Monday, 30 January 2012

Listening to Liz Green....

or more precisely....Liz Green's latest album "O Devotion"
A dark and musical lady.... mmn... folk blues they all say? Don't know.
We's do love it.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Thauma-Thauma-Thaumatropes

Qu'est-ce que le thaumatrope?
Mmmn.... "Thauma" = Greek for "Magic"; "Trope" = "something that turns". Therefore it be a "magic turn" innit.

Or rather tis a Victorian toy made from a disc with an image on either side of it and a thread at each side. When you rub the thread between your fingers it turns the disc and the images combine to form the illusion of one combined image... owing to the "persistence of vision". And I been playin around making some. Cos I like wasting time like that. Mrs D would also tell you that they share this persistence of vision thing with the animation malarky.

And when I was a youthy girl at art college way back then in the late 1960s... I did rather like the "optical" approach to paintings. This made me be considered a bit of a freak by the self-expressionful tutors. And so I was shut into a small studio with the only other student in the college who made optical paintings or Op-Art as they used to call it.
My days at art college were largely ruined by the tutors.

But then, they did not share my persistence of vision.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Mrs D Makes Her Creations Jump















So Mrs D has been playing with us "actors". Look at these poor fellas. Jumping for joy. Yeah. Right.

Mrs D is saying that she is still in search of a low tech "tie-down"...

And before this conjures up unsavoury images of Mrs D in black rubber...

...let me explain that this is a method of fixing an animation puppet to the "Set" base so that it stays put whilst it is animated.... and methods can range from wingnuts on threaded rods... to magnets...
Anyway Mrs D is always searching for some lazy way of doing it.

So this little display is a tester to see which of us can stay upright on one foot, paw, etc. Which is more than I can say for Mrs D after several glasses of red.

See she's finally added a Dog to the crew? It's very hairy.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

January Blues

Can't seem to get going on anything.
Add to this the appearance of a new wrinkle on the phyzog each day.... not to mention the whiskers on the chin.....

Despond and Sloth descends....

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Dreamlife: Moth and Mother

Well I never....
I's dreaming of a huge day-flying moth, brightly coloured. What is its name think I?
Everything is very sunny and bright colours. (Makes a change.)

I lean out of an upstairs window in a row of terraced houses. Across the street is all green grass - like a park or common ground...
I can hear a voice coming from the house down there at the end of the row. It's the voice of my long dead mother.... tellin' someone off.

Hello Mum!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Shifting Sands: Guy Martin

The Old Man and me goes off to Falmouth last Friday - to catch one of the last days of an exhibition of Guy Martin's photos of Egypt and Libya during the Arab Spring conflict. The exhibition was at The Poly there... and sorry it's already closed cos it was only on for a week!

Guy Martin is a young photographer who was seriously injured in the same rocket attack in Libya that killed his two companions, documentary maker and photographer Tim Hetherington, and US photographer Chris Hondros.

The photos are good, the whole thing moving. I's struck by two photographs of Egyptian protestors racing through Cairo. In one - squares of paper briefing the protestors on the chants and slogans drift through the air around them. There are also some beautiful, almost abstract photos of the patterns left by fire... one a burnt out room with scorched filing cabinets, another the pattern of blast on the tarmac surface of a road after a Molotov cocktail has exploded.

The Old Man prefers a more narrative approach and is struck by a photo of three young man standing in front of a building: one peers round the corner, the next stands behind him holding a gun and almost touchingly out of place with his glasses and flip-flop sandals, finally another young man stands nervously behind both, studying them. There is another photo that The Old Man picks out with a young fighter crouching near the floor against the wall inside a building, he is looking up at a window, the light falling through it catches his eyes and lights them up.

Sorry that the exhibition was so brief and couldn't pass on the info earlier, but you can see some of Guy Martin's work at his own website here.

And speaking personally... I long for stuff to be exhibited down here that's national or international. It's all so Cornwall-centric......
I'll get told off for that won't I.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Don't Open That Cardboard Box

Been helpin' Mrs D clear up her room to get things out the way for workmen putting in a new window.
One can't resist pokin' around in the boxes in the name of clearing out stuff. It's not a great idea. Comin' across pictures of a thinner younger self in earlier days.

See? Sunny days in the East End of London... meditatin' in the back garden. Woo-woo, light the old incense. Get ready to chill out wiv the friends... a bit of a film at the old Scala....

Nostalgia, nostalgia.... boo-hoo.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Happy New Procrastination

That Mrs D is just sitting there today... kind of stunned.
It's post-Christmas. The sun has appeared briefly about two days out of the last sixty... and she doesn't know what to do first.

