How short?

Lockdown has altered the nature of time. Milestones have been taken away, markers that differentiated monday from wednesday, schoolday from holiday; and even daytime from night. Some of us succumbed to the peer-pressure to "make better use of this time we have been given". I saw an opportunity to do something different, to grasp for positivity, to keep from going stircrazy and studied an online course in comic books. I don't really like comic books. But the idea of clarity-with-economy in communication, of identifying keyframes in a narrative; and the ease of using speech bubbles instead of having to worry about voiceovers, lipsynch and SFX was very appealing. Instead I have learnt a lot about mark-making with a limited palette (Black. White. That's it, no grey. No chiroscura, sfumato or other posh words for shading. No mimping.) and oh joy a rapid turnover to deadline. A story in 6 frames. 4 frames. a single frame. Published instantly and for anyone who wants it (because people need cheering up, because we want to stay in contact and posting amusing pictures of shed stops me ranting about the obscenities of the current world situation) Tune in every morning to see who likes it. who "Likes" it. who likes me.

Maybe I'll draw 365 and make a book.
Maybe this is a commercial venture.
maybe I need a BIG project as well as a quick one...

But is it art (my inner Foundation Studies Tutor enquires)?
But is it beautiful? But does that matter? I look at the work of other artists, including some I studied at Artschool with and think, Oh that's beautiful, that's art, why can't I do that. Catching myself out thinking that if it's funny or accessible it's not really "art".

Well, alright then, I'm going to make an animation that is funny, beautiful and a tiny bit profound. Just watch me.

Fortunately there are still several years of house arrest under lockdown to accomplish this.


How long, how much more long?

Making animations takes forever. Ideas come faster than the work; sometimes that means the film changes part way through, as your ideas evolve, which is not helpful.
Make shorter quicker films? or be prepared for endless circular editing?
Or make something else: a stained glass doodah, a new design for the website, a mosaic.
I need shorter deadlines for a sense of satisfaction, for more joy.

My PhD tutor used to talk about the notion of "sustainable passion". There is something to explore in the tension between things worth waiting for/ things which are BIG and deeply satisfying, and things which are easily won and smaller. But can we have BIG moments more often? more quickly? Or some kind of middle ground. Is everything worth having, hard work to achieve? (Probably) But does it have to take so long??
What we all need is more joy. More of those profound and positive experiences. Sadly, most people settle for the more easily obtained anger and outrage. Creating things really is better for your mental health.


Strong is the new... sexism

Cactus is completed.
It turned out to have a coherent narrative - which, obviously, was not the one I had written and storyboarded (however sparsely) for it.
Once again I seem to created a hero who is an old lady with a bun. Once again I seem to have created a story about an artist/ the power of art.

I can't decide whether that is
a. sloppy thinking, just looking at what's right in front of me or
b. authenticity, speaking about what I know, understand and feel strongly about
or maybe c. both of the above plus there aren't that many animations about old ladies but the ones I have seen - notably Belleville Rendezvous- have been fabulous. so
I like making films about women and there aren't enough of these
I like heroes who are NOT physically strong or beautiful or overly sexualised...

which leads me to the thought: Why do I SO hate that advert: "Strong is the new beautiful" After years of being told we must be beautiful to have worth, women are now being told that strength makes us beautiful. A Post-feminist loophole that means men can appear to be less obsessed with our outward appearance to the exclusion of any inner characteristics, achievements and skills, yet still berate us for not fitting their model. Beautiful may now have more diverse forms but it is still compulsory.
Sod that.
At least when you are 80 people stop demanding that you are beautiful, sexy, available-for-objectification and physical strength is not expected/ but mental strength and a fierce independence can be appreciated as a somewhat shortage commodity...

So - old lady heroes to the fore! (and no thank you, we do not like the word Heroine. That is a badly-spelled narcotic. Nor the word Shero, which is a tautology since the Hero (personal name) of classical mythology was a woman. and since most of the heros I know are women)
Since you ask, I'm not 80 - nowhere near. But when I am, I expect to still be making animations, possibly about 100-year-old women.