Theo Sparks

During my foundation they assigned us a brief where the main theme was ‘Respect’. We were completely free to interpret this however we wanted and our final outcomes were exhibited in a local art gallery for 2 weeks. Before this project I had been spending most of my time drawing, painting and generally trying to develop my traditional and fine art skills. I had not made an animation for a while and was feeling the urge to animate something.

After watching ‘Procrastination’ by Johnny Kelly, I was immediately inspired to create something in a similar fashion, playing with techniques, ideas and conflicting opinions that make people question what the theme is all about.

I started with making lists, lots of lists about what respect meant to me, respectful things that happen in my life and so on. I came up with lots of things, but ultimately decided that the most interesting ones were the more personal experiences that people encounter every day. I wanted to get more of these gems of respectful actions, so I made a questionnaire about it and handed it out to everyone on the course, gathering everyone’s unique experiences..

After refining them to the most interesting ideas, and putting them in an order that tells a story, I got various people to read my list aloud while being recorded with a microphone, so I could then chop them all up and mix various voices together into one soundtrack.

I wanted the animation to express diversity and variation in everything, which is why I pulled everyone’s ideas and voices together into one seamless experience, it’s also why I tried to incorporate as many techniques as I could think of, which then led me to new techniques Id never tried or even heard of before.

The variety of techniques I incorporated into this include: 2D traditional, 2D digital, traditional cut-out, stop motion and pixilation. Through this I also learned new ways of working and was able to experiment with different ways of achieving the illusion of motion through new mediums and techniques..

Because our course was open to whatever facilities the college had, I decided to take advantage of my access to their laser cutter, I created an animated sequence and laser cut out each frame, and photographed each against a different background (maintaining the cut-outs composition each time).

After experimenting with this I decided to create a full colour animation sequence on the computer, where I then used the colleges high quality printers to print each individual frame out, and went around various areas of the college asking people to hold different frames (in order) while I took their photo (again making sure to maintain a consistent composition of the frame so that it links up fluidly when watching it back).

I was really pleased with the results, and liked the imperfection of the process, the contrast of an animated sequence with the large variation of people in the background, as it cycles through the frames.

All in all, this was a fun way to experiment with ways of doing things, it led me to new ideas which I am still interested in, and am still developing now.