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The psychedelic ‘coffee-based’ hand-drawn animations of Jake Fried
05.22.2014
11:24 am

Topics:
Animation
Art

Tags:
coffee
Jake Fried


 
Boston-based artist Jake Fried creates these incredible, trippy, hand-drawn animations, or as he calls them “moving paintings,” by repeatedly layering on top of an original drawing with white-out, gouache, ink and coffee. Each animation shows the drawing process from original sketch lines to finished picture.

Fried’s animations are described as “psychedelic” and “spiritual,” and have been screened at the Tate Modern in London, Sundance Film Festival, and during Cartoon Network’s late night Adult Swim programming bloc.

See more of Jake’s work here.
 

 

 

 
Via Neatorama

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Cosmic Cartoon’: Trippy early animation from the father of ‘Tron’
05.09.2014
07:37 am

Topics:
Animation
Art

Tags:
psychedelia
Tron


 
I need more vintage science fiction weirdness in my life, don’t you? This is an early production from future Tron creator Steven Lisberger and was made through his Lisberger Studios, an animation business he opened while still an art student at Boston’s SMFA. “Cosmic Cartoon” saw Lisberger receive a Student Academy Award nomination in 1973, which ultimately led to Animalympics (featuring the voices of Billy Crystal, Gilda Radner and Harry Shearer) for NBC in 1980, and then to the creative development of Tron at Disney.

You can really see Lisberger finding his artistic voice here. You got your psychedelic choreography of the galaxy! You got your Utopian futurist landscapes! You got your naked dancing lady montages (possibly NSFW, cartoon pubes alert!). All of this 70s sci-fi goodness is set to an epic synthy score—it should be projected on a planetarium dome. This thing is so fluid and trippy and so damned cosmically prog-rock that I had to make sure I hadn’t accidentally taken the cat’s medication by mistake.
 

 
Via Network Awesome
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Watch ‘Moon Rock,’ a 1970 psychedelic sci-fi cartoon from ‘Yellow Submarine’ animator George Dunning

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Watch ‘Moon Rock,’ a 1970 psychedelic sci-fi cartoon from ‘Yellow Submarine’ animator George Dunning
05.06.2014
11:23 am

Topics:
Animation
Art

Tags:
Beatles
Yellow Submarine
George Dunning


 
While the style is certainly recognizable, the tone of George Dunning’s 1970 cartoon “Moon Rock” is a vastly different from its predecessor, Yellow Submarine. After a countdown and blast-off, our faceless astronaut lands on what appears to be the Moon, where a series of psychedelic characters are there to greet him, including a Blue Meanie-reminiscent slug-thing requesting chocolate and jelly. Interspersed with real video footage, the surreal subjects and austere setting make “Moon Rock” a product of its time without being dated. The trippy ambient music is from Ron Geesin, who also co-composed the “Atom Heart Mother” suite with Pink Floyd.

Apparently Dunning based the narrative on the notion of “lateral thinking,” a creative problem-solving concept from New Agey self-help consultant, Edward de Bono. For some frame of reference on de Bono, in 2000 he recommended sending Marmite to Israel and Palestine because he believed an unleavened bread-related zinc deficiency was exacerbating aggression in the region. Crazy? Sure, but it makes for darn good animation!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Hell Unltd’: Filmmaker Norman McLaren’s powerful anti-capitalism, anti-war animation
04.22.2014
07:27 am

Topics:
Animation
Movies

Tags:
Norman McLaren

nerallcmllehdtlnu.jpg
 
This year marks the centenary of the birth of pioneering filmmaker Norman McLaren, whose multi-award-winning animations inspired generations of filmmakers including Francois Truffaut, George Lucas and Michel Gondry. 

McLaren’s best-known for his work with the National Film Board of Canada, for whom he made his Oscar-winning 1952 short Neighbours, which mixed pixilation, stop-frame animation and live action to create a powerful anti-war message. The film reflected McLaren’s mixed feelings about the Korean War as he had just returned from China where he had been greatly impressed by the way the Communist country was progressing. He found his own experience of Chairman Mao’s China at odds with its representation in the West during the war.

