I had a birthday recently, so (of course) I’ve been mulling over my disintegrating body and impending doom. Light stuff! OK, so I’m not that old, but still. I watched Wreck-It Ralph recently and between bursts of nostalgia, overwhelming ennui and being strangely attracted to Zangief, I wondered how my dear old arcade friends might be holding up these days. I assume, like most of us, they will never ever get to retire, so here I’ve imagined them in another 40-50 years: still plugging away, still at the mercy of the coin slot, still running relentlessly around their spritely domain, and a wee bit worse for wear.
I had the privilege of helping out my friends Kevin Freeman and Aszure Barton while they were filming scenes for a video that would be projected during the performance, a work that she had been commissioned to create for Baryshnikov, “Hells Kitchen Dance”, to premiere at his Arts Center in 2006. In between the setups I asked if it was okay to photograph the process. Some of the photos wound up being used for promotional material as well as being featured in the New York Times for an article. Caught some wonderful moments, and posting a few more than have been seen before.
There’s some great stories from those days of shooting, hope to share them at some point!
These were a series of shorts I created for MTV’s 10-Spot Drop several years ago at Transistor Studios. We would quickly throw together a rough pitch with storyboards that we could animate in a day or two. Any idea was game, as long as it was clever and could be quickly executed. We submitted upwards of 20 pitches at once and then MTV would let us know which were chosen and for what musicians and tracks. It was great for me creatively because I got to be as weird as I wanted, use my particular illustration/design sensibility, plus I got to use Anime Studio Pro, one of my favorite 2D character animation programs, along with Cinema4D for 3D elements and After Effects for compositing. Even now, years later, I still love these and wish more studios would give their animators this kind of freedom. Unfortunately all these went away after some internal upheaval at MTV.
When I was in San Francisco I had a little woodshop in the garage and a seemingly endless supply of salvaged wood thanks to the constant restoration work going on with the Victorians in the area. Over the years I had become particularly fascinated with The Musée Mécanique, a collection of antique penny arcade machines and automata from the turn of the century. I began constructing my own crude boxes using found materials, puppets constructed from foam and latex and some advice from this excellent book. The boxes made their debut at two gallery openings, and many actually sold. Hopefully they are all still working…I…hope.
This couple who had heard about my boxes stopped by my apartment to possibly buy one. They said they wanted it for their kid’s room! I replied, “I don’t think these would be very appropriate.” They took one look, cringed and left. Surprise.
While I haven’t had the time to do much in the woodshop (which now languishes in my basement) I have been hashing out ideas for possible future ones.
A blast from my past courtesy of my friend Jules. Not bad for a sketch we threw together at the 11th hour when our barbershop quartet didn’t quite gel.
This is the short I did for the Electric Projected event that was held in Beacon, NY on October 1, 2011. The animations were projected onto a massive abandoned electric blanket factory in downtown Beacon, with each filmmaker drawing their inspiration from a chosen mural that occupies each window. Each animation began and ended with its respective origin window, as we were given a template of the building from which to construct the animation in relation to the architecture.
I chose the mural “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Cern and Elia Gurna, who created the work onsite at the 2010 Electric Windows Event. I was drawn to the creepy characters and texture of the mural, as well as to the fatalistic, anti-war narrative of the original song by Pete Seeger. Plus I just loved getting to animate these critters and create a backstory for them.
I gave myself a week to work on the story and animation, plus a couple weekends when I could manage. While the event itself was accompanied by a live DJ, I had worked on the edit based on my friend Rob Hart’s song “Leaving the Plains”, which is in this final mix. Animated with Cinema 4D, Anime Studio Pro and After Effects. Hope you enjoy.
Thanks to Cary Janks and Daniel Weise for creating and organizing this event and Nicole Ashey for making the connection.
These are the untold stories of hapless Americans who have their lives irreparably inconvenienced. Of course, once I found “White Whine” I quickly abandoned this series.
Please stop the excessive body grooming, men. It’s nasty.
You see a lot of these signs scattered throughout New York City, and you can almost always cound on them being:
- Hideously typeset, using the worst fonts ever to be preinstalled.
- Weathered and falling apart, adding ennui to what was once a lighthearted walk.
- A visual blight that overpowers any helpful message it intended to make.
So please, stop the dog-poop-sign madness.