1926 : Remix

If you’re also a fan of silent-era animated cartoons, this news may also make you swoon: “Animated films from 1926 are now available for anyone to post, sample, or remix as they see fit.”

So many different styles and experiments – mixing stop motion, live action, diverse drawing styles…below from Max Fleischer (I believe from “It’s the Cats” but not certain).

“Alice Helps the Romance”, Disney – I love the style of the Alice series

I don’t know Charley Bowers, but I always show my animation students Charlie Chaplin + Buster Keaton, so am definitely going to research and add some to the mix. This screenshot from “Egged On”:

Lots of good inspiration … here’s to a year of more experimenting and animation fun.

Game changer

I’ve been laying low the last months. Staying busy but finding it hard to put down thoughts. My father died suddenly in April – I am grieving, still processing, broken hearted. More on that later. But this one is in honor of my father, a research scientist, a game changer, among many other things.

An ultra-reflective white paint has been developed by engineers at Purdue University.

This white paint is the result of research building on attempts going back to the 1970s to develop radiative cooling paint as a feasible alternative to traditional air conditioners.

By incorporating barium sulphate particles, the paint is 98.1% reflective…Their idea was to create paint to reflect sunlight away from a building.

Such paints are considered to be a potential game-changer for keeping the planet – particularly cities – cooler and reducing electricity use; buildings with a coating of this would need to rely far less on energy-hungry air conditioning.


Here’s to the game changers – thank you for thinking differently, for pushing things forward.

International Women’s Day

The wonderful Anna Mantzaris worked with Saatchi + Saatchi / Global Women’s New Zealand to animate this hilarious take on a woman in the workplace and career-limiting moves.

Watch the short here.

The punch line? (spoiler alert) … nothing is as career-limiting as becoming a mother.

Sexism, like racism, still exists and thrives – especially regarding salaries and opportunities. In a Creative Review article, Manztaris discusses some of the issues she has seen in the animation and commercial space:

As directors, women often get lower budget projects and with the higher budget projects it’s like the more invisible women are …

It’s as if people don’t really trust women with big budget projects in the same way.

I’ve worked in large architecture firms and advertising agencies, as well as an office of the city of New York and smaller specialty firms here and there. I worked with some wonderful people, and have been given some great opportunities, but I also faced plenty of sexism, sometimes clear, but often quiet. Once I had my son, I returned to agency work for almost a year, but realized my work as an animator could be done more effectively on freelance terms, so here I’ve been happily since then. It’s taken me a long time to be in a place where I’m regularly getting good, creative opportunities…but I’m here! And the only way to go is up.

Fresh looks

Somehow a year has passed…so many thoughts I neglected to write down. But, still here. And perhaps that, in itself, is success.

One day soon I will go back through things I marked and shared over the last months and note them here for future reference. But since I am always two steps behind, for now I will just jump back in to this post.

I haven’t seen the show, Between the World and Me (HBO Original), but I did read the book some years back, and I just saw the title sequence on Art of The Title’s Top 10 Titles for 2020.

It’s the work of Elastic, directed by Hazel Baird. I love the combination of collaged video, photos, torn paper, stop motion, and illustrations. It’s a fresh energy and I want to see more!! I am drawn to this style lately, so keeping it in mind for a future project.

Go, humanity, go!

In these strangest of times, where our global civilization is under siege from a virus, stories like these make me most proud to be a human.

These 3D-printed valves are pieces that need to be replaced for each patient using a ventilator. They were printed by Cristian Fracassi (@cristianfracass), a civil engineer with a Ph.D. in polymer science, and Alessandro Romaioli, a mechanical engineer, to help nearby hospitals keep up the fight against coronavirus amidst the shortage of supplies.

They have already started a second adaptation using scuba masks: https://www.isinnova.it/easy-covid19-eng/. For those who have a 3D printer, there are links to print the adaptive pieces at home.

Together, with innovation, and patience, and determination, we can survive.

Animated posters

I have always loved poster art and the way different artists have successfully integrated their own style with the clear communication of important information.

I’ve seen a number of cool animated posters that are animated gifs – the central image is animated but the space isn’t really broken up.

This animated poster by Michael Socha seems to take it to a different level, and I’m digging how the animation moves the viewer through space to end at the information. I hope we see more works like this scrolling through posts on social media. Posting here to show the animation class – and to recommend for clients for event postings.

Check out his latest reel and look through his website…there is an interesting variety in style and pace, and some really cool experimental loops.

Godfather of Harlem Titles

This piece grabbed my attention for a few reasons.

The motion design is solid, and it syncs stylistically with the music.
The collage style itself works in the same way, and even better is the short write-up Director and Animator Peter Pak added:

The Godfather of Harlem main title is an homage to the contemporaneous collages created by African-American artist, Romare Bearden (1911 – 1988), during 1960s Harlem. He is best known for his photomontage compositions made from torn images of popular magazines and assembled into visually powerful statements on African-American life. We felt his art was appropriate to the show because it shared themes and portrayals of social inequality and the African-American experience that the show similarly explores. The main title INTENTIONALLY reflects many of the techniques, aesthetics, and themes of Romare Bearden, and is a purposeful design for the opening credits of the series not meant to stand separately from its cinematic purpose.

It is my hope that interest in the show and the main title will lead to a larger awareness of the artworks of Romare Bearden and other African-American artists.

Peter Pak

Engraving: Sub Surface

I’ve also been seeing tourist shops around that offer these crystal engravings. This Thing Of Ours lifted them to a higher artistic level…I find videos like this really inspiring – take an existing method/technology and use it in a very different way, to make something new and funky.

one of the blocks
shot setup
closeup shots remind me of the grainy texture from a microscopic lens

Better Moves

A newfound source of inspiration: Good Moves. Run by motion design studio Breeder, it selects a top video for each day:

“Every day our algorithm scours the web to surface the videos that are turning heads all over the globe, before we select the best of that day’s bunch.”

Some familiar names sit next to others I don’t yet know – commercial work, idents, short films all feature…like this video by The Guardian Labs and O2, for In Your Pocket – a phone for visually impaired people. They have developed Be My Eyes, a free app that connects blind people with volunteers that can provide visual assistance.

I think the site has been around for years – but I’m just learning of it, so posting here to keep on the radar.

Inspiration: Sougwen Chung + Shantell Martin

Sometimes I feel as if I might know a small window of the world of artists/drawings/animations, and then my mind is blown when I have extra time to research and explore rabbit holes on the internets.

I just discovered the art of Sougwen Chung. For the past few years she has been exploring collaborations with robots. Exquisite Corpus is an installation combining drawings, visual projections, sound, and biofeedback.

Earlier installations and works are explorations of line and form in space, engaging the audience in different ways.

I came across her work while looking at recent installations from the great Shantell Martin, who I’ve been following for a few years. Different styles but there is some intersection in how they explore line through 3D space (and as a 2D animator, I love this realm).

This image from a collaboration with Kendrick Lamar – I would have loved to see it live.