Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Papy 3D Productions

I am foaming at the mouth (and it isn't because of the 'medication') to tell you about this new production house...Papy 3D Productions. It is made up by the superteam of indie animators Richard and Sarah Van den Boom, Franck Dion, Gilles Cuvelier, Suki and Jean-Michel Collet. We lit up the work of Sarah and Franck on the Big-headed Carnival sign...here and here. Suki has a very nice site showing his circus act @ Sukiland. As for Gilles Cuvelier, I have been wanting to review his shorfilm Chahut (Uproar). It is a short film that doesn't push any boundaries but is simply a beautiful 2D piece offered up with urgency, anticipation, 'empty spaces' and the (sur)real carnival that is life. Take a peek through the hole in the fence.
So, this production company is a promising venture that puts the director in the creative role as producer and animator. Their up-coming productions look interesting and I for one can't wait to see them!
(via Fous d'anim) which is an animation collective where apparently they all met through.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Max Hattler

Well since we are on the experimental animation stuff, let's turn the flickering lamp on Max Hattler. This guy is making the rounds these days with his short film Nachtmaschine and his R.C.A. grad film that has been grabbing attention, Collision. You can download Max's films from his site. I also found this nice link while looking up his stuff from the Dotmov festival 2005. Here you can see not only Collision but some more cool experimental stuff that will get the brain fluid brewin'. I haven't had a chance to view them all but I do like Fu Pok Yan's, Echopraxia and Machine Molle's, Electronic Performers (which we attached the electrodes to here). If you follow the threads you can find all sorts of good stuff attached to Max. He worked on Free Jimmy which Amid @ Cartoon Brew writes a good review of here.
Imaginatio does a nice job of summerizing his work:
"As a filmmaker, Max is interested in the space between abstraction and figuration, where storytelling is freed from the constraints of traditional narrative. His work contemplates atmospheres, moments, microcosms : Close-ups as reflections on the big picture. While his films tend to be without dialogue, they seek to explore the relationship between sound, music and image."
Now I must go and you should go on a head on _______ with Max Hattler's work!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Crash and Burn

I am just recovering from the aftermath of MEDIA CITY 12! What a great festival it was and congrats to all the people involved. A special acclamation of devote insanity goes to Oona Mosna for putting this heavy, cerebral, challenging, thought provoking and visual orgy of a lap dance in the backyard of this backwater town! Although she won't see this as she has better taste than to read this schlock! Unfortunately, my computer went belly up on friday night and I have to get it up and running when I stop feeling like shit. Anyway, the winners are--
Third Place: Bouquet 28-30 (Rose Lowder, France)
Second Place: Close Quarters (Jim Jennings, USA)
First Place: Nethergate (Bruce 'the smuggler' McClure, USA)
So there ya have it. Now that you've seen the real deal you can go to Images Festival in Toronto. Actually, they are showing the Brothers Quay, Piano Tuner of Earthquakes on March 15th! Go and see!!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Naoyuki Tsuji

I first saw the work of Naoyuki Tsuji a couple of years ago at Media City 10. The work was called a Feather Stare at the Dark and was a beautiful creation myth of the world. Tsuji uses the charcoal animation technique to depict the surreal transformations of people and objects as the drawings smudge the paper leaving a motion trail behind. This same technique is used in Naoyuki's newest film Trilogy about Clouds. Beautiful faces of women appear in the clouds as they form and cascade across the screen. In this three part vignette clouds are malevolent in nature as they consume the children of cities and towns or benevolent as it brings life with the creation of water. Naoyuki's style is unlike the typical anime style that one associates with Japan. Rather he employs animation as an extension of his artistic vision and lets his imagination flow intuitively with the 'straight forward' animation. The lasting impression is as effective as the faint marks of charcoal left on the page. You can find his film Feather Stare at the Dark on the Thinking and Drawing: Japanese Art Animation of the New Millenium.(via Anipages)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Peter Tscherkassky

