Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Had to bring further attention to this blog I recently discovered, by Vanessa Soberanis. Her work is wonderful for a lot of reasons. Be sure to watch her demo reel...
Whenever I see someone really "getting" the use of textures in motion picture (which usually happens to be stop motion), it makes me very happy. By texture I mean literally visual texture (as opposed to textures within story, or within animation), that are irregularities in surfaces that help define an object visually, and make it distinct from other materials. This artist is fully immersed in this exploration, it's a pleasure simply to LOOK at what she's crafting. You can almost feel it through the computer screen (and that's such a tangible, human thing to experience).
I also really love the "ugly and beautiful" style of her characters (and often her sets). I love the complexity this suggests, the maturity. Life isn't black and white, it isn't about "pretty=good, ugly=bad". If it was, life would be very boring. If you watch her demo reel, you'll see lots of great examples, but I especially like the ogre riding a trike. He looks like he could eat you (and might actually want to), but he's also happy and joyous. Maybe he'll enjoy his little trike ride, THEN eat you. What a complex and multi-layered character, expressed in just a few seconds of on-screen time!
The excitement in life often comes from contrasts, from tensions that are established. Again, these tensions can exist in story, in the actual animation, in lighting, in sound design, in set design. Vanessa is obviously fully aware of this, cause its shows in the complexity of her work.
Finally, I'll say that I am taken with the diversity of her styles, both in terms of design, and animation. It's easy as an artist to lock yourself into something, and master it (and there's nothing wrong with that, it's a valid path for development- pick something, and become the best in that you can be).
But it takes a certain kind of courage as a artist to step outside a comfort zone, and explore what else there is out there. Her work's varying styles reveal that Vanessa is working from this place, and that means so much in a world where there's simply not enough independent artistic voices.
I don't know Vanessa, other than through her blog. I just hope she keeps doing what she's doing.