McLaren was born on April 11th, 1914 in Stirling, Scotland. He attended the Glasgow School of Art, where he decided filmmaking rather than painting was the future of art. He started making short animations by painting and scratching directly onto the film. His first experiment proved so successful that the film was worn-out through continual screenings. His next film Seven Till Five (1933) told the story of a day-in-the-life of the art school. The film used various techniques such as montage and editing-in-camera lifted from Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. McLaren followed this with Camera Makes Whoopee (1935), which covered the celebration of a student party. Again, the film is now best-known for McLaren’s innovative use of camera effects.

In 1936, McLaren collaborated with fellow student, sculptor Helen Biggar on a far more ambitious and political project, an anti-war film called Hell Unltd.. McLaren was a pacifist and, at this time, also a Communist, who believed he could change people’s attitudes through his films. Together with Biggar he created a highly imaginative (if politically simplistic) anti-capitalist take on the cause and effect of war and profiteering from it. The film mixes stop-frame animation with filmed and archival footage, captions and rostrum camera work. It’s a powerful little film and one that showcases many of the talents that made Norman McLaren a dynamic, imaginative and brilliant film-maker.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Meet the six-foot-tall George Harrison Marionette
04.18.2014
11:42 am

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
George Harrison
puppets


 
This is a guest post written by Tabitha Vidaurri.

There exist a series of music videos of a life-sized, hand-made marionette of George Harrison. He sings songs like “Pisces Fish” and “Someplace Else” while strumming the guitar, banjo and ukulele. As a teen, I constructed a puppet of a blue cat wearing sunglasses and taped it singing “Land Down Under” by Men At Work, so when I laid eyes on this lovingly obsessive tribute to the Dark Horse himself, I immediately felt a kinship with whomever was responsible for its creation.

While I was not able to get in touch with the puppeteer, I did some digging and found that her name is Jenn, she has over 35 years of experience as a puppet builder and performer, and it took her six months to complete the George Harrison Marionette.

Jenn has also written about her project extensively on the Muppet and Steve Hoffman Music forums

Originally, ‘George’ was going to be much smaller…more the size of a traditional marionette (2 to 3 feet tall). Because of the complicated animations I had to build for the unique eyes, eyelids, and mouth, the size of ‘George’s’ head ended up being life size.


The puppet is is fully clothed in a store-bought two-piece suit, though Jenn notes she had some trouble finding non-leather, vegetarian-friendly men’s dress shoes. You Harrison fans will notice that the electric guitar used isn’t accurate, which is due to the fact that this was such a low-budget production. At $80, the tiny Dark Horse Records lapel pin on ‘George’s’ jacket was the single most expensive item used in the project.

A lot of love and nitpicky detailing went into this project to give ‘George’ a realistic appearance both in looks and movement.  His hands are completely pose-able thanks to an eternal ‘skeleton’ of stiff wires in his fingers. This enables him to mimic any playing position. His hands are also rich in detail, with knuckles, veins, and palm lines sculpted into them. The LP record cover of ‘Living in the Material World’ was used to insure his hands were correct to size.  I was adamant about having him be portrayed as himself, as a solo artist, instead of the far more common representation one sees of ‘Beatle George.’

The puppet is modeled off of late ‘80s/early ‘90s Harrison, a period when he was absent of facial hair and prone to wearing blazers. This era was chosen so ‘George’ would have the option to sing selections from the Traveling Wilburys catalog.

I admire Jenn’s devotion and peaceful attitude. She acknowledges that a 6-foot tall puppet—or puppets in general—may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but if it does happen to be your mug of Earl Grey, then this is just the tip of the iceberg:

‘George’ is wonderful company…a bit quiet though, and seems perpetually content. He is definitely a ‘presence’ in the room, which some might find disturbing (in a spooky sense) while others may find it charming. The few people who have been able to see him in person have noted this.


To learn more, visit the George Harrison Marionette Facebook Page.