Media City opened with a BANG! Literally. Peter Tscherkassky's, Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine (2005) slices up the optical sensory function and illuminates it like some celluloid m.r.i. machine displaying scenes of a cinematic autopsy. This film grabs you immediately with an over-exposed shot of a window opening up to reveal an old man with a telescope who scans the disparate landscape like a search light in the dark. Stark images of gunfighters emerge as we the viewer,the voyeur, are a witness (or abettor?) to the violent acts that unravel before us. Tscherkassky uses Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as the source material as he meticulously adds layer upon layer of other footage onto it. Ingeniously, the layers distill the film down into it's primal form of violence and exposes the very nature of cinema itself. The layers shift--sprocket holes spasm at the side and text appears and disappears making the film medium always present to the viewer. The sound (which is awesome!) drives the images and the viewers to be a participant in the downward spiral of the hero. It is ultimately the Medium itself that is creator and destroyer of as we the witness stand along side with knife in hand. "Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine is an attempt to transform a Roman Western into a Greek tragedy." Tscherkassky explains. Enough of my crap...I found a better review here...(via cinema. Et Cetera).
Peter Tscherkassky is a founding member of Sixpack Films, which is a promoter and distributor of Austrian films. One of those film makers that we are familiar with over here is Virgil Widrich. Watch his short films Copy Shop and Fast Film which made a big splash on the festival circuit. Other film makers of note are Arash T. Riahi whose film Mississippi has won some festival awards, Barbara Doser whose film Even Odd Even screened at last years OIAF and Tina Frank's Chronomops which you can see at Media City this Friday (International Program 4). Twitch.

Media City 12

Just a quick post today about the start of MEDIA CITY 12: international festival of experimental film and video art. It kicked off yesterday with a performance by Yasanao Tone and continues until Sunday. The International competition 1 & 2 was tonight with an after-party event with the most excellent Frank Pahl. Check out the full schedule here. If you find yourself in the Windsor-Detroit area, I encourage you to come out to the screenings and the events to see why this lil' festival is so highly respected internationally as one of the foremost festivals of its kind!! I will start posting about the films and their creators tomorrow.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Dylan Horrocks

Here is a newest craze from down under...Dylan Horrocks! Well, actually he isn't new, he is an old hand on the small press comix scene. I remember picking up his comic Pickle about 10 years ago when I was still treading in the indie ocean. Now I am enjoying his new series Atlas that he doing for that recent nominee for the Shuster award for best Canadian publisher, Drawn and Quarterly! Also, the Comics Reporter has just posted an audio interview with Dylan that you can listen to here. The art and story of Atlas sees Dylan's experience really come into his own. Beautiful artwork is the first thing you notice but behind that foreground lies a mature story with nice atmospheric shots and good pacing. My only complaint is that I would like to see more per issue. Although, the secondary story, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, is good and really shows off his artistic talent. It is great to see Dylan's personal projects again after his time at DC.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday Inspiration: Nam June Paik

Well, this weeks installment is in remembrance of the 'Father of Video Art'...Nam June Paik (1932-2006). Here is a short bio of his artistic career from his Guggenheim retrospective back in 2000. Paik is a progenitor of new media and was a constant figure in the world of avant-gard music. Art and technology was a permeable surface in which he blurred and mixed into a new hybrid medium. He explored this new found form to question our accepted notions of television and it's influence on this 'information superhighway' of pop culture.
I meant Geoffrey Hendricks on Saturday (who has an exhibition at the AGW). He is a fellow Fluxus artist and a nice guy who put up with my naivete. He remarked on just how much of an impact that Paik has had on video artists from Bill Viola to the recent grad coming out of school. Nam June Paik was doing that stuff 30 years ago!! Obviously, there are most of us that are atoms that need the stimulous of other atoms to move and get inspired but then there are people like Nam June Paik that out of sheer will power agitate and vibrate on there own...and in his case, point the videocam and press record.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Carlitopolis by Luis Nieto

Today's post is the funniest short I have seen in awhile!! Carlitopolis by Luis Nieto is an unassuming little short when it starts out with a banal presentation but quickly turns into a hilarious f/x experiment on poor Carlito.
In the end you'll be skritchin' that big bean of yers asking what was real and what wasn't. The best thing is, you can see it HERE in it's entirety as it is his grad film at ENSAD. Also, Luis has the best website! Check this out and laugh out loud all weekend long. It isn't everyday that we here get to fill our mandate of experimentation on small mammals.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Johnnie Walker-Painting

I know this is old news but it was a Johnnie Walker kind of day today. Take a looksy at this nice ad, 'Painting' , created by Aardman. First, have another shot and then plunge into the paintings of Delacroix, Hokusai, Seurat, Miro and Magritte. There is a beautiful mix of styles that segway into each painting as our strong-kneed hero makes his way through each work of art to arrive at the door of 'blissful' inebriation. I always wondered where that door in Magritte's paintings went to. View responsibly.
(via 'boards)

Shary Boyle

I love Shary Bolye...'s work! From her sexually charged drawings in Kramer's Ergot to her porcelain sculptures that have made the shortlist for the esteemed Sobey Award. Her work encompasses themes of innocence lost, gender and sexual empowerment. Shary also does live drawing performances as you can see a sample of on her site. Lately, I see she is part of the Drawing Restraint exhibit at SAW gallery openning at the end of the month.
Seek out her book Witness My Shame (Conundrum Press) and take note of this talented artist on the rise in both the comic scene and the art world.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Yasunao Tone

