A short independent animation (WIP), working title “Darling Tenderloins,” about reciprocity of sentient beings (fungi, trees/plants and animals) and mankind's interference with symbiosis. The animation combines 2D line drawn animation, digital painting, 3D cameras, compositing, stop motion techniques, including sculptural elements, and sound design.
My work often relies on mythology, deconstructed narrative and mutualism - ecology. A Radiolab podcast featuring German forester Peter Wohlleben and Canadian ecologist Suzanne Simard on the “wood wide web” and the complex communication network of trees, feeder roots and a fungi freeway that operates like a large organism prompted research on their theories. Two previous animations (The Mutualists and Bludren) dealt with reciprocity of species, plant myths (mandrake myth, insectivorous plants) and transformation. A commissioned animation for TED-Ed discussed the carbon cycle and ecology. I return to these themes, although I challenge myself to resort to different techniques artistically and structurally.
A short independent animation based on childhood memories created in 2014 after a residency at Wild Acres in North Carolina.
“There is the truth of history and there is the truth of what a person remembers.” --Rebecca Wells from Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Several years ago I was interested in developing an animation about animal welfare but after diverse visual experiments, the project was abandoned because it never felt valid. Reciprocity of species is a theme to which I often return. Author Lauren Slater states that “humans only become beings in relation to the animals with whom we share this planet … the differences denies us and the similarities remind us of some essential primitive cry we keep a clamp on.”
A brief childhood encounter with a bear fueled obsessive bear dreams, paralyzed nightmares, a fear of the unknown, and transformed my personal mythos. My recollection, my yarn is one that only I can tell. My family disputes it, is it a rumor? Did my dreams creep from the darkness and rearrange the confrontation as I have spun the tale of tales?
Yet...... the dreams subsided, replaced by a creed of the natural world that has always comforted me. I cannot deny my relationship with what the bear represents. I revere it but understand that I can no longer tame it. We should be cautious with wild animals but as naturalist Barry Lopez states “a phobic response is less about the beast in the underbrush than it is about the beast within. When we refuse to look inward – when we fix our fear on the head of a coyote or any fellow predator – we miss the opportunity to face up to our own demons. Which is a shame, because in the end it’s the only chance we have of facing them down.”
Mother image from the animation
Bear image created with watercolors.
Walking through the woods form the animation, line drawn sequence.
Blacky, the childhood dog who was sent away.
Slippery frogs, memories of a fight over a toad and boys throwing frogs at me.
Research involving 3D animation software led to a fusion of 3-dimensional space, camera control, and hand painted textures placement on 2D & 3D models. As an ode to Steampunk aesthetic, Rheumers was constructed of new and aged wood, galvanized plumbing pipes, a jerry-rigged monitor, DVD player and fan system. Six peephole viewers were drilled into the aged found wood siding on the top of the box, which created an intimate viewing environment for each of the six looping animations with sound.
In 2008 I viewed a presentation by apiarist Dennis van Engelsdorp relating to the mass evacuation of bees (honey bees primarily, but also the lowly bumblebee) while simultaneously reading James Tate’s surreal poem “Head of a White Woman Winking”, the first two lines of which read: “She has one good bumblebee, Which she leads about town…” James Tate’s poetry extracts snippets from current events, manipulating these found words into surreal narratives. At the time I was creating this piece in July/August 2009, my young brother-in-law unexpectedly died from heart failure and I was consumed by thoughts of mortality while listening obsessively to Bernard Hermann’s score for the original The Day the Earth Stood Still. The title refers to the solitary room-like structures housed within the Rheumers sculpture, as well as the word rheumatoid and collapse due to disease.
Top of the sculpture with peepholes
Shown at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo
Top of structure
Image from gallery show at the Marion Art Gallery at SUNY Fredonia.
Peep hole sculpture for Rheumers
Displayed at the Marion Art Gallery.
Closeup of peep holes.
Hallwalls Artists and Models Exhibit, Buffalo
Squeaky Wheel, Buffalo
Shown at the Infringement Festival in Buffalo, NY
View through a Peep Hole
3D animation stills from the 6 peep holes.