So... as I say... she be just sitting there staring into space, surrounded by crime books as per usual.

I think she be yearning to get them animation puppets out, and the webcam and the laptop.... But she says that the animation that she had roughed out was another Christmas one. (What is this thing with Mrs D and Christmas?)

Of course for me... work is work.. I don't care if it is another Christmas one or not - as long as I's the star... which she assures me I would be.

Then she says that...
A) She has to do something about the garden which is a sea of mud and brambles.
B) Workmen are coming to fit some new windows after one fell apart in her hands the other week. (Constant rain... rubbish wood...Hem-hem.. Not much maintenance, say I.)
C) She has to make room for things to be cleared away from in front of the windows...
D) It's January and she hasn't seen the sun for a lo-o-ong time.

Think she's got the January Blues.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Woo-Woo of Jung's Synchronicity

So here we are. I'se finally viewing my DVD of Czech animator Jan Svankmajer's film "Alice"... very weird and wonderful. Knowing full well that Mrs D is still trying to make out that she will be animating again soon.

And this, in turn, causes The Old Man to uncover my DVD of animations by the Brothers Quay, that enigmatic pair of identical animating and film-making twins who paid mucho homago to Svankmajer.

Now The Brothers Quay also made a live action film called "Institute Benjamenta" which was in turn inspired by a novel called "Jakob von Gunten" written by Swiss writer Robert Walser.

And Mrs D be struck all of a heap whilst reading a novel for review in which the lead character quotes details of The Institute Benjamenta from Walser's novel.

Meanwhile I is also reading my new graphic novel purchase: "Pyongyang" by Guy Delisle which turns out to be his account of working in North Korea as... as... an ANIMATOR!!

All roads currently lead to animation.

It's that Swiss thing innit? Carl Jung - Swiss psychiatrist and analyst.... with his theory of synchronicity.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Graphic Passions: RIP Ronald Searle 1920-2011

For a girl like I... and of my particular generation... Ronald Searle was an all pervading influence on humour and drawing style.. And to all those younger things out there...which includes just about everybody... maybe you don't realise how far Searle's "Style and Zeitgeist" reached. I think that Searle fed into Scarfe, John Lennon, maybe into Monty Python even. In Britain, there was a generation who came through after WWII to create a surreal world of humour that fed the following generation (Think "The Goon Show" with Sellers, Milligan, Bentine, Secombe.. the wonderful Gerard Hoffnung with his own cartoons and anarchic music festival. Rowland Emett and his crazy kinetic sculptures.) A lot of this stuff caught fire and led into the anarchy and satire of 1960s humour, which has maybe blasted it's 1950s parent generation out of the fame it deserves.

Searle was a serious artist whose recording of his own experiences in a Japanese POW camp led to the doubtless forbidden act of drawing. That's just how necessary drawing was for Searle. But today everyone thinks of Searle and St Trinian's... (And I really could not begin to cope with the 2007 film of St Trinian's.... It's the 1950s you see, you just had to be there.) I was brought up with his boys' skool equivalent, St. Custard's - a collaboration with Geoffrey Willans. As I peer into my copy of "Down with Skool", I realise how much of everything I laughed at as a skool-girl was down to Searle and his generation of artists: my own doodles.. the line... the characters that look out from the page at you....

There's a Ronald Searle Tribute site here. Click through and acquaint yourself with more of Searle's work. His really was a great contribution to cartoons, drawing and illustration.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Whale Eating Fish

Mmmn. I am a simple soul. If you haven't guessed this already. With the pure heart of a child. A-hem...
So one of my favourite gifts of the season, given to me by The Old Man, is a tin toy called "Whale Eating Fish".

Simple me thought that the name on the box meant that the toy represented that very thing... some kind of spunky little fish creature capable of swallowing a giant aquatic mammal aka "a whale".
Wow! That would be some toy.

But No. This Chinese-made toy has a name transformed in translation. It is in fact meant to be a whale that is eating a fish. In my defence, it has to be said that this whale looks mighty like a carp.

It is a hilarious toy for simple-minded souls like me. Hilarious and grim. You pull Small Fish out from Big Fish's mouth... on its cord.... and set them both down on a flat surface... Let go and ... Whoosh... Big Fish pursues Small Fish... and with grim inevitability ... swallows it up into its mouth... Where you found it in the first place.
This is a horribly circular story. Not least when... as pointed out by The Old Man... the engine of destruction for Small Fish is itself... Small Fish being the toy's motor that drags the momentous Big Fish behind it... leading to Small Fish's own inevitable and unhappy fate.

There must be a lesson in there for some of us.