On this day of punctured wallets by the arrow of Cupid Inc., I pull out a heart that beats to a different rhythm...Yasunao Tone. This pioneer of avant-garde music based performance will be the grand opener of MEDIACITY 12 next Tuesday, Feb. 21st at the Detroit Film Theater. He will be performing PARAMEDIA CENTRIPETAL, which is sound that is driven from the movement of Chinese calligraphy. Yasunao's career spans decades and has performed all over the world many times over. He is still at the cutting edge of sound manipulation and challenges the status quo with distortion, digital feedback and sonic corruption. His most recent release is Palimpsest , a collaboration with Florian Hecker. So, instead of consumer love, try manufacturing dissent to the disruptive sounds of Yasunao Tone. GO SEE HIM LIVE and in the flesh and check out the rest of Mediacity's scheduled events HERE!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Michel Ocelot

Well here is another feature that we put under the microscope to view the cultural growth on the other side of the petri dish, i.e. France. Michel Ocelot's new feature film Azur and Asmar which is close on the heels of his last feature Kirikou And The Wild Beasts. It is a nice segway from Lotte Reininger to Michel Ocelot as his Princes and Princesses (2000) is a beautiful ode to Lotte's silhouette technique of Prince Achmed (1926). Ocelot is another director that is defining and refining his skill and visual language that we rarely get to see over here. Original stories combined with a dynamic graphic style that holds it's own against the onslaught of Hollywood films. Sadly, this distinctive voice falls on distributions deaf ears. Although, Azur and Asmar is set in medieval times it's cultural relevance could not have come at more of an apt time. Ocelot is a major player in today's animation arena and hopefully we will be able to see more of his stuff on this side of the bacterial pond.

Lotte Reininger

I have been meaning to put this up for the last week...Art on Paper has a nice article on Lotte Reininger. It just goes to show how her designs transcends the passage of time to be just as contemporary in feel as they were back then. Go here for a short bio of her career.

Dan Clowes

Roight then! Here is another underground comic making it to the big screen, Dan Clowes's, Art School Confidential. The second movie of Clowes that is again directed by Terry Zwigoff, who did Ghost World. This movie is based on a 4 page comic Dan did in his infamous EIGHTBALL comic. If you have never read any of his stuff then you are missing out on one of comix royal ambassadors. Ice Haven is his latest graphic novel that shows Dan has still got the touch of pushing the medium within the confines of it's cartoony past. So, go watch the trailer but more importantly pick up one of his comics! Clowes, Seth, Chris Ware and Charles Burnes and many others should be tattooed onto the long arm for all to see.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A quick hit from the Fabulous Dave Borthwick

Well here is a peek at the upcoming film adaptation of Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers!!! That's right, it is a stop-motion body buzz from the master of pixillation, Bolex brother...Dave Borthwick. You should know the Bolex Brothers cult film The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb and the even better Saint Inspector short film. Here is a synopsis of the film's storyline from the boys at AICN! Hopefully, this film will leave you with the munchies and effectively erase the memory of the other film Dave is doing this year. Also, word has it that Shelton is involved directly with the film. For a good overview of the FFFB check out the Wiki. Smokin'!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sylvain Chomet

The winter blahs have set in and my sleep pattern is stuck in hibernation mode. So hopefully this makes up for the lack of posts this week. I found this excellent commercial of Today (a commercial for Winterthur insurance), via 'boards, done by none other than the King of caricature...Sylvain Chomet!!! He is the director of the multi-award winning film Triplets of Belleville. His upcoming film is the Illusionist and is based on a script from the late great Jaques Tati. It is another 'wordless' film that is set in Scotland and is about an aging magician (which will be an animated version of Tati) who cannot break the mystique of his craft to a befriended little girl. Here is some screenshots from Atomic Bear Press.
Wouldn't this have been a great thing to attend!!!! Aargh!! If anyone has any more info on what Chomet is up to these days...press the electric zapper on the HB hotline to start the salivation.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Jesse LaDoux

Here is a change of pace...I was hanging out the local book store and came across the work of Jesse LeDoux in the latest Beautiful/Decay magazine. I just like his fun expressive characters and his use of text in his designs for such bands as the Shins, Blonde Redhead and Pedro the Lion. Here is an interview with him. Too bad there isn't more of his own personal work on the site. Nevertheless, a drive to Ledouxville is a nice treat on this midweek slide.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Joji Koyama a.k.a. Woof Wan-Bau