My first 3D character, C4D. It was supposed to be an abstracted insect/bee character with wings and a long snout.
A closeup of the face and buggy eyes.
Buggy is trying to get the red heart-plant to pump, as seen through a peep hole.
As seen through a peep hole. The legs kick out as it appears to do a dance. The background walls are distressed watercolor textures I painted.
As seen through a peep hole from above. An animation of the nose of Buggy as it reaches into one of the small boxes within the wood sculpture. Background textures are my watercolors.
Work-in-progress animation about Kukuroo, the punk rabbit-cat who disappears into cupboards.
Various digital paintings, mixed media paintings, illustration work.
Mixed media (acrylics and digital)
The 3 Sisters
Mixed media (watercolors and digital)
Red Garden Series
Mixed media series inspired by Alice Hoffman's The Red Garden, specifically "Owl and Mouse". The story relates the tensions a young girl feels as she is allowed to break from tradition and encounters her first love.
Red Garden #5
Last image of the Red Garden Series
Red Garden #3
Red Garden #2
Pen and ink.
Digital, inspired by a mark on my bedroom ceiling.
VANM Birthday Card
Pen and ink/color image created for SUNY Fredonia's Visual Arts and New Media Department's annual birthday card.
Watercolor image created for class watercolor demo.
TED-Ed Animation on the Carbon Cycle
What exactly is the carbon cycle? Nathaniel Manning provides a basic look into the cyclical relationship of carbon, humans and the environment.
TEDEd commissioned me to create a 3-minute animation accompanying Nathaniel Manning's dialog about climate change. The animation was created in 3 weeks prior to one of my fall semesters.
Prickly roses, entangling barbs, zigzagging webs, exotic spinsters, capricious pussies, counterfeit mothers, babbling battologists conspire to seduce a young girl in this 2D computer animation. The animation was completed at the start of 2006 and was exhibited internationally.
The Rotojam Collective is a group of animators who collaborate on rotoscoped animations every few months. Canadian animator Ash LoRusso originated the group and directs/produces each animated piece. I participated in RotoJam 3 and 4 so far and the animations have screened internationally.
A pair of vampire twins lure a creature into a mysterious world through the unearthing of a mandrake plant. Unfolding in a combination of 2D and 3D hand-painted computer animation, the film looks at the often bizarre interactions found in nature, where an attempt to tame and transform the human-like mandrake plant by the main character leads to a transcendent encounter.
Blood from a Fly
Test animations and stills from a project that was abandoned. Footage consisted of rotoscoped and painted animations involving foxes.
During the fall of 2000 my cat, Ingus, was diagnosed with kidney problems and hyperthyroidism followed by an interval of daily subcutaneous fluid injections and the uncertainty of her continued existence. Gnostic Pussies developed as a celebration of her spirit, while not specifically about Ingus, but as an ode to feline forms and idiosyncrasies. The line drawn digital process and rotoscoping (traced videotaped reference footage) were foreign techniques I wanted to pursue at the time, which have since matured due to a decision to incorporate more traditional media into the digital process.
Painted/photographic cutout animation shot on 16 mm. film under an Oxberry stand back in the 1990's. It was my first Oxberry and cutout animation. An article about haustoriums (an organ through which parasites enter their host, derived originally from an ordinary root) inspired the piece. “Given enough time, parasites and their hosts might even become Mutualists, organisms that contributed to one another’s well-being, such as the fungi and photosynthetic bacteria that make up lichens.” (quote from scientist Margie Prophet) I was a member of the Carnivorous Plant Society at the time and grew several wonderful insectivore specimens in a terrarium. Insectivores are plants which grow in environments insufficient to provide nitrogen in the form usually assimilated by plants –as nitrate ions. (where I gathered many of my carnivorous plant specimens, which I grew in a terrarium). Sound was created by me on an old 8-bit sound program on an Amiga.
Cutouts under the Oxberry's glass stand.
Cutouts/scenes laid out in the Oxberry room.
Holding up a sheet of acetate with gloves prior to shooting.