Monday, 31 October 2011

Flip 2011

Flip animation festival ran again this year, continuing to defy the odds against a small regional festival celebrating a squeezed and marginalised art form managing to continue in such an unwelcoming economic climate. The festival has undergone a change of management and a decrease in funding but was is still full of life, debate, engagement and above all enthusiasm for animation as a robust form. Not that there weren't some dreadful films screened, but that's all part of it, isn't it? I think that the really rotten ones give us all hope.

Amongst the amazingly good films were The Skeleton Woman, directed in France by Sarah Van Den Boom, a beautifully lyrical and moving film which I just drank in. Also great were Flea and Fly - a wonderfully bittersweet homage to 1920s animation with a fresh take on content, directed by Brazilian Fernando Miller - and Plugs, directed by UK based Tom King, which was a funny exercise in good timing and design.

There was a really helpful session on showreels, with Barry Purves, Michael Nagasaka from Frontier games, Mike Foley and Glenn Holberton from Loose Moose. There was tons of useful advice on putting a reel together, including four brave souls who screened their showreels to be critiqued by the panel. Pleasingly the panel all screened their own reels too and critiqued that too - it was one of the most helpful sessions of that sort that I've been to. 

Another highlight was a session on how to be a good student  by Daniel Waterman & Gary Carse. They were brilliant, very concise and articulate, their message boiled down to "work like a demon and stop complaining" which is what we tell students every week ... Unfortunately it clashed with the Bill Plympton master class which all of my students went to so I made lots of notes to feedback to them afterwards.

Overall I really enjoyed my Flip day - best of all it continued the next day too. 

American Synaesthesia Association conference, University of California San Diego in pictures

ASA organiser and artist Carol Steen at the opening night reception
Opening night reception view - sunset over the pacific!

Me, Wajid Yaseen (University of Middlesex) and VS Ramachandran (University of California San Diego)

VS Ramachandran's brilliant opening talk

Me looking confused by my own paper - easily done
A wonderful wig shop in Dan Diego, visited with my friend Heidi Rhodes
Me in wig - looking spookily like my mum

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Postcards from Europe

Today I went to the Postcards from Europe exhibition at Wem Town Hall in Shropshire.
It was a really interesting collection of postcards sent by emerging artists in Europe to curators Lucy Biddle and Rosie Gainsborough. 

The project is funded by the European Commission's 'Youth in Action' programme and was supported by and Wem Town Hall. NOISEFestival helps young creative people (aged 15-30) starting out on their career paths to develop their skills, access opportunities and enable them to gain income from their creativity. This is very cool, especially at the moment when graduates everywhere are being told what an awful world they're going to be thrown into and arts in general is being pinched, squeezed and denigrated

by Isabel Greenberg

It reminded me of the sketchbook project, it seems like there's a renewed interest in and glamour around tangible objects as opposed to the purely digital which is really nice to see. The works all had an illustration / decorative arts slant which made them look particularly graphic and beautiful when shown together on the sunny walls of the gallery. I liked the way that the envelopes they'd been sent in were also displayed - some of them were just as interesting and lovingly illustrated as the postcards themselves.

Lucy Biddle (l) and Rosie Gainsborough (r)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New studio for graduates

Four of our Wolverhampton graduates from last year have recently set up their own animation company, Sector 5, there's an article about them on the Animation Forum West Midlands here. I'm so proud of what they're doing, they have an excellent skill-set between them and I know that they're already working on several projects. 
I love that on their website on the 'animators' page there's a feed to all their twitter accounts so you can see what's going on for them - they all have some really interesting projects going on as we lead up to the Flip animation festival next week (at which, by the way, Bill Plympton will be speaking!).