With this weeks kick about prompt being the cut outs of Henri Matisse I wanted to produce something quickly – full of shapes and colour. This felt very much like a meditative practice in which I lost myself in the process of creating such colourful squidgy shapes. In Photoshop the lasso tool in particular was the main modus operandi used to create the shapes which were then simply filled with colour using the paint bucket tool. Initially I made a bunch of shapes that resembled plant forms or algae as well as blocks of shapes that could be used behind the plant forms, then having a plethora of shapes at my disposal I could move, invent and create the grander picture of them all as one. I wanted to keep things as practical as possible and revert from any overly cerebral thoughts so a lot of these designs took a life of their own and I throughly enjoyed letting them be.
When viewing Howard Sooley’s Prospect Cottage for the most recent Kick About I was instantly drawn to the opening images of the lighthouse and the water, the way those clips moved – like old pixelation animation. I wanted to create a moving story revolving around the landscape of Dungeness and all its quirky unique characteristics, I also just really wanted to make something with my hands. I have fashioned a shadow puppet theatre out of old cardboard, a large picture less frame and some grease proof paper so that I can bring to life cuttings of the characters and all the little things that make Dungeness so intriguing. While I don’t have the film to show just yet, I do have the storyboard.
Another kick about has been unleashed over on Red’s kingdom! this time the prompt being the Museum Wormianum – by Ole Worm, a cabinet of curiosities of Worm’s Relics from far and wide. I was initially going to use many of the collectable bric a brac scattered around my dads house and superimpose those on makeshift shelves using roof timber slats that are littered with spiders, but I decided to go against that as I wanted to not mimic Ole Worm’s Museum Wormianum but to go on an adventure and create a story around the origins of all the collectibles and relics that Worm has in his possession.
I imagine Old Ole as an adventurer, wearing tan colours and a careworn hat bleached from sweat from adventuring to mysterious places where the sun scorches and the animals and plant life are of the carnivorous sort. Old Ole Has fought mutant monsters deep within the caverns of caves, sailed high seas and fought his way through torturous chambers, Old Ole has earned his stripes and his relics.
Since Old Ole’s book of treasure dates back to 1655 I wanted to use a medium that is also ancient but has stood the test of time so I turned to collage. I used many of the bric a brac that is dust ridden around my Dads house to kit bash and collage them together as well as pages from the Museum Wormianum to create the ocean as well as some hieroglyphics scattered about. I have become a bit obsessed with house plants so some of my plants are in there – a fatsia, Monstera and Schefflera.
During the summer months when the weather was scorching I was busy animating a music video for a band making waves after initially being featured on BBC Introducing, the band being wildest and the song being the mouthwatering Sugar and I am thrilled to announce that the music video and this labour of love has finally been released and can be viewed here. My good friends @tom_boxx and @ellie_carolyn who I was a VFX runner with came to me with an idea for the music video reflecting stop motion animation and an abundance of collage like elements superimposed on a bright orange background. Obviously I had to jump at the chance!
〰️ Wildest Band Members Jack, Harry & James of Wildest 〰️
In detail to do the song justice and get this music video right was to create the music video in a stop motion, choppy nature and have it reflect Wildest’s signature style – so warm seventies nostalgia, groovy cylindrical patterns and shapes with a swirling psychedelic orange background. The background constantly rotating while the assets in the foreground have a black and white monochrome half tone effect to represent old paper and show stark contrast to the tantalising orange. All the elements combining together to bring everything full circle and complementing that warming nostalgic boppy funk that makes you want to throw some serious shapes to wildest effervescent syrupy coo’s and snappy drums.
Some tidbits in how I figured thing out; A turning point came to me when I figured out how to export all of the videos firstly from premiere to remove the green screen and then after effects to add the half tone effect and then bring that clip into Maya as an alpha channel while having the green screen removed, what figuring that out meant was that I could manipulate the videos as they are now technically 3D objects – extruding, deforming, bending and deleting parts all now achievable and made for some fun experiments. I’ve attached some videos below of having a muck about with stuff that didn’t make the cut.
Now that I knew how to get the videos into Maya I could really play around with the elements, dialling up the surrealism and elements for the foreground for a smorgasbord of intricacies including lightbulbs, scaffolding, cages, trees, stars, floating eyeballs and mouths as well as taking pictures of my own hairy legs and arms to place them into odd angles and add to the mind bending dreamscape of sugar. I took inspiration from Max Erst, Hannah Hock, Dali, Terry Gilliam and the installation art of Tony Oursler, all of which these incredible artists offering some help into the surrealistic collage approach I was going for.
〰️ Max Ernst, Hannah Hock, Terry Gilliam & Tony Oursler Mood board 〰️
I liked the idea of in a way breaking the fourth wall by showing the animator making this lucid trip happen by key framing and moving pictures of my hands as they slot the elements into place, including the offering of the sugar bowl before the final pupil dilating adrenaline rush of the end scene.
I was really excited to be given free will from Tom and Ellie to come up with the instrumental end part of the video which starts at the sugar mountain scene where the windmills are made out of spoons and sugar while the lads of Wildest melt into a hallucinogenic Mount Rushmore. The end shot where the camera starts to fly through the mouths of the band members as the sugar follows was one single shot within Maya and was really finicky to animate as Maya isn’t really meant to have high quality alpha map videos of real people within a scene; let alone having many, many duplicates of them and I mean it when I say my laptop nearly melted! Sounding like a jet about to take off as it slogged to painful speeds as I keyed the transparency on and off of every element within that shot. The resulting shot turned out to be my favourite and I am glad I just trusted my gut and went wild (pun intended) what it came to be was a complete sugar rush where the trippy psychedelic nature was dialled up to an climax and in doing so gave the rest of the music video a place to flow towards.
〰️ The Instrumental End Scene 〰️
What I loved about doing this project was that I always crave having people in my circle that get it and go for it. Tom and Ellie get it and they go for it, they just want to create stuff together to build up their roster, by figuring it out as you go which is all part of the fun. I may have been made redundant from the job that we all shared together (thanks Covid) but it’s those relationships that I have made with creative like minded people that is worth its weight in gold – much more than a monthly pay check. If you would like to support this funky fresh band that is wildest, the tantalising sugar can be streamed on all music streaming services now.