Sunday, March 30, 2014

philadelphia independents screening recap.


and so the plastic club screening is over. it was an excellent and convivial evening of animation, with an enthusiastic audience comprised of plastic clubbers, uarts students, and animators, sharing and viewing new work, old work, and work-in-the-making.

the screening opened with juggling wolf's (uarts alum jason chen, marina gvozdeva, and ian foster) artisanal love of materials combined with a hip, contemporary flair, as exemplified by works like "half crazy," "uarts happy holidays," and "next week's adventure," followed by local wunderkind anthony schepperd's psychedelic, morphing music videos ("the music scene," "two against one," and others) that demonstrate a command of perspective and its distortion that allows the artist to convincingly represent a constantly shifting and surreal inner reality.

making a 180-degree turn in terms of drawn animation aesthetic, recent philadelphia transplant ross bollinger's spare cartoon style in "ancient egypt: mythory of the world," along with "the app story" and "x marks the spot" works in seamless tandem with his finely-honed sense of comedic timing and sympathetically frustrated characters.

plastic club members dick meyer and sister alice meyer-wallace's work took on spiritual ("revelations 12/14") and humorous subject material combined with hand-painted graphics that reveal a fine artist's approach to creating moving images and content, while uarts animation professor karl staven, presenting two pieces created during a teaching sabbatical ("a stack of paper" and "katarina and the composer"), explores a visceral and kinetically-charged sense of texture, rhythm and revelry in improvisation, as well as curiosity for experimentation that integrates visual and musical rhythms.

"a walk in the woods," an object animation collaboration between uarts professor and motion heads big head christopher magee (myself) and karl staven, also attempts to breathe conscious life into natural objects, linking visual and aural rhythms and textures, while the short excerpt from "the ogre and the mermaid" a team project from motion heads (with uarts alum janelle smith, local artist ellen marcus, and a flotilla of interns, including natalia caballero of arcadia university and james mcmullen of uarts, both present at the screening), attempts to invisibly marry hand-drawn and computer-assisted techniques in a moody pantomime play about the consequences of hesitation.

former uarts professor and currrent baltimore resident lynn tomlinson made the train trek to the city of animation love to offer us a glimpse of the wide breadth of content and style which she embraces, starting with concise, cleverly-timed, paint-on-glass animation for PBS, continuing with a current project, "the immortal jellyfish," which makes use of live interactive video and projected imagery, and ending with an interactive iPad piece in development that depicts a hoarder crab puppet that the user manipulates to collect objects.

during intermission we enjoyed food and drink generously supplied by plastic club members, introduced ourselves to one another and enjoyed the festive atmosphere. settling back into our seats, the second half of the show opened with plastic club member andy hoffman's pencil test animations from his student days, giving us a sense of the process of how a person starts to understand subtleties of movement design via speed changes and morphing.

plastic club member and uarts alum jody sweitzer's epic "romeo cubed" took on the interpretation of classic material via the medium of metal object animation, rendering abstract and atmospheric the notion of character and narrative.

uarts alum and moore college of art and design professor geoff beatty's philadelphia museum of art holiday card evoked a charming atmosphere with a gentle touch using 2d graphics, while "valentines compilation" combined different combinations of in-computer and object animation to communicate warmth and sincerity of sentiment, and "the picture element," a work-in-progress, made use of object animation and a soundtrack that combines natural and mechanical elements to focus on movement abstraction.

drexel and phila-u professor liz goldberg's "strings" celebrated the life of the doodle to communicate personality and individuality in observed human movement, while "cocktail couture," punctuated with the seductive recitation of the title at specific moments in the piece, employed line and colored imagery in a collage-like combination that treated fashion and style. "the cigar queens of havana," a work-in progress collaboration with uarts and phila-u professor lowell boston, combines hand-drawn illustration and animation with 2D computer graphics that explore the evocative imagery and sounds of a vibrant culture.

also in attendance from the uarts community were alum frank zampino, sam gurry, and matt barnes, as well as current students tracey laguerre, jessica marcus, haley monson, meghan luna, andre reed, and james mcmullen.

thanks once again to all of the participants, artists and audience members alike, for making this first-time event an resounding success. it was a motivating and revealing moment in the life of philadelphia animation, and thanks to the plastic club for sharing their space and enthusiasm with us!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for organizing this event, Chris. It was a fantastic audience, and the quality and diversity of work that was presented proved that Philly has an amazingly vibrant art and animation scene.

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