The video for “My Sweet Lord” features a behind-the-scenes look at how the marionette works; ‘George’ is operated Thunderbirds-style, meaning there are no electronic elements used, and a total of fifteen strings control his movements:
 

 
Jenn also filmed a music video for “Life Itself” as a bigger production with multiple camera angles, even creating storyboards. The final product has candles and moody lighting, very much in the style of the early days of VH1:
 

 
This is a guest post written by Tabitha Vidaurri.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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This animation is NOT computer generated… sort of
04.17.2014
07:49 am

Topics:
Animation

Tags:
3D printing


 
I love animation, but my virulent Ludditism prevents me from enjoying the roughly 3,497,039 big-budget CGI cartoons that now come out yearly (not to mention a definite drop in writing—when did we start patronizing kids with such terrible stories and dialogue?). I’m not opposed to CGI per se (most cartoons that just look like basic cell animation are now made on computer), but the uber-slick CGI that now pervades the big animated blockbusters just looks terrible. The texture is crummy, the physics and movements are hammy—when I babysit kids watching a movie, I have to concentrate on not scowling.

Luckily, I have friends that sit through my drunken tirades about cartoons, and send stuff like this my way! This little animation experiment is actually 50 3D-printed models made with stop-motion captures. So, while it’s not CGI, it’s technically computer-generated—like claymation done by robots! More importantly, the animators actually used a low-quality 3D printing process in order to allow for variations and “flaws” between models.  Despite the high-tech production, the look is organic and warm—this little clip conveys more life than the last Disney I saw!
 

 
Via Cartoon Brew

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Dizzy Gillespie talks nuclear disarmament in 1962 animated short, ‘The Hole’


 
In the mundane setting of a construction site, casual conversation turns into a discussion of freewill, subconscious desires, chaos and the fear of accidental nuclear catastrophe. The animation is muddy, mottled, fluid and shuddering—the product of watercolors on paper, as opposed to the Disney-style of opaque paint on animation cells. The dialogue is improvised—realistically stuttered and stammering, voiced by jazz-great Dizzy Gillespie and George Mathews, a 6’5” actor known most prominently for his roles as tough-guys and heavies. The 15-minute short has the feel of a Jim Jarmusch vignette rather than a kiddie cartoon—a story about a conversation, told with humor, humanity and affection. And the ending is a shock.

If the subject matter feels a little heavy or surprisingly political, it may help to know the context of its creators. The Hole is one of the many gems from animation legends, John and Faith Hubley. Prior to meeting his wife and artistic partner, John Hubley worked for Disney but left during an animators strike. After finding success a second time with another animation company (and creating the character of Mr Magoo), Hubley was fired for refusing to name names before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and blacklisted throughout the industry.

In 1955, he married fellow animator Faith Chestman, and they opened up their own animation studio, pledging to make one independent film a year. They later made shorts for Sesame Street to finance their more experimental projects. Their independent films were often explicitly political, tackling subjects like war, urbanization and children’s rights, without condescending to the cutesy artistic sensibilities children are so often assumed to possess. The Hubleys were also notable for using improvised dialogue, children’s voices for children’s characters (sometimes their own children) and a diverse cast that avoided the racial cliches pervading the medium at the time.

The Hole won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” in 2013.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Brilliant ‘Doonesbury’ TV special from 1977 questions the high-minded ideals of the 1960s

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Starring Frank Zappa as The Pope’ in Ren & Stimpy’s ‘Powdered Toast Man,’ 1992

Powdered Toast Man!
 
Early in the second season of Ren & Stimpy, there appeared a rollicking and utterly disrespectful segment called “Powdered Toast Man.” 1992. The character of Powdered Toast Man unified the clueless and self-important silliness of The Tick with the tendency to wreak havoc of, say, Inspector Clouseau or Maxwell Smart. Voiced by the incomparable Gary Owens—and you might not know the name, but if you’ve ever seen Laugh-In or Space Ghost, you sure as hell know his voice—Powdered Toast Man was the spokesman for, obviously, a product called Powdered Toast, which was billed as tasting “just like sawdust!” According to Wikipedia, he was based on the character of Studebacher Hoch, from the epic song “Billy The Mountain” of off the Mothers of Invention’s 1972 album Just Another Band from L.A. I frankly don’t quite see the connection, but anything’s possible.
 
Powdered Toast Man!
 
