MFA Thesis – Excerpt 16

“In the summer of 2015, I participated in the Boundary Crossings Institute. This occasioned the creation of my first conceptually driven animation. At the gallery opening, I overheard a great conversation between a “mixed” couple regarding immigration. I was both pleased and surprised that my work prompted this discussion.

Originally, I wanted to create a short film [before finishing the MFA program] with high quality rendering and animation. Technology allows for such an endeavor to be accomplished by a single artist. I am now concentrating on a single scene out of the 13 minute short film I scripted, complete with audio, VFX, texturing and painting. Once the MFA program is finished, I will go into full production to create the 13 minute pilot and script 12 more episodes for future production.”

From that experience with the Boundary Crossings I realized that the power of animation to make people think of social issues was stronger than I anticipated. So I set out to re-direct my short film to cause just that.

Below you can see one of the vehicles for the short film (in process). It is meant to be a vehicle for security forces. Not so much a “military” or police force, but a security/safety one. After all, it is supposed to be a dysfunctional “utopia” story.

MFA Thesis – Excerpt 15

“I was confronted with the idea of conceptual animation in the fine arts at PNCA. Coming from the commercial side of animation, I felt the necessity to change my goal to accommodate more conceptual elements into my animation project. I found the prospect unappealing and unconsciously resisted the change. I eventually realized that I was concerned by the prospect of loosing my voice to the spontaneous and accidental nature I perceived as the base of the abstractions presented in the examples of fine art animations to which I was exposed. I learned that the feeling of unease I had was due to the questioning of the tropes I was accustomed to in the commercial arts, and the strict control of the visuals required to deliver the message. It is at this juncture that I realized that conceptual animation does not require that the work be nonrepresentational or even accidental. Method and technique can be conceptual, but so can subject matter and theme. With this realization, my vision of Traces changed from a Disney-like film into an almost fully abstract animation and back to a representational artwork that became a tool to fight insidious social indoctrination.”

MFA Thesis – Excerpt 14

“The past two years [MFA program years] were filled by explorations that helped me find my voice. I started revisiting skills in traditional sculpture, and used those skills to redesign and find my characters. At first, I was falling into the tropes of Hollywood and Disney that I was trying to leave behind. Then, with the guidance and mentoring of Caitlin Kunkel, I turned the 120 page script into a 13 page short film script. And—for the first time in 20 plus years—the story had a title: Traces.”