Five Artists Creating New Visions of What Animation Can Be
In Spin (2010) computer generated toy soldiers create Busby Berkeley like patterns.
In Basement Jaxx: Where's Your Head At (2009), Max matches up different sounds with visual patterns.
His 1923 aka Heaven (2010) is an award winning psychedelic short which zooms in on a series of complex patterns of moving dots and shapes
Another side of Max is his public performance art. One of his commissioned pieces, X (2012) was projected outdoors onto a curtain of fine mist. www.maxhattler.com/x/ There are also audiovisual performances he creates for concert situations at www.maxhattler.com/live/. Have a wonderful time discovering the many facets of Max's art.
Max says, "I am interested in the space between abstraction and figuration, where storytelling is freed from the constraints of traditional narrative. My work contemplates microcosms, moments, atmospheres: Close-ups as reflections on the big picture. While my films tend to be without dialogue, they explore the relationship between sound, music and the moving image."
Max Hattler’s Website: http://www.maxhattler.com
Max Hattler's video catalog on Vimeo: vimeo.com/maxhattler/reax
Andrew Jones, a.k.a. Android Jones, is a Bay Area visual artist working in the fields of concept art for movies (George Lucas’ ILM), video-games (Nintendo), illustration, fashion design, body painting, and digital performances. His images are complex 2D visionary surreal works of art that you might expect to find in an art gallery or reproduced in art books.
Andrew is not really an animator, but he has worked with others who have used computers to turn his art into wonderful trips into unknown worlds. The film Lion Heart is a magical journey that combines footage of his art, shot with zooms, pans and tilts, with other footage and CG effects. The results are a beautiful breathtaking journey where you float into the unknown.
Another unusual use of his art was the company Obscura Digital projected his painting “Digital Geisha” on the exterior of the Sydney Opera House in 2011. It was part of their architectural mapping projection that accompanied a YouTube Symphony Orchestra concert. Photos of that motion graphics moment have become iconic images of this new kind of spectacular art form.
Andrew Jones’ Website: www.androidjones.com
PESPES, a New York stop-motion animator with a whimsical sense of humor, became an overnight sensation with Roof Sex (2002), his first film. It stars two upholstered chairs making love on a New York roof. It has been in over a hundred film festivals, has won several awards and it has been viewed about two million times on YouTube. It can be found on lots of other websites including his website listed below.
Since 2002 PES has created a good number of less risqué shorts and TV commercials that include humorous, ironic twists. In his Fireplace the burning logs turn out to be pretzel sticks and the animated flames that rise and fall are actually pieces of candy corn cut to different lengths. In Western Spaghetti all the ingredients are found objects including Pick Up Sticks for the uncooked pasta and bubble wrap that is manipulated to suggest the boiling water.
PES’ creative plots/ideas derive from being an English literature major in college and from his discovering the films of Jan Svankmajer. PES is currently living in the Los Angeles area where he is developing a feature based on the Garbage Pail Kids.
PES’ Website: www.eatpes.com.
Ben Ridgway’s program was a wonderful exploration of new possibilities of what animation can be. Each artist presents unique experiences, suggesting animation is capable of creating endless kinds of artistic encounters. Perhaps there are no limits to what our minds can create.
The program suggests there is a growing new aesthetic movement in animation
When I asked Ben if he would enjoy introducing his work to ASIFA-SF members and SF State University students he suggested that we also show the work of four animators he admired who use a combination of old and new technology to create both commercial and personal work.
After seeing the program I realized that Ben’s selection showcased what I believe is a trend in animation that I find to be highly inventive and fascinating. They are creating imaginary worlds where their abstract forms seem to exist and go about “life” normally, although that life may not be one we recognize from the world we live in. It also appears a great deal of intellectual thought goes into creating them. It seems to be a post-industrial surreal or constructivist world. While I suspect the artists are influenced to some degree by Jan Svankmajer, their new visionary worlds are more peaceful.
I sent my comments to Ben and he replied, “This is a trend in animation that can be traced back to a variety of artists. Oskar Fischinger, Len Lye, Norman McLaren and John Whitney are just a few key players in the development of the movement we have today in modern experimental animation. Max Hattler, and Zeitguised work mostly with abstraction and surrealism. Andrew Jones is part of the visionary art movement - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visionary_art. PES is definitely a surrealist at heart and early surrealists like Jan Svankmajer definitely had a significant influence on his development as an artist.”
I hope you enjoy discovering work by the artists discussed. It appears their successes at festivals and in the commercial world will encourage them to continue to explore new possibilities of what animation can be.
Karl Cohen is president of ASIFA-SF and teaches animation history at SF State University. He is the author of Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators, as well as hundreds of articles about animation, many published by AWN.