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Artist in Residence with the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation

September 2014

***

I had the absolute luxury of having a whole studio to myself for a month to work away in. I used my time to explore a kind of puppetry for animation I have been thinking about. I developed some concepts, puppets, and material for a short I am playing around with, The Fish and the Bicycle, about a Fish and Bicycle that fall in love. My friend Barb Hall came to me with the idea, and I love drawing fishes and bikes, so it seemed like a good fit.
So I tried to figure out the best way to animate these two characters. I made up a few different kinds of puppets, and eventually settled on a more solid paper puppet made with card stock, watercolour paper, gouache paint, puppet wire, and magnets. The bike is a hell of a lot harder to animate than the fish, I discovered. It might be faster to just draw it – so hard to give an angular puppet like that an animated bounce.

I played around with some other puppet figures and various techniques under camera, but all of the cut-out or painted, 2-dimensional variety. I made a lot of camera tests over the month – I feel I discovered more of what doesn’t work in my approach than what does, but some of my experiments were promising. I like paint under the camera on these puppets, it’s so tactile in a way stuff drawn isn’t. But there is a lot of replacement that needs to happen between frames, and making all the bits, in different sizes and perspectives, puppets, etc. is a very time-consuming process. In a way, you lose flexibility with the approach I was taking. But that may not be a bad thing?

Anyway. It was so nice to have a dedicated studio for a month. I really didn’t want to leave.

Calgary Allied Arts Foundation