Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Pigment of Imagination: film now online in full!

BEFORE WATCHING: Please use headphones to get the best audio experience (built-in laptop speakers will not play any of the important low frequency bass & synth sounds, which ruins the atmosphere of the film!)

Pigment of Imagination is my short animated graduation film, which premiered on Monday 15 June 2009.
It is a 3 minute suspense story inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Jean-Luc Godard, along with an eclectic range of other influences in order to try and create something new and interesting that doesn't conform to the usual animation storylines and commercial restraints.

- Written & Animated by: Andy Macpherson
- Script consultation by: Alan Mason
- Sound Design by: Chris Bathgate
- Woman performed by: Darryl Ryznar
- Woman filmed in Edinburgh by: Andy Macpherson
- Woman's voice by: Moira Paton
- Painter performed by: Andy Macpherson
- Painter filmed in Edinburgh by: Klodya Menting
- Dog performed by: Snoopy
- Dog (Snoopy the beagle) filmed in Budapest by: Annalise Wimmer
- Dog noises by: Sofi
- Thanks to ECA staff: Alan Mason, Marianne Gallagher, Morten Jonmark, Neil Kempsell, Madevi Dailly, Donald Holwill.
- Thanks to: Julia Petitperrin, Alison Cross, Aaron Johnston, Jessica Cope, Natasha Harrison, Lora Jensen, Ewan Green, Owen Rixon, Paul Morris, Chris Gough, Michael Oliver.
- ..."And Thanks to my parents for providing me with food and shelter; and for putting up with my equipment taking over the living room (for the past 12 months!)"
- Special Thanks to: Erica Weiste, Marianne Gallagher, Johanna Wagner.
- Edinburgh College of Art, MCMIX

Lots more information about the development of the film is available by clicking here and then scrolling down the page to access older articles about the development of the film].

The full film can be watched by anyone from my profiles on both Vimeo and YouTube

Friday, 11 December 2009

12fp(s) - painting 13 [SOLD]

When I first got the idea for my 12fp(s) Film-inspired Painting Series I aimed to create 12 paintings based upon films I found influential while producing my short animated graduation film [called Pigment of Imagination - click here to watch the trailer] at Edinburgh College of Art last year. However I soon found myself painting stills from films I had not yet seen (for example Gun Crazy and Belle de Jour), or painting stills from films that I didn't enjoy too much (like The Match Factory Girl) just because the still looked like an interesting challenge.

A month after creating my first Film-inspired watercolour painting (from Jean-Luc Godard's A Bout de Souffle) I found myself with the full series of 12 Film-inspired paintings; and a lot of spare time...
Having enjoyed working on this series (that merged my interests in Film and Painting) I decided to create some more Film-inspired paintings, and in mid-October I had created the 13th painting - as seen at the top of this blog post, which is taken from Sergio Leone's Fistful of Dollars.

While working on this piece I was given my first solo painting exhibition at the Filmhouse cinema in Edinburgh for the month of November.
The exhibition (of this series) has since been extended until the end of 2009, so if you've not seen it yet there are another 3 weeks remaining - the Filmhouse is open everyday except December 25th.
Click here to read my blog post with more information about the Filmhouse and my exhibition).

The exhibition has been surprisingly popular, so I decided to create more Film-inspired paintings that would replace the old ones as they get sold... To date I've painted new stills from:
- Contempt
- Frankenstein
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona
- Marnie
- Rear Window

Contempt and Frankenstein have been exhibited at the Filmhouse since week 2 in mid-November (replacing Bande a Part and Vivre Sa Vie), but are not featured on my blog yet. If you want to see them you will need to visit my exhibition for a preview.
The three other new paintings will be exhibited at the Filmhouse some time soon (hopefully before Wednesday 16th), when they will replace Fistful of Dollars [at the top of this post], North By Northwest, and another one that is yet-to-be-decided...

Monday, 7 December 2009

Influences part 23: Thomas Allen

Yesterday a newspaper advert for National Book Tokens reminded me of the awesome trick photography of Thomas Allen, whose work influenced some research for my animated graduation film last year - so I've decided to promote his work on my blog.

Thomas Allen is an American photographer who, over the past decade, has developed a trademark portfolio of work by using modified pulp fiction books as his main subject.

As you'll see from the images featured in this blog post, Thomas Allen creates these highly intriguing photographs by using his mastery of composition and lighting in an otherwise simple process, as I will outline below...

- Starting off with standard pulp fiction novels (as popular in the 1950s), the artist searches for character illustrations that will serve his needs for effectively creating a single photograph to tell an intriguing new story.
- Having settled on particular characters and the composition for arranging the modified book/characters, the artist uses a scalpel to carefully cut free most of the illustrated character - although in many cases parts of the illustrated character will remain attached to the rest of the book cover so that the character can hinge and pop-up/out from the rest of the book (creating part of the 3D effect that you see in the final photographs).
- With the books modified and the characters popping-out, the artist arranges the book(s) in his desired composition, adjusts the lighting to create the desired aesthetic, and then sets-up his camera with a suitable depth-of-field (usually so that only a small section of the overall composition is in focus, while the rest of the image looks blurry) and then takes his photographs.
- The end result should now show the original book in a near-normal condition, except that the illustrated characters now seem to be alive and jumping out from the book itself (with the depth-of-field further enhancing this illusion).

The process that I've just described sounds really simple, and while it is not too complex to understand the basics of; from my experience of the technique last year, it does take a bit of time and persistence to get to grips with before you can start progressing it in your own way...
I reckon it took me about 2 hours to get used to my brothers digital SLR camera and to set-up a basic 3D-effect with modified books before I could even begin taking decent photos in the style of Thomas Allen. Even after those 2 hours of getting used to everything, I spent roughly a further 3 hours experimenting with everything and taking over 400 photos - only to end up with about 15 photos that I was genuinely happy with when viewed on the computer!

Allen's style has a really rare kind of aesthetic that many people appreciate as soon as they see it. In many ways I would compare it to the stereoscopic (3D glasses) effect that is currently sweeping through Hollywood cinema.
Allen's photography is simply a delightful little illusion that seems to appeal to everyone, in much the same way that everyone used to gasp with delight when an object leapt out from the cinema screen.
If you've not seen his work before, I hope you enjoy the small sample of work displayed here, and I'd urge you to look through the links listed below for more...

Related links:
- Thomas Allen's blog

- Thomas Allen's work at: www.mnartists.org

- Thomas Allen's work on The Foley Gallery website

- Robert Ayers in conversation with Thomas Allen

- Thomas Allen: Uncovered - Book of photographs for sale at Amazon.co.uk

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Filmhouse exhibition update

Because the exhibition of my Film-inspired Painting Series at the Filmhouse cinema has been extended for an extra month (until the end of the year), I've decided to create some new paintings to display during the remaining few weeks....

I had already created two new paintings before the exhibition opened, which have been on display at the Filmhouse since week 2 in mid-November. Those were:
- Le Mepris [Contempt] (1963). Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard,
- Frankenstein (1931). Directed by: James Whale.

But some of the new Film-inspired paintings I've created this past week include:
- Rear Window (1954). Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock,
- Marnie (1964). Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock,
- and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). Directed by: Woody Allen.

I haven't decided when these new paintings will go on display, but it is likely to be some time next week...