As we collectively count down the days until we can safely enjoy post-vaccination visits with friends and family, a delightful animation has a comforting message for those of us struggling to reign in our anxiety: “If this disruption undoes you, if the absence of people unravels you…lean into loneliness and know you’re not alone in it.”
A collaboration between poet Tanya Davis and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, “How to Be at Home” plucks some of the same scenarios from the duo’s wildly popular “How to Be Alone”—watch the 2010 film on YouTube and pick up the illustrated book from Bookshop—and translates them into quarantine terms fit for 2020: where benches and public transit once were spaces ripe for interaction, they’re now hazards to be avoided, and a lunch-time scroll through your phone is no longer a distraction but a welcome way to stay connected.
The animated scenes emerge from the pages of a book, an emblem closely associated with solitude, through a mix of live footage and stop-motion techniques. Set to the dulcet rhythms of Davis’s poem, the short film flows through ubiquitous pandemic activities like home yoga, watching long films (including all the credits!), and solo dance parties and reminds us how we’re all bound together even when we’re physically apart.
“How to Be at Home” is one of 30 pandemic-themed films created through The Curve, a platform supported by the National Film Board of Canada. To see more of Dorfman’s illustrations and animations, check out her Instagram and Vimeo. You also might enjoy Gemma Green-Hope’s animated portrait of her grandmother.
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JR, Faith XLVII, and Two Dozen More Mural Artists Convene to Celebrate the Legacy of Dr. Maya Angelou
Muralists from around the world including JR, Faith XLVII, Axel Void, and Daniel Arsham came together for a weeklong Maya Angelou Mural Festival in Los Angeles celebrating the legendary poet. The artists, numbering more than two dozen, decorated the Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School with wall-scaling paintings that depicted or celebrated the visage and message of Dr. Angelou. Rabi and JR (previously) used Angelou’s “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” in their design; Faith XLVII (previously) drew inspiration from the phoenix, a frequent motif in Angelou’s poetry. The mural festival was organized by Branded Arts. (via artnet)
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Author JonArno Lawson and artist Nahid Kazemi recently collaborated to tell a largely visual story about a young bird contemplating its own existence and trying to find its place in the world after losing its flock. Titled Over the Rooftops, Under the Moon and published by Brooklyn-based Enchanted Lion Books, the children’s book features poetic writing by Lawson which provides the framework for its complex themes. Kazemi’s colorful illustrations—a mix of pencil, colored pencil, chalk pastel, and collage—pull young readers into the colorful and curious world.
After studying painting at Art University in Tehran, Kazemi worked as a graphic designer for literary magazines, published children’s books in Iran, and participated in illustration festivals around the world. Kazemi tells Colossal that the collaboration with JonArno Lawson happened by chance, shortly after a move and career restart in Canada.
While looking through books at a library for publishers and authors, the artist came across one called Sidewalk Flowers. “It made me hopeful that publishers in North America were interested in publishing wordless books,” she said. “I searched for JonArno’s other books in the library and felt that his work was close to my own style. I found him through social media – he really liked my work as well, and after a short while, we started to think together about this project.”
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