Mar 31, 2010

Norman McLaren-Amelia D.

Surprise, surprise, I'm doing my post about Norman McLaren. But can you blame me? The man was awesome. "Begone Dull Care" was one of the first films we watched in Animation 1, and it was leading us into one of our very first in class assignments, which was drawing directly onto film and then projecting it with some random Garage Band music in the background.
McLaren's work is intriguing, beautiful, and intelligent. His usage of various mediums is always fascinating to watch, especially in pieces like Pas De Deux and Neighbours. An article by Robert Koehler on states "Never mind that no other Canadian filmmaker has come within a light year of receiving such an elaborately presented, meticulously realized, and exhaustively presented survey (58 films, 15 original short documentaries, two complete film portraits, several excerpts from other nonfiction profiles, numerous retrieved fragments of unfinished or lost films, one audio sampling, and two films that amount to workshops on animation basics); no filmmaker anywhere else has either."
The way he makes his artwork sync up with music is also something extravagant. Think of how much patience went in to making something like "Begone Dull Care" or "Boogie Doodle".
It's very synesthetic (is that a word? whatever) in the ways that it correlates music and sound to images. Different beats and pitches get different doodles or splashes of ink. It lets the viewer escape into all the different abstractions and it is very absorbing. I find it very similar to that of Kandinsky, with his synesthesia inspired drawings based off of music.
With a piece like "Pas de Deux", the use of optical printing makes something like a simple ballet performance look like something that is almost other worldly, and in "Neighbours" the use of stop motion animation adds an air of whimsy to a very serious subject.
My ramblings don't do this fellow justice. He was an amazing and inspiring artist.

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