Norman McLaren once said that "animation is not the art of drawings that move butthe art of movements that are drawn" (Furniss 6). This quote resonates with me on differentlevels. The intuitive way of constructing a story frame by frame fuels my passion foranimation. Just as art history has nourished my imagination. This fall when I attended the Ottawa International Animation Festival I madesure to walk through the National Art Gallery. While standing in front of paintings andfollowing my mind as it traveled through the colours, brush strokes and symbols I was takensomewhere else. I experienced similar feelings of escapism watching the films at the festival. Iwant to incorporate these points of inspiration into my graduation film. A film that stoodout for me at the festival was Dustin Grellas Prayers for Peace. The usage of medium tocoincide with the message has been a constant referral point for my own film. The film isstop motion animated with pastels that linger from frame to frame like memories. The styleof film will correlate with my theme and subjects as well. In the spring of 2006 on a trip to New York, I was wandering through theMetropolitan Museum of Art and stumbled upon a special exhibition called Glitter andDoom. This exhibition was comprised of German portraits from the 1920s from artists likeOtto Dix, Max Beckmann George Grosz. The paintings and sketches featured in theexhibition were a part of the Neau Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) art movement. Thecharacters in my grad film will be created with Otto Dixs use of sketchy line and rich jewelcolours. Subjects that sat for Dix had "to accept the artists savage distortions and forgive hisembrace of ugliness in a direct challenge to the conventional concept of portraiture" (Sabine6). My experience of walking through this exhibition and being deeply moved by the imageson the wall inspired me to further research the art and culture of this time period. The
binary of glitter and doom in Germany in the 1920s particularly fascinated me. After theFirst World War, Germany suffered from economic and political turmoil. This wasparalleled by the emergence of the creative arts and a vibrant open nightlife. The portraitsmade by these artists were able to stand as reflections of the absurd and devastating eventsthat took place in their recent history. When embarking on my grad film I knew that my main goal was to create ananimation that would act as a cohesive addition to this exhibition. Finding a story thatwould expand on this idea of glitter and doom was a challenge. Through rereading theexhibition book and reading other books including Eric D. Weitz Weimar Germany: Promiseand Tragedy and Tim OBriens The Things They Carried, I decided that a war cripple with aprevious past as a dancer would serve this purpose. The traumas of war had physically andmentally affected soldiers long after the war. During this time period there were millions ofinjured soldiers who returned to Germany unable to receive any support from thegovernment or significant medical aid. Alongside the prostitutes, war cripples adorned thestreets begging for money to survive. During the night, patrons of jazz and burlesque clubsshared these streets as well. Otto Dixs Metropolis triptych illustrated this with a collection ofdancers, jazz musicians, prostitutes and war cripples. The streets were a mixture of high classand homeless, art lovers and sexual deviants and those who distracted themselves from thedire times that had been, were and to come and those who dwelled in it. Archie, the main character used to be a dancer before the First World War. Archiehad the ability to command an audience with the movement of his body and charismaticspirit. The horrors he saw in the front lines dissipated his soul. During the war, part of hisleg was blown of due to an explosion in the trenches. Due to his loss of wealth, status and
limb he was shunned away from the community he once starred in. This is why he decides toend his life. Other media that has inspired me includes Pink Floyd’s The Wall and the originalMetropolis. The use of revealing information in The Wall particularly fascinated me.Throughout the whole film we see the main character struggle with his personal demons andat the end find out he is the leader of the hateful party. This is a device that I will usethroughout my film to take the audience on a journey of exploration and explanation. Theutter chaos in the various war scenes depicts it as wasteful and damaging. This is something Iwould like to reiterate in my own film. Metropolis was made in Germany in the 1920’s. Thesplit of the two classes in this film relates to division of society in my own film. The futuristicbuilding landscapes are something I wish to allude to in my film due to the film’s lastingimpact on me. My ambitions would be to have my film play at independent film festivals aroundthe world. The intended audience would be adult. I wish that my film could transcend allappropriate demographics and everyone would escape into it. This film serves as a personalchallenge to accomplish creating my first film. The utmost achievement for me will be that Iam personally proud of my film. My love for art history and interest in this time period coupled with my passionfor animation and storytelling serves as the foundation of my desire to create this film. Iwould like this film to read as an Otto Dix painting that has come to life, and ultimatelydeath.
Works Cited:Furniss, Maureen. Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics. John Libbey Publishing, 2008.Rewald, Sabine. Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s. MetropolitanMuseum of Art, 2006.