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Stop Motion

Animation: To fill with life. 

It is abundantly clear in my stop motion work that I have no formal training in animation. I come to stop motion by way of live puppetry, years and years of physically moving handmade figures of various sizes and kinds through actual (usually cramped) physical space. I can't physically handle the big puppets anymore but stop motion has become a happy alternative.
In the late 70's when I began, puppetry was a very small niche on the sidelines of live theater and early television; I've enjoyed watching as the form has shifted and changed, becoming part of the visual vocabulary of the culture. I admire and appreciate the work of artists like Nick Park, Wes Anderson, and Tim Burton, and I look forward to each new film as it appears after years of painstaking work on the part of hundreds of amazing, artists, editors, and animators. The films they create, with their flawless natural movement and perfect miniature worlds, is astonishing in its detail …
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Making Fun

Funny

1. intended to arouse laughter or amusement
2. suspiciously odd or curious

I’ve made pictures since early childhood, and from the very beginning I delighted in making fun of everything. Premature exposure to Monty Python and the Holy Grail certainly nurtured the impulse. I tried so hard to be serious, but nature would out. In art school I did my best to be brooding and dark. Art history taught me that mankind’s greatest painting pretty much boiled down to two things:

1. Earnest religious scenes 

2. Modern existential randomness. 

Painting was supposed to be deadly serious. Especially modern art - so VERY serious - but who wants to look at it, really? Of course there are geniuses that stand out and whose work I love, but as a whole, ugh. It’s cathartic (or profitable) for the artist, but man, so grim. When I graduated, my angst-y paintings had kind of run their course. There were only so many naked, monolithic, tortured, monochromatic men that one guy can paint. So when the city of B…

Words on the Page

Read: To examine or grasp the meaning of.
Recently a friend asked us (to settle a bet) how many books we have in the house. A quick, rough count brought us to approximately 1200. That figure doesn't tell the whole story. I'm known at the library for wearing out my card. We don't buy a book and put it on the shelf here until we've already read it and know that we either want to share it, reference it, or read it again; the books on our shelves are well-worn and seldom gather dust. 
Reading is ubiquitous in the life of our family; we read alone and together, silently and aloud, on the porch, at lunch, in bed. It's not unusual for us to spend an evening in the living room working on various projects while one of us reads out loud. One of our boys used to take a book and a chair out to the coop and read with the chickens and the ducks in the run.  
For me, reading and writing are closely related. I'm a reader who writes; those two activities have similar roles in the …

Thoughts on Collaboration with the Poulenc Trio

We're excited about this recent interview with Bryan Young & Irina Kaplan Lande of The Poulenc Trio.

Art in Boxes

Confinement: The time preceding the birth of a child.

No one wants to be put in a box. Boxes are confining. They hold you to a particular shape, prevent you from exploring, keep things out of your reach. We don't like boundaries in our culture, not at all.

But artists need boundaries to do their best work. When I collect small objects and arrange them together in a box, their proximity to each other changes the meaning of each individual piece. Together they tell stories or ask questions with more thickness and depth than what each is able to convey on its own. The cut paper interiors I've been working on this month benefit from being confined to a space that's only big enough to reveal small parts of a room; it forces a particular lens and calls attention to details the viewer might otherwise miss.

Poetry works the same way. Compressed language presents us with startling layers of images, emotions, and ideas. Drawings and paintings have edges. Music has structure and form.…

November 2017: Music!

Flick: 1. A light, quick blow, jerk, or tap. 2.A story told through a series of continuously projected pictures and a sound track.
We're saturated with imagesevery day – photographs, movies, advertisements, games. I often wonder  how many of us exist in our own minds as the main character in a film with our favorite music following us from place to place throughout the day? 
Barely one hundred years ago, silent films, accompanied by live piano music, introduced us to the idea of people as pictures that move and tell stories; music heightened the emotional effect, smoothed them out, moved them along. Digital technology now makes these moving pictures available on screens in our pockets. People and pictures are inextricably entwined in our culture, and music, untethered from its source, subtly underscores our every move. We seldom even think about it, it's just there. As creators of music and images, Alden and I are very aware of those things in the space around us, particularly in …

Tintin and the Adventures of the Influenced Artist

Thundering Typhoons: an exclamation of dismay. 
When I was a child one of my favorite things was HergĂ©’s Tintin series; I read these graphic novels over and over again till the books were falling apart. Tintin is a young reporter who has swashbuckling adventures, visits mysterious tombs and secret places, outwits bad guys, and ends up in chase scenes through exotic city markets all over the world. The first one I read was called Tintin in Tibet. By the time I was twelve I had read almost all of themWhen I went off to art school and then became an artist, I forgot about Tintin, but ten years later I had kids of my own and I pulled them out again. The boys never got tired of hearing me read Tintin in funny accents and voicesand it wasn’t unusual to hear one of them holler “Thundering typhoons” as they raced around outside on adventures. Now I’m thinking about Tintin not as great reading, but as great art.
The illustrations are striking. There’s a particular palette of colors I associate…