Before 'Transfigured': 1993-96 & KNO interview
- Publication date
- surrealism, biomorph, Desmond Morris, painting, animated paintings, Canadian, facial warping, early digital animation, bitmap animation, making of, Autodesk Animator Pro, identity, avant-garde, KNO, Knowledge Network
This compilation of short animated films shows the work that led up to the making of Transfigured. These films and interstitials are studies in making maximal use of Autodesk Animator Pro and morphing software for short 2D animation output to VHS videotape, before embarking on the three-year production of Transfigured, which animated the paintings of Jack Shadbolt, as a high-resolution 35-mm film made in Animator Pro (8-bit color). The originals are all VHS videocassettes with the soundtrack added after recording the animation because .FLC files do not contain synchronized sound. Works include:
The Recess (1994) portrays a teen identity crisis in the idiom of the modern satiric grotesque, intended to provoke discussion. It deals with discrimination and the problem of social identity, as seen most strongly among adolescents. Facial features were animated by digital 2D warping. Faces also appear to turn sideways in pseudo-3D.
Hybrid Vigour (1994) animates the surreal "biomorphs" created by celebrity zoologist Desmond Morris in his paintings. Morris wrote in The Secret Surrealist: "My greatest desire is to jump through the frame of one of my paintings, like Alice through the looking-glass, and disappear forever into my surreal world." To that end, he wrote a novel Inrock, where a boy enters a bizarre world inside the rocks, inhabited by creatures like his biomorphs. But he felt that ultimately the inclusion of dialogue had forced him to anthropomorphize his biomorphs -- they became Disneyfied versions, lacking the serious intentions of his paintings. The inscription on the copy of Inrock that Morris sent in appreciation reads: "To Stephen Arthur, who, for a few brief moments, brought Inrock to life!" Morris loved the sounds his creatures made in the film. A clip from Hybrid Vigour appeared in the BBC2 Personal Passions Series II - Episode One: Desmond Morris - The Surrealist, 1999. Zoologist Morris is author of The Naked Ape and The Human Zoo, host of many TV specials, art curator, and a world-class surrealist painter since the time of the original Surrealist group. Paintings were redrawn in Animator Pro and transformed, with permission from Morris, from reproductions in the book The Secret Surrealist.
The compilation includes several animated interstitials. All animation and sound by Stephen Arthur. Original music score for Hybrid Vigour by Georg Schulze. Compilation © 1993-1996 Stephen Arthur.
The making of Transfigured (1996) The second half of this compilation is a mini-documentary or news segment produced by The Knowledge Network (KNO) interviewing Arthur on the making of the animated film Transfigured based on transformations of the paintings of Jack Shadbolt. It includes an interview with the late Jack Shadbolt. Intended as a “bagger” to air on a live episode of “Studio BC” if time permitted, this television segment was, unfortunately, never aired. Because this educational documentary has long been unavailable from authorized sources, the person featured in the video, filmmaker Stephen Arthur, has posted it here as fair use to memorialize, preserve, and rescue the experience and cultural phenomenon. The un-aired segment was digitized from a VHS videocassette.
Touched Alive (1996) was extended to become the NFB production Transfigured (1998).
“The restlessness of Shadbolt’s paintings is nowhere better reflected than in a tiny-perfect video that accompanies the exhibition… The paintings hum and pulse and mutate into one another. The message that art is never finished comes through loud and clear in Arthur’s remarkable etude.” -- Michael Scott, Vancouver Sun Art Critic
“…a mesmerizing and haunting film that not only does justice to the artist, but also lingers a hundred times longer than its two minute running time… The most powerful animation I’ve seen in a while. If it doesn’t get submitted to the academy, it’ll be a crime.” –Dan Ireland, Northwest Film Festival 1996
- 2020-06-05 19:51:53
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