Friday, 13 January 2012

Animation Part 1: my drawing hand

During the first year my nephew Jesse Ash , an accomplished artist and art theorist, introduced me to the work of William Kentridge, the South African artist who spent some time working on sustained animated charcoal drawings. Jesse felt that it combined my enthusiasm for charcoal drawings (that had been instilled largely by Tony Hull's first session on this course) with my background as a film maker. I have been resisting any connection with that part of my creative experience on the grounds that I was not much taken by video art and I felt that my professional sensibilities would get in the way of anything authentic in the way of art. However, the Kentridge videos did get me excited and I had always intended to give it a try.

Following my investment in my hand, its injuries, its bones and, I suppose, its eventual mortality: I thought that I wanted to explore the role my hand plays in my art in general and then, in particular, its role in my struggle to draw and make art. So, it seemed that a charcoal animation might be the way to develop this idea.

I knew enough about the process to know that it is very hard to do without at least some sort of solid stand and lighting and to my intense surprise, I found myself locating and buying a professional copy stand on Ebay, closing the deal on a very reasonable £75. I decided that I was going to restrict myself to still images on a stills camera, rather than use a video camera. These images would be edited in a very basic Microsoft editing programme Windows Live Movie Maker.

This was my first effort:

The wooden hand was one of those artist models that I had been using to help me draw: (actually they don't help much as they don't really resemble a human hand at all, more the hand of  rather poorly constructed robot!).The struggle to draw it was all mine! I resisted the temptation to 'tidy it up', it felt like the odd appearance of the drawing hand itself had a useful foregrounding effect. It does not look like the work of a film maker, and that feels right at this stage.

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