Happy Holidays!

December 15, 2011

Body Language – Holiday

November 20, 2011

It’s been quite a while since I last updated, but here’s what I’ve been working on for the last couple months. Produced for Body Language/ OM Records.

Produced By Rosa Tran
Directed by Harry Chaskin & Duke Johnson
Animation by Harry Chaskin, Ashley Archeiga, Michael Granberry
Art Direction by Robyn Yannoukos
Puppets by Becky Van Cleve
VFX by John Ikuma and Derek Smith
DP Joe Passerelli

Laughing Fish

March 21, 2011

I’m a huge fan of Batman The Animated Series.  Dark, dramatic, and deco, the show undoubtedly raised the bat-bar for television animation.  One of my favorite episodes is The Laughing Fish,  a darkly screwball story penned by Paul Dini, which features a slew of smiling sea-life that have succumbed to the Joker’s toxic laughing gas.   Biological feasibility aside, the result is wonderfully creepy.

Joker Fish

Given my fondness for the episode, I thought it would be fun to re-create one of the Joker’s laughing fish as a wall-mounted trophy, sculpted in the animated style.  Here are some pictures of the process….

Cartoon Litter

March 15, 2011

Because No One Asked…

March 13, 2011

Heart-Felt

March 11, 2011

Kermit the Frog

Made this little doodle in an effort to loosen up, as I’ve been feeling creatively blocked all week. Always found Jim Henson to be inspiring.

I recently had the pleasure of creating the stop-motion animation for Tremendosaur’s new sketch, ‘Special Eating Society’.

As one of three teams chosen to participate in the First Annual Funny or Die Sketch Competition, Justin Michael and Jacob Reed (Tremendosaur) had only one week to produce the entire sketch…Which meant I had just a few short days to fabricate, animate, and composite the final shots!  Check it out and vote ‘Funny’ if you like it!

My quick-n-dirty concept sketch for the final shot– Taking inspiration from Bosch and this Belgian School painting of The Temptation of St. Anthony.

The puppets are traditional foam build-ups, with armatures made of aluminum wire and some scrap wood I had lying around. The blue monster’s under-skull is Epoxy with Sculpey teeth. I didn’t have time to sculpt a custom skin-texture so I stippled latex directly onto an orange peel to create his skin. The bird-creature’s body is craft-fur that I glued onto a styrofoam egg and styled with hairspray.  The jaw is latex and cotton. And the fork is just Sculpey, a chopstick, and pieces of a paperclip.

Both the bird-creature’s wings and Baby Cthulu were fabricated by the very talented Michael Granberry.

Screen-shot of the two main puppets before compositing.

Fun Fact: Al, the dinosaur from Bygone Behemoth, makes a cameo in the final sketch, but he’s in disguise… WATCH IT and see if you can spot him!

Nostalgic For Nostalgia

February 22, 2011

From Kane to Crystal Skulls, And Beyond the Post Modern

A few years ago at Korea’s Pusan film festival, painter-turned-curmudgeon Peter Greenaway declared cinema officially deceased.  Time of death: September 31, 1983, the result of “remote control zappers” being introduced to living rooms across the globe.  “Cinema is [still] predicated on the 19th-Century novel,” Greenaway lamented.[i]

The Prototype: Faceless Inquirer reporter Jerry Thompson wanders the long corridors of a vast warehouse, his search for “Rosebud” having come to an anti-climactic end.  Massive stacks of crates sprawl towards an impossible vanishing point.  They disappear into stygian obscurity faster than they can be counted thanks to the cinematic trickery of an elegant matte painting.

The Parody: Forty years later, Indiana Jones stashes the Arc of the Covenant in an equally vast warehouse for safekeeping.  Though the MacGuffin has changed, the matte painting is virtually identical.  Steven Spielberg has conjured the ghost of Orson Welles, visually equating Kane’s fate with the fate of the world.  In true postmodern fashion, Spielberg imitates “dead styles, [and speaks] through the masks and with the voices of the styles in the imaginary museum… the imprisonment of the past.”[ii] Rather than attempting to create an aesthetic representation of his current (1981) experience, Spielberg falls back upon a forty-year-old image to conclude his film.  The parody is charmingly ironic given the subject matter—Jones has quashed the potential threat of a tangible historical relic and the world is once again safe because we have locked up history and forgotten about it.

The Problem: Thirty years later the warehouse lights flicker on once again.  A crowbar pries open a large crate, clumps of excelsior brushed aside.  Within: The corpse of the Roswell Alien, and the start of a new adventure for our intrepid archeologist. The act of unearthing the mythic, extraterrestrial relic evokes the resurrection of the Jones series itself, the lore and mythology of which is similarly steeped in America’s consciousness.  One need only mention the word “Roswell” to evoke images of aliens and government conspiracy, just as the sight of a dusty brown fedora screams “Indy”.  .Boasting a familiar structure and recognizable faces, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull attempts to pick up where the original series left off.  But the overwhelming consensus is that the film scarcely glimpses the artistic success of its predecessors.  Aesthetic considerations have changed, yet we are still in the same damned warehouse!

Read the rest of this entry »

Flashbulb Flashback

February 8, 2011

With digital technology fast becoming the gold-standard for modern media, it’s easy to forget that celluloid was, in fact, the only option just a few years ago.  In the spirit of nostalgia, here are a few scans of some good old fashioned prints I made during my high school days.  All double-exposure effects were produced by sandwiching negatives in the darkroom.

The tactile memory of producing these photographs far outweighs their (dubious) artistic merit, but so be it. There was something mysterious and wonderful about the high school darkroom: The distinct smell of photo-chemicals, the slow methodical click of a anachronistic bakelite egg-timer, red light that was somehow both soothing and volatile.  It was sanctuary, a last bastion of privacy in an otherwise painfully public place. Arcane, alchemical, and cool–Where anybody with a camera could go to make art, make out, and find a little peace and quiet.

Drawing Under The Influence

February 3, 2011

Drinkin’ Jack Daniels, Thinkin’ Jack Kirby…

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