Dan Ojari

Animators exist and work in a pocket of time quite different from that of other filmmakers – a dimension where time wheezes and slows down to miniscule second by second, frame by frame. Take the words of award-winning animator and director Dan Ojari, who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2011:

“What a second is… Brief? Insignificant? Short? Most people don’t really pay too much attention to one.”

Blink, and another second has past that you will likely never miss. It may be argued in reality that sequential time is fabricated, but that’s exactly what an animation is: a sequence of events flickering by, capturing moments in time.

Perhaps Ojari’s keen insight as cinematic keeper of time is why his RCA graduate short film Slow Derek was a tale about the quintessential everyman: an office worker going through the gestures of every banal second of the day even as he begins to suspect that Earth is, slowly, leaving him behind. Slow Derek has garnered numerous awards and critical acclaim, from the Visual Science Award at the UCD Imagine Science Film Satellite Festival to the Grand Prix of Animayo and Animated Encounters.

As Derek rides his scheduled train or sits at his desk, we feel a sense of complacency that is suddenly interjected with uncanny visions of a spinning void. Ojari comments that the film is “very much about relativity and the contrast between the mundane and the colossal. The starting point was after I became particularly fascinated with how fast the earth is travelling, especially because we don’t feel this speed. We are literally hurtling through space at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour and yet don’t feel a thing. I felt this was, aside from being an amazing actual fact, also was an interesting metaphor for modern day life.”

We feel aligned with the protagonist specifically because he is a vessel for our contemporary fears and suspicions that the world is somehow not what it seems. As we lead what philosopher Henry David Thoreau might call “lives of quiet desperation”, we believe there is a “true” reality slinking amongst us, just out of our grasp. Ojari’s character takes his destiny into his own hands by climbing out of the literal and metaphorical train window and plunging fearlessly into the void.

Red pill or blue pill? In a short eight-minute film, Ojari bundles all of these philosophical questions into a cinematic feast of modeling-clay beauty that mirrors our world and our contemporary neuroses.

To see more of Dan Ojari’s work, visit his website or follow him on Vimeo.

Luiz Stockler

Animation is a difficult game, and one that takes a great deal of time and talent to do even a little of. But when done well, a nicely executed animation can be more arresting and memorable than any simple illustration or art piece. And Luiz Stockler certainly manages to capture the enviable trio of success in his work: style, skill, and (when needed) emotion.

Vovô is my personal favourite example of his work, and it won a variety of awards after it’s first screening in 2011. It’s a heartfelt and very touching short film recounting Luiz’s memories of his Brazilian grandfather – vovô meaning granddad in Portuguese. The style is simple and sketchy, but has a beautiful tone that makes it a powerful piece of animation. However being his graduate film for the University of Wales that he made over two years ago now, Luiz has since moved on to some other really interesting projects, including a looped animation display for RCA’s 2013 Work In Progress show.

Presently Luiz has just (as of two hours previous to me writing this very article) finished Montenegro, his MA graduation film for the Royal College of Art- a film about a young man going through severe depression and anxiety because he’s slowly losing his hair (it also features a brief cameo from Zinedinne Zedan). I have yet to see the final film, but am sure it will live up to the high standard set by his previous work.

You should also take a look at his illustration and sketchbook work, they have a real sketchiness and sense of wit to them that’s lovely to see. Also all of the work mentioned above can be found via the links at the bottom of the page, so go take a looksie.

 

What’s the most recent update on your latest film Montenegro?

Ummm…I’ve literally finished it about an hour ago…YES!

What would you say is the biggest inspiration for you and your work?

I’m pretty inspired by the small things I notice in the everyday world around me. Situations and the humour or poignancy in them. Also, i get ideas from things I read or hear, poetic phrases or combinations of words resonate with me quite a lot, my illustrations have a strong relationship with words. Most of my work generally starts off as being a series of anecdotes that I have written down in my book, sort of like sketches, and at some point I get them all together and write something with it

Your illustrations are also really accomplished pieces with a great sense of style- was choosing between animation and illustration, or even fine art perhaps, ever a significant choice for you?

Actually no. ‘Art’ or ‘Fine Art’ always sounded so serious to me – As a kid, the idea of people scratching their chins before deciding to pay ridiculous amounts for a pile of bricks seemed insane. I just liked making comics and drawing obscene things in my books. Then I discovered Hiroshige and Lowry when I was about 15, that totally changed my perspective on what was ‘Art’. The little people in Hiroshige’s paintings reminded me of Herge’s drawings in the Tintin books. There was playfulness and humour (just like the pile of bricks…) and these were drawings from a few hundred years ago. I remember thinking how amazing they were. But yeah…fine art never crossed my mind really…I love art so much and I get a lot of inspiration from painters, sculptors etc..but it still sounds too serious now. Animation/illustration, a lot of the time, makes me think of childhood and fun…which is awesome

What does the immediate future hold for your career?

I’m graduating at the end of the month from the Royal College of Art so I guess I’ll be freelancing (unemployed) until further notice…but hopefully Montenegro will get into some festivals and I can travel and with it and see audiences enjoy it…or not

And finally, do you have any favourite musicians or bands you like to listen to whilst working?

Lately I have been rinsing the new Daft Punk album – Random Access Memories, its really great. I also listen to a lot of Devendra Barnhart. When I really need to concentrate and focus, I prefer to listen to podcasts rather than music – Radiolab has kept me entertained the past few weeks, you can learn a lot whilst animating

LINKS

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