Posts Tagged ‘art’

Nothing is original

I love this quote.

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Aardman Studios

So I’ve decided to keep going with this stop motion animation theme this week. I want to share a few shorts from one of my favorite animation studios, Aardman.  Aardman Studios is a British animation house founded in 1976 by Peter Lord and David Sproxton. They started as a low budget studio making claymation shorts as part of a children’s television series for the BBC.  Their big break came as a result of the work of Nick Park, one of their younger associates.  In 1990, his short Creature Comforts won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film (more on that in a minute).  Park went on to create what is arguably Aardman’s biggest success, the fabulous duo Wallace & Gromit.  Of the three original short films featuring the pair (A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave), two won Oscars.  They’ve even made a feature length film: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.  They’ve also released a series of shorts on the web featuring the two.  Here is one of my favorites:

In 2007, an American-ized version of Creature Comforts was made.  They made 7 episodes but only ever aired 3.  They put it on in an odd time slot, didn’t advertise it well and then wondered why ratings were low.  Instead of letting people come to the program naturally, they booted it early and replaced it with reruns of another sit-com. How some TV executives get to be in charge of ANYTHING is beyond me.  At any rate, I found the new version to be just as hilarious as the original and was sad they never made more. The premise of the show is that the producers went around and interviewed regular people about regular things.  Those voices were then used as the dialog track and animal characters were animated around the conversations.  Each show is centered around a theme (attraction, loss, travel, favorite things to eat and so on).  Here is one of my favorite bits where every one is talking about art:

Aardman also has a bit of a naughty side.  One of my favorite examples of that is a series of shorts called Angry KidAngry Kid is a vile, foul mouthed, booger picking teenager who ends up in all sorts of trouble, much of it entirely of his own making.  The animation technique is actually quite unique.  Instead of an entirely clay character, Angry Kid is a full grown person.  The animation is all done in the face which is a mask that is replaced or changed repeatedly.  The person is moved just like a puppet by the director as you would a clay character.  Here is an example of one of my favorites:

I totally recommend you work your way through the whole series.  Be forewarned – there is a fair amount of naughty language and gross-out situational comedy. If those things don’t bother you, go nuts.  Those things don’t usually do it for me, but some how when it is all done with a British accent, I find it hilarious.  Go fig.

Wonderful Bad Art

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying the site Craftastrophe.  And not just because they came up with a fabulous name.  The site is dedicated to finding the best of the worst art/craft on the web.  My latest favorite is this:

Beethoven Elvis

Now, the art itself is cringeworthy enough.  But what really tips this piece over the edge is that the creator of the piece actually tried to pass it off as a legitimate art success.  From the original posting:

This sculpture is of a young Beethoven and was hand sculpted and hand painted by Titano Art (artists Scott O’Connor and David Kwon)
This sculpture won the 2010 Matthew Hussein Award for Innovation! It was selected from a field of 77 artists, some of whom entered more than one sculpture!
Here is what renowned art critic Adele Padgett had to say about the sculpture at the award ceremony: “These artists have used a very innovative style in this piece. They have achieved extremely accurate proportions but also used blacks where there are already natural shadows and whites where there are already natural highlights for emphasis. A dripping effect on the face also gives the viewer an accurate feeling that Beethoven was a tragic figure. The effect is truly stunning, and I believe Matthew Hussein would be very happy with this year’s winning piece if he were still alive.”
Since nobody knows for sure what Beethoven looked like when he was younger, reference pictures of an older Beethoven, Elvis, and Robert Pattinson were used.


A Google search done by the lovely folks at Craftastrophe shows that none of the people or events named (besides Beethoven, Elvis and Robert Pattinson) actually exist.  It’s all made up!  AND there are plenty of images of the young Beethoven.  But I’m sure there was only one old Elvis statue around to modify so I guess you do what you have to do.

In spite of all of this (or perhaps because of it) the sculpture sold for a whopping $5.50 (plus $34.99 in shipping).  In a strange way, these people really did make some art, just not quite in the way they intended.  They embraced the idea that the inherent value of art comes from who made it and not whether it stirs some response (positive or negative) in the viewer.  So they fabricated a history for their art in order to increase the amount that someone would be willing to pay for it. In this way, the act of selling the art almost becomes performance art, completed when someone buys the work and the story.

It’s also just really funny.

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