anyone to just stop by there and watch films and study drawings or storyboards. We're hoping to replicate the archive in Atlanta eventually but we need funding for it. They post samples at http://animationarchive.org/
They also do something called the Annie Awards, which is like the Oscars for animation, and actually influences the Oscars I think.
There are strong chapters all over the world, though, and most of us exchange films with one another for International Animation Day on October 28th. Israel, Brazil, Japan, Korea, France, and Greece have sent us really amazing, beautiful films. There was an animation from Bosnia- with a dragon rapping about drugs or something, totally not in English- that I particularly loved. We almost didn't put it in but I begged for it.
So Hollywood's the hot spot for commerical animation, but there's great independent animation coming from all over. New York City seems to have a higher-than-normal collection of extremely talented independent animators, though: Bill Plympton, Nina Paley, John Dilworth, Signe Baumane, Rauch Brothers, etc. NYC has a fantastic scene, and I was even going to try to move there because I wanted to work on Superjail! so badly with Christy Karacas and Aaron Augenblick.
how is asifa funded?
I think most chapters stay alive via their membership dues. Our dues are pretty cheap and we don't have a ton of members, so we have to make money other ways- actually, tonight we have a big art opening / music show / party that should raise some funds. We do this every year and it's our biggest money-maker.
Last year we had our annual art show / party at Eyedrum and the parking lot was completely packed, which to me means it was a success. We're having it at WonderRoot this year, which is a lot smaller, so I hope it works out! WonderRoot has been tremendously helpful- I didn't have to do nearly as much work this year, which was a huge relief, because last year was a bit difficult to put together.
Sometimes we make a little bit of money from screenings, but it's almost just as likely that we'll lose money from a screening. I actually really like to put on free screenings- we don't charge for International Animation Day at the High Museum of Art, for instance, and I like that.
I'm working on getting us non-profit status, though, so we'll be eligible for government grants and tax-deductible donations. It's just taking forever.
I believe some of the other chapters get government grants; Europe in particular seems to be more supportive of the arts, which is lovely and makes me want to move there. Their festivals don't usually have submission fees and they'll give filmmakers grants to make films. It's amazing.
what are animation artists that you like?
I admire Nina Paley so much- her feature film, "Sita Sings the Blues", is free, as in, released under Creative Commons (www.sitasingstheblues.com). So anyone can show it and even charge for it. She's made about $50,000 in donations, merch, etc, which I think is incredible. It's actually amazing that she animated a feature film by herself in the first place, really.
I also admire Don Hertzfeldt for working on paper and for making a living doing independent animation without being accountable to a client or big corporation.
I really love Nick Cross' work too, he has a delightful old-cartoony look. He worked for John Kricfalusi years ago I believe.
where do you see the future of animation?
This year there were three stop-motion animated features released: Coraline, Mary & Max, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I'm not a huge fan of the perfection of CGI, so I'm hoping that animation that makes use of real stuff will continue to grow. Mary & Max in particular did almost everything in-camera. It's a beautiful film.
I'm also hoping that there will be more people like Nina Paley who will create independent films on their own. Big budget features can be great, especially for employing a lot of people, but I wonder what kind of film one of those guys who's just a cog in the pipeline might make on his own.
With Flash and YouTube, I think it's leveling the playing field a bit, so someone can make something like a funny gay unicorn cartoon and have it seen by tons of people. I think this is exciting- not only do you have gay unicorn cartoons, you also have films like MUTO by BLU, which is breathtaking- you might have seen it- crazy animation on walls, like on the side of a building at one point. Bobby Z called me up immediately when he saw it for the first time!
how has animation evolved in your lifetime?
Great question, Graham!!
When I was a kid, I didn't see a lot of independent animation, though I did see Jan Svankmajer's "Darkness Light Darkness" on PBS, taped it, and watched the shit out of it. Today I've recently gone to France, China, and Portugal for animation festivals where they show all kinds of stuff. When I was a kid, there was the TV, movie theater, or video store- I didn't even know about festivals, and there certainly wasn't YouTube or Vimeo or BitTorrent.
There was Liquid Television, though, and Spike & Mike, and there was a good video store in my neighborhood (Video 21). But now it's so much easier to see different animation, because of the Internet and because of my involvement with ASIFA.
The biggest change I've seen so far in my lifetime has been the rise of 3D CGI animation, and also the rise of cheap Adult Swim-style animation.
You can see my work at www.fluidtoons.com. ASIFA-Atlanta has a website at www.asifa-atlanta.com.
Thanks so much for the interview, Graham!!