Animation

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Animation Art Illustration

Around the Block: David Zinn's Quirky Chalk Cartoons Spring to Life in a New Short Film

January 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

If you’ve walked the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the last few decades, you’ve probably spotted the wide-eyed monsters and mischievous dragons of David Zinn (previously). Since 1987, the artist has been drawing chalk-and-charcoal creatures in site-specific works that wash away with the rain. Drain pipes become robotic dogs, a pillar morphs into a giant pencil, and a green monster pops out of a brick walkway.

A new short film directed by Jonnie Lewis dives into Zinn’s practice by animating his signature cartoon cast that greets the artist as he walks around the city. Watch “Around the Block” on Lewis’s Vimeo, and check out more of Zinn’s eccentric creatures on Instagram.  (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Animation

The Wolf House: A Horror Film Plunges into the Disturbing Mind of a Child through a Blend of Stop-Motion Animation and Murals

January 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León descend into the psychologically disturbing world of a child escaped from religious fanatics in their feature-length film The Wolf HouseLayered with audio of unsettling voices and the quiet mutterings of a young girl, the grotesque animation seamlessly blends horror and documentary as it recounts some of the tragedies of the Colonia Dignidad, the post-World War II colony that was established by Germans and Chileans under the dictatorial rule of General Augusto Pinochet. Founded in 1961, the isolated area was infamous for torture, internment, and murder, and The Wolf House showcases its impact on a child who takes refuge in a strange house.

Fans of filmmaker Daisy Jacobs and artist BLU will recognize some of the methods used in Cociña and León’s work, including classic stop-motion techniques and painting directly on the walls of the set. Characters shift constantly, whether between two and three dimensions as they morph from murals into sculptural creatures or as they contort their bodies from life-sized forms to massive heads and from human to animal.

Cociña and León, who are from Chile originally, have been collaborating since 2007 and lead the Santiago-based production company Diluvio. You can stream The Wolf House on ScreeningRoom, and see more of the duo’s genre-bending work on their site and Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation

Freeze Frame: A Meditative Stop-Motion Short Explores Preservation and Decay Through a Tedious Ice Harvest

December 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

Brussels-based director Soetkin Verstegen bills her methodical and nostalgic animation “Freeze Frame” as a “miniature cinema inside an ice cube.” Produced in a grainy, vintage style, the black-and-white short loosely follows workers as they harvest and attempt to preserve the frozen blocks. Amidst scenes of the monotonous, assembly-line efforts are insects, frogs, and various creatures swimming across the frames and eventually, crystallizing into skeletal ice sculptures.

In a conversation with Short of the Week, Verstegen spoke to the difficulty of using such a transient material, calling it “the most absurd technique since the invention of the moving image.” The tedious nature of stop-motion further matches the repetitive movements of the film’s subjects, forming “a playful puzzle with formal ideas around early cinema, decay, and preservation.”

You can find more of Verstegen’s short films that experiment with animation techniques on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation Music

Abstract Shapes Flow Like Water in Ho Tsz Wing's Psychedelic Animation

December 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

In the hypnotic realm of “Catgot,” bubbles explode into kaleidoscopic droplets, and beads of water bounce across the screen. Created by Ho Tsz Wing using Photoshop, the two-dimensional drawings mimic the look of a hand-painted animation. They’re set to an electronic track by ISAN and gracefully follow a series of fluid, synchronized movements. Downbeats correspond with abstract shapes that flow from one scene to the next in a psychedelic fashion.

The Hong Kong-based animator and illustrator writes that the textured drawings highlight “the beauty of the colors, composition, and transformations of the objects in the scene” and are inspired in part by artists Masanobu Hiraoka and Matt Abbiss. To watch more of Ho Tsz Wing’s mesmerizing animations, check out Behance, Instagram, and Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation

SMILE: Ride an Emotional Rollercoaster with These Perpetually Grinning Characters

December 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

The googly-eyed cast in Lucas Zanatto’s new looped animation is all of us this year: Beaming one moment, bummed the next. “SMILE” follows an array of pastel characters as they quickly twist from one mood to another. Whether spurred by a downward spiral or rollercoaster ride, each movement turns the pastel creature topsy-turvy, leaving it with a perpetual grin.

Watch more light-hearted projects from the Helsinki-based director (previously) on Vimeo and Instagram, where he also shares tutorials and behind-the-scenes shots. Check out his recent collaboration with KAWS encouraging folks to vote in the U.S. election, too.

 

 

 



Animation Food

THE COIN: A Moving Stop-Motion Short Reveals the Power of a Family's Cooking Traditions

December 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

Siqi Song reminds us that the simple traditions of home stick with us no matter how far we travel. The Los Angeles-based director and writer, who created the highly regarded animation “SISTER” about China’s one-child policy, released a new stop-motion short about a girl who struggles to hold on to the remnants of a prized holiday ritual.

THE COIN” opens with a felt character hand-making dumplings to celebrate the Chinese New Year. A silver dollar is hidden inside one of the pork-filled pockets, and according to tradition, “whoever eats the dumpling with the coin would have a blessed year ahead.” The fiber-based animation then follows the little girl as she grows up and leaves home for Los Angeles, where she loses her cherished coin collection and desperately searches for a new one.

Song shares behind-the-scenes shots on Instagram, in addition to making-of videos and full animations on Vimeo. “THE COIN” also has a dedicated account that shares updates on the short film’s awards.