Archive for the ‘animation’ tag
Animator Kelly Sears creates eerie speculative narratives by superimposing a voice on to archival footage. The voice presents a state of surveillance and authoritarianism as the viewer watches post-war American footage that she manipulates through various forms of animation. Sears’s work has even greater resonance and seems increasingly foreboding given the Trumpian political climate.
Although “The Rancher” (2012) uses footage of Lyndon B. Johnson, upon listening to the narration, Trump immediately comes to mind.
“Voice on the Line” (2009) stirs to mind the NSA’s wiretapping, but again with Trump’s assault on immigrants and initial legislative actions, the Trump administration and ICE come to mind as I watch excerpts from this film in which a secret police listen to conversations with phone operators. Unknowingly the operators have become complicit in the monitoring and spying of the U.S. population.
This is the latest animated loop inspired by traversing the city. Whether walking or on public transit, observations of urban life trigger visual ideas that are rendered as brief animations. Audio accompanying the animations are recordings from urban walks as well as interviews with NYC residents. The audio accompanying this animation is from a brief excerpt from an extended interview with my 86 year old neighbor Louise.
I took a video of a clarinet and drum duo inside the Metro Tech Subway Station and created a rotoscope animation with the musicians in the foreground, a collection of subway advertisements that I’ve documented over the years in the background and recent gentrification interviews as audio… This is New York City!
Stalin/Putin, Smith/Mugabe, Somoza/Ortega, Hirohito/Kim Il-sung, Idris/Gaddafi, Batista/Castro, GOP/Dems are ongoing portrait pairings of autocratic leaders that reflect a corruption of power. These illustrations have been created with the intention of animating a transformation from one face to the other as video loops. “Stalin to Putin” is the second animation of the series. “Somoza to Ortega” was completed quickly following the Sandinista’s last constitutional amendment that got rid of term limits, facilitating Ortega’s permanency as Nicaraguan president. I created the illustrations and my assistant Thomas Medina is the animator behind “Stalin to Putin”.
This past fall, I entered in to a conversation with a man named Jerry who sat near me on a downtown Brooklyn bench. Jerry was very interested in what I do for a living and asked me to teach him any skills I may have. I told him that I’d be happy to, gave him my card, but told him that he’d have to show up sober. I haven’t heard back from Jerry yet. Some weeks later, I photographed people recycling in the Lower East Side during an afternoon walk about a week before Christmas 2015. There was no particular reason to take the photo other than I liked the composition. Here is the photograph as an animated illustration and a small portion of Jerry talking about the social contract in U.S. culture… According to Jerry, we all play a role in the project that is this country and he wants to play a larger role.
New York City presents an opportunity for creativity at all times including dull subway rides.
Over the past year, I’ve been slightly obsessed with Vladimir Putin. As the annexation of Crimea occurred in spring of 2014, I took in all the news as I tried to understand why in this day and age following two world wars and the cold war of the past century a world leader would behave in such a manner. I understand that Crimeans speak primarily Russian and not Ukrainian, that Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 and perhaps culturally the Crimean majority identify as Russian. But to make the power play of absorbing a portion of another country immediately following a revolution, strikes me as a land grab of another era not reflective of our globalized, pan-capitalist world. I of course wondered if Putin is today’s Stalin, as many other people make the connection. In considering this annexation, I assembled this animation as I work on a slightly less shorter animated portrait.
Last fall, I had the great pleasure of working with Hunter College Macaulay Honors student Ashley van der Grinten to create this beautiful animation. “Dance” is a collaboration between Ms. van der Grinten, videographer and dancer Shanika Powell and dancer Christina McEachern. The final animation is a beautiful and creative hand drawn work that brings to life an abstracted human figure that dances across your screen.
I generally, do not like the concept of corporate art or the making of art work closely tied to a corporate sponsor. Of course some forms of art of a long history of corporate/business funding in order to be realized, and amazing work can come of it, that would otherwise be beyond the scope of what a single artist or collective without the financial means of investors would be able to realize (and much of that work, I chalk up as entertainment, rather than art)…
When I encounter something so well-crafted and combines various forms of media, I can’t help but set aside my ethics of what is and isn’t art and the necessary division between big money and creativity… One such work is graphic/comic book artist Rafael Grampá “collaboration” with or through Absolut Vodka – “Dark Noir”. I very much would like to see the full animation, but even this excerpt presents a sense of how visually stunning this work is and that it effectively combines 3D and 2D animation with the main characters and settings in 3D and the demons as 2D art work. Now where to see the entire animation!
With each manipulation of the Nicaraguan constitution by Ortega and the Sandinista party, I feel a deep sadness for the impoverished country. I am also dumbfounded at the short-sightedness of the ruling party and the ignorant avarice of Daniel Ortega who will not hand over the political reigns of the country to a new generation. Prosperity has been illusive to this small country that has suffered a long-lasting dictatorship, natural disaster, a popular revolution and seemingly inherent political corruption. If only a true leader would emerge who seeks an end to corruption and the engineering of a society striving for the well-being of all its people. Unfortunately, since the Nicaraguan National Assembly elected to eliminate presidential term limits, an end to poverty and corruption appears as distant as the worst period of the Somoza dynasty. Ortega has effectively become Somoza.