Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata of Tiny Inventions came to speak to us at UArts yesterday. They had a receptive audience and charmed us with their work and understated presence. Like John, Paul, George, and Ringo, I think they were lucky to find each other and combine companionship and creative passion.
I asked them what they thought their work might be like had they not met one another. Max said he met Ru at a point when he was a bit burnt out working on uncreative tasks and was not sure what lay ahead for him, art-wise. Ru rekindled his interest in animation, I guess because of the prospect of working with someone also keen on creating original work. Ru said that she feels Max brings a pursuit of high production standards that she, while being a great organizer and one to get things started quickly, might not have aimed for herself. In any case, it was great to see two people able to work together on things they are passionate about, yeah?
Tim Rauch of Rauch Brothers Animation stopped by to check out his friends' Max and Ru's presentation and participated in the Q and A at the end. Tim and his brother Mike have been very successful animating Story Corps shorts, and Tim also taught a class at UArts a couple of years back.
All in all, a great visit and a great chance to meet and talk with animators who are doing it their way, carving a path through the world as independent artists.
a few other notes from Max and Ru's presentation:
• Philadelphia seems to have a lot more people walking around outside than Baltimore
• almost none of those people walking around in Baltimore are animators (the same holds true for Philadelphia, actually)
• Max and Ru get a lot of their material from observing people (an activity many animators are drawn to, quite naturally)
• Ru's blog comics are a good place to find tidbits on intercultural differences (Dutch, Japanese, and American) - I find this particularly interesting
• teaching takes up more time than one might at first think (3 days of classes per work ≠ 2 days off from work - things like lesson planning, committee meetings, advising, school events, and other have a way of filling up "empty" non-classroom hours). It's not a job one clocks into or out of. It's more a lifestyle.
• this may or may not lead to a lot of television watching as a way to decompress at the end of the day
• working with a composer can reverse the usual process of filmmaking: sounds can influence the visuals that one decides to use in a particular shot; one doesn't always find the most creative solution simply by thinking of sound as something "added later."
• the tension between tactile and digital art informs the work of contemporary artists who try to balance love of the real world, with all its objects, against the convenience and possibilities presented by the digital world.