A summary of the last few months of projects at ECA:
TEN FILMS, TEN DAYS
I managed eight films out of ten for this project, but each one was made more or less within the 24 hour space. I began with a narrative idea that would link each of the films, but that faded away at film four, and I was happy to then follow my intuition from then on.
Film 01 – Sorrow
I was trying to exhibit a visual metaphor for neverending sorrow or despair, like a vicious cycle that someone cannot escape from. As she moves her hands away from her face, there are other pairs of hands there. With this metaphor, it is the endless sorrow that may be self-imposed; she is keeping herself veiled from the outer world without realising that there is a world beyond the veils of her own life-story. Something like that.
Alice posed as a reference for me.
Film 02 – Veil of Thoughts
Following the idea, I set to make a follow-on film that would look at how the repetitive thought process can keep us imprisoned and burdened. Using a vibrant mix of old photographs I had saved to my computer, I layered sequences of them together then blended them with the hand-drawn animation of a face.
Film 03 – Veil of Thoughts, Part 2
Next, I wanted the character to experience the state of having broken free from the thought process, and of having left the chaos and turmoil of the burdened mind (though when stepped away from it, there is something beautiful and serene about it). Having studied several forms of meditation in the past two years, I was eager to explore this feeling visually.
This crazy floating bamboozlement was made with several layers of spinning scribbly drawings using After Effects, where the background of each had been removed, leaving only the line.
I then drew this boil for the character, based on my own image, who was looking at the floating thing with curiosity, but no longer burdened by it. In the end, I decided to get rid of the arm and display only the face.
Film 04 – Ocean
I wanted to create an animation for a poem I had written, about leaving and discovering different places in the world but always remaining centered in your own ‘personal place’, the interior being where all life experience is processed. So I used some old photos taken at a railway station and put them in sequence, then experimented with their pattern using After Effects. The railway station as a symbol of the departing traveller, focused on various destinations, but often not entirely present to the railway station itself. I enjoy wandering around these places, and find railway stations or similar buildings wonderful places to visit and draw people.
I chose to have the image become frantic and more complex with multiple layers and mirrorings; as we see though, we fade out to an all-pervading blankness, out of which the station environment has come into existence. It is an exploration of the basis of reality, the blank paper, the unmarked page, the emptiness, which could at the same time symbolise the place from which you never actually leave, but from where you arrive at all places.
Film 05 – Kookaburra’s Art Talk
A fun film I made with Scott, after a conversation with a penguin, a puffin and a kookaburra, who were all keen to try some acting.
Film 06 – Elemental
I was looking to make a film with some footage I had taken from the weekend, of water, fire and clouds. Experimenting with After Effects again, I brought several different layers of the same video, masking them so they linked with each other, then altered the speed of each, so that from left to right of the screen, the video would play at a faster speed.
Film 07 – Words
Another fun experiment, video recording some people saying a word of their choice, then trying to make a story, or an interesting sentence from those words. I had to cheat and use the statue’s head for some fillers; mostly people gave nouns.
Film 08 – Candles
Created on the last day of the project after feeling burnt out, I lit some candles and went a little crazy.
All of the soundscapes used in the films were created using some audio recordings I already had, such as the sound of waves, and the musical pieces all stemmed from variations of the same piece I created for the first film, Sorrow, a combination of sounds slowed down, such as my own humming, a singing bowl, and some background noise edited digitally.
After the 10 films project, I made some paintings to exhibit in two shows, one an exhibition called Creativity Takes Courage, hosted in Dundas Street Gallery, and the other the Student Arts Festival, where I exhibited three paintings at Assembly Roxy.
After the paintings, I focused intensely on making films for the planned exhibition at Whitespace gallery at the end of February.
As well as the Elemental film, made in January, I set to finish three short films for the show.
One would be the film developed from three of the 10 films which comprised A Veil of Thoughts. With re-editing and re-adjusting certain parts of those films, such as the character examing the floating sphere, and the lighting in the characters eyes as she pulls away, I merged these three short experiments with some new animation, including background river environment, hands held outstrecthed, and a hand-drawn animation examining what is perceived by the eye of someone unburdened by thought.
The final video features the same experimental music used in the 10 films project, and also an ending piece by Kevin Macleod, used with permission from his website incompetech.com.
