from little things big things grow

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Synapses, steampunk and shadow puppets.





I have just finished watching this short film by Anthony Lucas. I was amazed. How wonderful it was. I rented it from the library - completed seduced by the cover. The design reminded me of a Tim Burton film , most particularly the Nightmare Before Christmas.

Today with all the ironing piling up around me I popped it on. I like to watch something while I iron. I wasn't entirely sure what the film would be like - I had heard nothing about it. I didnt take long for my synapses to start firing ...steampunk...silhouettes...gothica...iron lace...

The film finished before I had completed the ironing so I watched some of the extras. Most interested was the section about Jaspar Morello's world. Director Anthony Lucas, an Aussie ginger, has a most creative approach. I was captivated. He builds the backdrops using found objects. Oh wow. Synapses again ... Kate O Brian a local photographer has just blogged about her latest steampunk photoshoot - oh so beautiful. Best part is she makes the props herself and seems to always learn a new craft- this time handstiching leather.

Lucas talks about his inspirations being the 1930s King Kong, Jules Verne (obviously) and curiously Lotte Reineger - a German shadow puppeteer who made the first feature length animated film. Another synapses - while in Germany my aunt took me to see a shadow puppet show by local artist Albert Volkl. He makes his puppets, and I got a closer look at these after the show. I saw distinct relationships to linocutting and relief prints in general, ie positive and negative space, and then also like a stencil, ie how do all the elements connect - a black part of space will always need to be connected to another one or else your stencil will become two stencils.

One of Volkl's street lamp designs

So yes, lots of synapses firing today. And what a wonderful film. I am thinking now about the six pieces I hung in the library yesterday. Six new screenprints that use colour. Using colour was strange and confusing for me, as I have always stuck with black and white. But there is always room for change and development. Lucas talks about learning how to incorporate texture into his films and also removing details by using silhouettes. I wonder if I could combine my new themes of gateways and entry points with silhouettes, and dredge up the netting works from the past. I love the idea of making some art that is operational. I think that is why I get so excited about Lucas' film, Kate's photography and Volkl's puppet. They operate outside of the art as objects. Or perhaps its that they consider the space the artwork will inhabit.

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