Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Finding Inspiration (Oscar Animations Review)

still image from Aardman on YouTube

Finally made it to a screening of the Oscar nominated Animated shorts yesterday afternoon, and I can't begin to tell you how inspired I feel. Favorites came from all over the globe: The Kinematograph from Poland for its beautiful colors and textures & the reminder not to let obsessive work and fixation with technology overtake your ability to appreciate real life and family; Runaway from Canada which (I believe) was the only 2D in the program was both beautifully styled and able to be funny and sad at the same time to me. Logorama A depressing French crit on American capitalism overload - rife with cheeky symbolism with the use of...well...symbols...about 3200 of them, in fact. It's a city literally made of corporate logos and foul language. Ronald McDonald as bad guy takes hostage Bob's Big Boy, causes chaos while smashing both the American Cancer society and Weight Watchers logos...before the entire world collapses and we pan out to realize that from afar looking down on Earth, the North American Continent is really just a Nike swoosh. complete chaos, apocalyptic endings, and no doubt a (sadly) common view of our country's downfalls.
The prizewinner of the show, to me wasn't any of these make-you-thinkers. It was a simple cheese loving Brit and his tea drinking dog instead. Wallace And Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death was perhaps the least thematically heavy of any of the nominees, but somehow it hit me hardest and inspired me the most. Here's the simple reason why: (director) Nick Park is one of those rare artists that makes me proud and excited... nay.... GIDDY to live in the same decade as he does. Seriously. I'm sincerely glad that he exists, and makes the work he makes. I love that you can see the hand that made the sets and the characters when you watch his films. There are fingerprints here and there in the clay. There are cleverly placed real-life objects being used for different purposes in the mini worlds on screen. The stories are hilarious and even suggestive at times, but still fit for anyone, any age. They aren't pompous or lecturing. They don't have an agenda other than to laugh, but do so without insulting your intelligence (or lack thereof). The quality I value more than anything in a person is cleverness, and this animator exceeds my expectations every time I watch one of his films. He makes me want to make art for all the right reasons, and makes it seem so achievable ( least until you watch the behind the scenes footage and see the crazy rigging & expensive equipment. Fortunately I think I've married into a hookup in that department, and need only make it to the breakfast table on time to finagle the borrowing of similar equipment).
Anyway, I'm rambling. My point is this: I work for myself, and have been having a terrible time (as I do every year around this time) feeling inspired and motivated. I've been pushing and pushing myself to get working on new designs. new art. Make things. Do it now, in the slow season. But I've gone about it all wrong lately. I've been secluding myself, when really I should be smothering myself with influence. I know some of you must be in the same boat right now. It seems that all of my self-employed friends find this time of year extra challenging. So here is one girl's advice: (how many colons are you allowed to use in one paragraph?) GET OUT OF YOUR OFFICE. Go to the movies. Go to a museum. Just Go.
And then make things and show me, so I can stay as inspired as I felt yesterday at 2pm, in an almost empty theater with a purse full of lemon cookies attempting to procrastinate, but really getting more done than I have in weeks.


maggie said...

awesome! we all need each other for inspiration. i hope you read this post to yourself this time next year. xo

Elie's Papel said...

These animations are out of this world! amazing!