Probably everyone in the business has heard the saying that animators are shy actors, and I think that’s true in my case. I like telling stories but not public speaking, so animation is perfect for me.
Tell us about your short in this year’s festival.
Nate Sipes of the bluegrass band Pert Near Sandstone wrote this cool song called “Ship of Fools” that recalls this mythic custom originating in Renaissance times of putting all the town crazies on a boat, and sending them down the coast, picking up lunatics until they ran out of places to go, just aimlessly floating and being in a situation that becomes more and more surreal and mad. Kind of like a party bus, but with scurvy and death. This animation illustrates that concept, and was inspired by the paintings of Hieronymous Bosch.
Do you do other kinds of art that inform your animation work?
I like to sketch in ballpoint, and I also do digital illustrations that sometimes end up being concept paintings for animations I’d like to do. My sketchbooks are full of weird characters, and I come up with ideas for stories by building plots around those characters.
Who are some of your favorite/inspirational animators?
My new favorite is the short “Bee and Puppycat” by Natasha Allegri, who was a writer and art director on Adventure Time. Another AT person, Rebecca Sugar, does great work and is on the verge of being the first woman to helm her very own show on Cartoon Network, Steven Universe, so she’s a hero of mine. Stylistically I admire the scratchy art of Heidi Smith, who worked on Paranorman, and Carter Goodrich.
Is Minnesota a good place to do animation? And what do we need here to make it a better place for animation?
Coming from South Dakota, MN is a great place for animation! I really think there’s a solid network of like-minded people in the area, but we need to be more prominent in the film/arts community.