About me and my animation
In 1998 after I finished math high school where I specialized in French, computer graphics and basic programing, I came to America to pursue “the dream.” I followed my foolish passion for all things art, literature, and philosophy. By 2007 I have completed my Bachelors (Boise State University, Boise, ID) and Masters degrees in Fine Arts Studio Painting and Drawing. You may ask yourselves, how this hardcore oil painter, in love with technology and all things moving, turned into an animator? I am immensely grateful to the Fine Arts Program at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN) that nurtured my new venture. My films would never have been materialized had I missed the opportunity to take all at the same time “Puppetry in Theater” class with Michael Sommers, “Narrative Video” with Lynn Lucas, and “Sound Art” workshop with Abinadi Meza.
Finding (A)way’s story is not far from the themes of my paintings. My work stems from my life experiences and the stories we share with each other every day – the ones full of joy and the ones we find ourselves wallowing in sorrow – yearning, dreaming, hoping, remembering, and indulging in bouts nostalgia.
The world of animation I found to be a great place to tell a story. I don’t think of the work as animation as much as a series of moving paintings, rich in color and textures. The importance of mark making and surface (mis)treatment is evident in my paintings. I try to translate that tactile experience in the flatness of the digital projections.
Why do you like animation?
Making things move that other wisely are static is magical. Anything becomes possible. Art making, creating, bringing things to life – what else is there?
Other arts I do that inform my animation?
I will always will be a painter and that is why color and texture and very important elements in my films. I don’t perform in figure theater, although what I learned in shadow puppetry finds its way in the picture as well. I grew up around puppeteers, actors, filmmakers, and artists of all kinds, so I take advantage of any chance I have to see live theater and art in person. I am an avid reader and for the last few years I have been experimenting with writing; have been very self-conscious about my “words” but that is an element I want to add to my animations to strengthen the story. Before I was introduced to oil painting, I worked extensively with dry and wet media, collage, pastels, incorporating fabrics, found objects, and sand so there is a connection between that experience and building the sets, painting them, sculpting heads and dressing the puppets. Plus I always wanted to have a doll house as a kid and perhaps creating all these environments is making up for it.
About my short
Finding (A)way tells a story about a female character that escapes her oppressive home country to find herself in a similar version of her past hell in the land of her dreams. In the begging she is gutting fish and when she lands in her new world she ends up selling that fish, working in a fast food fish shack. There is a next chapter in the works. Ending on a nihilistic note was bugging me so I have plans to continue working on the film by adding spoken and written word along the new ending.
Jan Švankmajer, The Brothers Quay, Jirí Barta (Toys in the Attic), Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Team America), Donyo Donev along with other Bulgarian animators, the artists behind Madame Tutli-Putli, Peter and the Wolf. Along with raising my little boys I am constantly exposed to the latest animation on Sprout network where life footage, computer animation often blends such as the work by the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio.
Minnesota and Animation
I am not part of the professional animation world so the answer to this question comes from the point of view of a young mother – all I need to animate is free time and enough sleep. Minnesota has great schools and more financial support for artists than other places. Big part of this short has been supported by an Artist Initiative State Arts Board Grant. My film studio is in my basement so I will stick around these lands for a bit longer because of the above reasons. I would love to also connect with other local film/animating creatives in my area, talk shop and learn more.