My second film, Dispersion, is developed from the experiments made last semester. Instead, I decided on just one video instead of many, and used After Effects to create and mask many versions of this one video, which increase and gradually distort the original video.
The third project is a short film based on my work from last semester for an illustrated story which could become an animated film, possibly. For this I took old illustrations and created new ones:
And merged old illustrations with new photographic experiments, such as:
to create a short film, with the help of Scott narrating a poem based on some of my written parts for this project, and providing a guitar piece. The finished film:
This was definitely an experiment, as I was unsure I wanted to transform the illustrated work I had going into the animated world. I used After Effects to create the subtlety of movement, and slow pans and zooms to give the feeling of nostalgia, serenity and delicacy. In the end, I’m delighted by this new step, and hope to create more animated experiments as I progress with the still image work for this project.
In January, after the Ten Films, I also helped Andrew Singer, whom I helped last year to make a campaign video and to organise a Summerhall show during the Fringe festival. This time, I merely added some parts to a video he already had, in which a man talks about Trafika Europe’s radio project. I added superimposed words to the video and created the map we see at the beginning.
After the third year exhibition, we decided to use the animation A Veil of Thoughts to form a video for the next journal, ‘Latvian Sojourn’, using a choral song dedicated to one of Latvia’s poets, Imants Ziedonis. The song seemed to fit so perfectly with the flow of the video, with only minor tweaking. I added the text ontop of the video, then finished with the entire poem and it’s translation. Here it can be seen.
ANIJAM IN GLASGOW
In March, I went with friends Scott and Nica to Glasgow to take part in the AniJam, a competition to make an animation in 48 hours.
We decided to make a film about a creature hunting a desolate landscape for his memories. It was a wonderful weekend, making that film, though tiring and slightly disconcerting. While Nica and Scott concentrated more on the animated character, I drew the backgrounds and experimented with photos and videos taken in the city, finishing with a desert-like, rocky world where the sky is a swirling ocean.
A spontaneous project that Scott and I suddenly immersed ourselves in (mostly to distract ourselves from writing an essay). I found a splendid stack or cardboard boxes and brought them into the studio. After a few days, they were taped together and slowly looking vaguely inhabitable.
In a week and a bit, it looked like this:
All we had was an idea of a stack of houses, and ideas emerged as we made it about who would live in each house. When it came to animating it, we only had a vague idea of what to do, and we followed an intuition as we animated it in the dark room. Our technique was unsure though, and we restarted the animation four times before we got the movement we aimed for, a smooth pan up, and a slow turning around the houses.
We will continue on this project in the next few months, by adding characters into the greenscreen windows, and animating people walking up to the top of the house.
MINDINSOMA LOGO DESIGN
A dear friend asked me to design her a logo to help her promote her Shaitsu Therapy practice. We discussed imagery relating to natural patterns, flowing lines relating to veins and rivers and roots, and the yin-yang symbol. Some first designs:
After wondering about the simplicity needed for a logo, we decided to go with a simple one-brushstroke circle in the style of the Japanese enso symbol, which expresses fullness in emptiness, as an expression of the free mind, representing integrity, wholeness and freedom of spirit.
Some colour tests
CD COVER DESIGN
Another friend asked for some album cover artwork for a band he is involved with. After listening to four songs he sent to me, inspired by the metal genre, I painted some designs that I felt suited aspects of the songs.
After having chosen the square design, I added some photographic elements to it as so:
And then scaled the design to the square shape for a CD cover, offering several different compositions.
ALCHEMY FILM FESTIVAL
Since September I have been helping at Hawick to develop a film installation, which was eventually shown at the Alchemy Film Festival in April. As shown here, I created some animated parts for the film last semester, then this year was mainly helping with editing, filming portraits of people, and then volunteering at the festival.
Three of the 24 portraits I filmed, of individual people standing still for 5 minutes.
And here is the result in the installation
Here is the animation playing on the screen in the installation.
Here is a door where I stood guard, protecting the film installation of By Our Selves, by a filmmaker named Andrew Kotting.
Here are some ducklings I found cruising the river in Hawick.
In January, a film and TV masters student asked me to help with some animated sequences in her film, when they come to shoot in April. And so, in April, Ben and I went to animate frightened sofas and nervous shoes in an abandoned building.
ROY’S IRON DNA – MUSIC VIDEO