It’s kind of amazing just how dark and subversive the Powdered Toast bit is. The anti-advertising message is just the start of it. Tasked with saving a kitten from being run over by a truck, Powdered Toast Man causes a passing jetliner to crash into the truck, thus saving the kitten at the expense of who knows how many lives (the injured survivors cheer him on anyway). A few moments later, Powdered Toast Man thoughtlessly tosses the kitten out of frame, where he is apparently run over by a truck, to judge from the sound effects. Later on, he uses the Bill of Rights for kindling. He induces projectiles to emerge from his armpits by doing that “fart noise” maneuver, he uses his own tongue as a telephone…....... actually, you really need to see the video to believe it. The satire of the prevailing superhero ethos really couldn’t be more savage—or more entertaining.
 
Powdered Toast Man!
The Pope, “clinging tenaciously” to Powdered Toast Man’s buttocks
 
Appropriately enough, the role of the Pope was voiced by Frank Zappa. According to IMDB.com, it was the last time he would ever portray a fictional character (granted, he didn’t do this all that often). How did this come to pass? As often happens in showbiz, Zappa had expressed some admiration for the early Ren & Stimpy episodes, and ... one thing led to another. John Kricfalusi tells the story on the commentary track for the episode:
 

Yeah, Frank Zappa was a fan of the show, and I was a huge Frank Zappa fan growing up. I had all his records. and when I found out he was a fan, our mixer, one of the sound engineers, was also mixing some Frank Zappa records, and he ... handed the phone to me one day and it was Frank on the line. So Frank invited me to his house that weekend. ... and I went with Elinor Blake and Frank and his family and I, Moon Unit and Dweezil. We all sat around watching Ren & Stimpy cartoons all afternoon. He was laughing all through them, and after it was over I asked: “Hey Frank, you want to BE in a cartoon?” and he said: “Yeah, that’d be great” and I said: “You want to be the pope?” and he said: “Yeah, I always wanted to be the pope.”

 
(Note: Elinor Blake has had a successful musical career in her own right: After working as an animator on Ren & Stimpy, she released several albums under the name April March.) As it happens, Zappa has hardly any lines, but that’s all right.

Another interesting link between Zappa and the show: There was a recurring Ren & Stimpy segment called “Ask Dr. Stupid” in which Stimpy would respond to letters in an incredibly stupid way. Turns out, Zappa recorded a track called “Ask Dr. Stupid” all the way back in 1979.

The episode is available in full on The Ren & Stimpy Show: The First and Second Season (Uncut)
 

 
via Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘The Hunger’: An impressively repulsive computer-animated short from 1974
03.14.2014
07:31 am

Topics:
Animation
Class War

Tags:
animation


 
The availability of new technology usually inspires the artistic impulse to create something lovely and elaborate. But the pioneering 1974 short film, The Hunger (or La Faim, in the original French), feels—intentionally—both ugly and crude.  The art has the feel of rough sketches, and only in the movement of the animation can you see the computer technology at work. It’s a strange, eery effect that is intensified by an artfully unsettling soundtrack.

The film received a Special Jury Prize at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, a BAFTA Award for Best Animation Film, and was the first computer-animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award. What’s more, it was actually produced by the National Film Board of Canada, an agency of The Canadian Federal Government (and we can’t even get our government to fund food stamps?)

The plot is simple: a piggish man eats too much and is eventually devoured by the starving masses. It’s all told in a sort of animated Kafkaesque expressionism, and while I’ve always scoffed at the “sinfulness” of gluttony (especially since world hunger has very little to do with actual scarcity, and even less to do with the dietary habits of fat Westerners), it did disturb me enough to eschew cookies for breakfast this morning.  It is grotesque, violent, nauseating, and truly stunning.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Yellow Submarine Vans


“In the town where I was born, lived a man who sailed to sea, and he told us of his life, with his Yellow Submarine Vans…”

As a lifelong wearer of Vans, I’m not entirely sure I’d wear these psychedelic puppies. I can appreciate them, though, as a novelty item and Vans fan.

Perhaps if one of the classic styles showcased the Blue Meanies, then I might seriously have to reconsider…

The Yellow Submarine-themed shoes are around $65 + shipping at the Vans website.


 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Mick Jagger makes his TV debut with some sensible shoes

Nick Cave and David Bowie hi-top All Stars sneakers

Footwear with bite: Fancy shoes with teeth soles

Foot Fetish: Freaky faces in old, discarded shoes

h/t Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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