The MESH scheme that is funded by Channel 4 in the U.K. has promoted so many up and coming animators. We already exposed the comix inspired short, Invasion by Matt Abbiss...now enter the world of Joji Koyama (a.k.a. Woof Wan-Bau). You can watch his Watermelon Love in the Year 4 section of the Mesh site. This short won the British Animation Award for best video in 2004 and has catapulted him to be one of the 'fly' boys in music videos today. Subsequently, he has done the video for Duke the Spirit's, Cuts across the Land. Also, Ikara Colt's 'Wanna be that Way' and my favorite, 'My Angel Rocks Back and Forth' for Four Tet can be seen here. He uses felt to bring his newest one alive for Cold Cut's 'Whistle and a Prayer' which is being shown at Resfest. Like Shynola, Joji is not afraid to try out various techniques and infuses each one with a look and feel all his own. I also noticed that he is being commissioned from the ANIMATE! scheme on a short called 'From Nose to Mouth'...can't wait to see it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sunday Inspiration: Jennifer Angus

Finally, another installment of Sunday Inspiration...which has been on hiatus the last couple of weeks while I recharged the stained glass spotlight for this moving sermon. A kaleidoscope of intricate pattern quickly turns into a surreal version of Darwin's, Origin of Species, in JENNIFER ANGUS's work. A TERRIBLE BEAUTY is her current travelling exhibit that is now showing at the Textile Museum in Toronto. When I first saw her work at Artcite, I was taken in by the delicate and complex wallpaper patterning that totally consumed the gallery walls. But as I entered into the space I found myself in some Victorian collection with literally thousands of exotic insects pinned to the walls awaiting scientific classification. The impact is truly amazing as you marvel like some early entomologist discovering unseen species from the New World. This work reminds me of Paul Bush's, When Darwin Sleeps, in which he uses stop-frame animation to brings insects to life. In Jennifer's work, with the insects displayed in various positions, one can image the complex patterns coming alive as you blink rapidly like in some thaumatropic seizure to create the illusion of movement. The antenae twitch and the tranluscent wings flutter as you are taken through the looking glass into a world of forgotten wonder and undiscovered lands.
One has to look beyond the conventionalities of their field to incorporate themes and ideas into their work. I see too many students today copying gags and stories of cartoons past instead of building upon them. It is hard when the industry wants cookie cutter artists that can mimic other peoples styles. But the seeds of creativity germinates in the ability to learn and sythesize ideas into your own distintive style. I know it sounds like alot of bullshit but fuckity fuck fuck you gotta stick your head outside sometime because art can't be made in a test tube. Although I am sure there is some corporation working on it!! Inspiration in one easy to swallow pill:)

Friday, February 03, 2006


This is rare that I post about anime (probably the first time) but it is even more rare for an acclaimed japanese director to be dodging bullets in my neck of the woods. SHINICHIRO WATANABE will be at the Detroit Film Theater on Febuary 8th to talk about his career and the anime scene today! He is the acclaimed director of the Cowboy Beebop series, the Animatrix and most recently Samurai Champloo. Go as the fires are put out and the puke cleaned up after the Superbowl leaves town and resume life like you just woke up from a terrible dream. I am sure it will be worth the 'cavity' search at customs:)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Chansoo Kim

I was really impressed by the student films that I saw on the festival circuit last year. One such film is Vaudeville, by Chansoo Kim. He is just finishing up his MFA at the Univervity of Southern California. When I watched this film I immediate thought of Igor Kovalyov's Milch that I had just seen. With the similarity of the look of the films being one of glowing edged haziness at times coupled with its veiled symbolism. Vaudeville is a visual meditation on cultural displacement and finding one's state of being against the backdrop of early Americana. This dystopia is represented by the slap stick gags of the Vaudeville era that is the racism (slamming of the door in guy's face) and loss that the wandering Korean couple endure. He uses the visual gags to sharply punctuate and contrast the immigrants' state of flux hovering above the cultural divide as the young child swings between the two worlds. At least that is my take on this film. Also, at the end in the credits, Igor Kovalyov was Chansoo's advisor! And although it lacks deeper emotional impact that Igor's film it is a step in the right direction. And who knows that could just be cultural difference itself. You can read and see a short clip of Chansoo's other festival favorite Woman in the Attic via AWN. Now, hopefully Chansoo can solidify his independence and work on the fringe of animation industry instead of being swallowed by the monster.

Paul Pope

Well here is a quick mention about the 'Jim Morrison of comics'...Paul Pope! He is about to go mainstream with Batman: Year 100. Also, there is going to be a book of his artwork published in June of this year called Pulphope: the Art of Paul Pope. His brushwork is controlled serpentine agitation that bites the page with liquid venom. I have admired his work ever since I picked up Escapo years ago and was drawn into his work 100%! Take a look at another independent that is leading the leviathan of mainstream into fresh water. It's the drug of the future.