I recently completed this little animated spot for the Wump Mucket Puppets and their upcoming touring program "Space is the Place" (yes, that title is a nod to jazz legend Sun Ra ... can you spot the little Ra-related easter egg?) The WMP troupe obviously takes a lot of influence from Sesame Street, and it delights me that people have said this animation gives them that vibe. The telescope scene was done via cutouts. Also in the spirit of Sesame Street, the Wump Muckets also had their performance broadcast on PBS a few years ago. There are currently 27(!) shows booked for the new "Space is the Place" program.
Had the most terrific turnout at last weekend's Floating Shape animation workshop at the Taft Museum of Art. I'm grateful to the Taft for having me and allowing me access to their great facilities (including the large widescreen w/ HDMI, perfect for doing live animation exercises). We did a collaborative, cutout animation project (with each child creating detailed backgrounds based on pieces inspired by the museum's collection). We also looked at examples of zoetropes and other non-film animation. It was a blast and I look forward to doing another there in the future. Below are some pictures of the workshop as well as the video of the animation we made.
I am hosting a Floating Shape animation workshop at the Taft Museum of Art on Saturday, February 2nd! This workshops runs for 3 hours (1-4 PM) and is designed for ages 6-14 in mind. Using the museum's historic collection as inspiration, we will be doing a collaborative cutout animation project. Here is the link if you are interested in registering ... registration cost is $10.
With summer winding down (must resist inclusion of "where does the time go?" trope ...), I wanted to mention a few things about the various Floating Shape Workshop projects that have taken place the past few months.
- The Cincinnati Film Society was kind enough to publish an article that overviews FSW's (past and present) happenings this summer. Thanks, CFS! Speaking of our latest collaborative film, it was recently submitted it to an international youth animation festival. Fingers crossed.
- At the end of July, we did something brand new: hosted a workshop in which we created a collaborative short film, completely live. FSW was set up at 5th annual Good People Festival in Covington, Kentucky (we were there last year making flipbooks & zoetropes) alongside our pals at Robot Inside. I animated a short introduction and then had a live set up with a camera, animation rostrum and basic supplies. Then, each child/family who passed through while at the festival had the opportunity to add to the film by creating their own short scene (via either a simple cutout animation or filming a flipbook). It was an experiment in the truest sense of the word, but I was pretty proud of how the final result came out. I would estimate that about 25-30 children added to it in some way (pics and video below).
- Finally, our last workshop of the summer will be this Sunday, as will be hanging out with the Mini Microcinema during the annual "Second Sunday on Main" celebration in Over-the-Rhine. This is a free flipbook workshop for children. The previously scheduled workshop on August 15th at Westwood's "Wooden Hill" is currently being rescheduled for a future date.
On Saturday, I hosted a wonderful, all-ages Floating Shape Workshop at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
All-ages events are always some of my favorite, because while FSW is primarily a children's workshop, seeing families attend and animate together can be a very beautiful sight and experience. Sometimes, the biggest smiles can come from parents/adults when they end up surprising themselves by making an incredibly fluid flipbook and then film it to see it play back on the screen. One family of four at this event each created their own flipbook & short cutout/claymation experiment. Excellent!
Also, before the event got underway, the workshop attendees got a brief guided tour of some animation-centric photography exhibits in the museum. The museum currently displays Eadweard Muybridge's sprawling 1877 "Panorama of San Francisco", and of course we then got to look at the classic "animation locomation" examples via the zoetrope.
It was a truly fantastic and unique workshop. Thank you to the Art Museum and their Rosenthal Education Center space for having me, I hope to do it again in the future.
... and here were the flipbooks that were made at the workshop (the first hour was flipbooks, the second was experimenting with 2D and stop motion methods). I love the spontaneity in the results when you give both children and adults blank flipbooks and see what they come up with. From bouncing balls to an anti-pollution message to a shark eating a boat to an anthropomorphic slice of pie.
2017 was the first full year for Floating Shape Workshop, the mobile children's animation workshop that I launched back in the summer.
In total, FSW hosted eight workshops this year, at creative venue spaces ranging from art galleries to libraries to festivals. Keeping the community-oriented spirit in mind, children of all ages & backgrounds got to experiment with different animation methods and many got to make their own films (collaboratively & independently).
I am very excited to soon announce some of the workshops that are already scheduled for 2018. I am also very appreciative to all of the individuals and local organizations who helped us along the way in 2017, In addition to the workshops themselves, some truly spectacular surprises and opportunities along sprung up along the way, such as getting to spread FSW across the airwaves on WVXU (Cinci's NPR affiliate-station). Some workshop films also made their film festival debut all the way over in California (more on that below).
I want to again thank the following local organizations and creative venues who either helped us or opened their doors to host a workshop: the aforementioned WVXU, the Public Library of Cincinnati, Robot Inside, Kid Vid Fest, Thunder-Sky, The Good People Festival.
Below is "Kindness Is ...", a special collaborative film made by eight young animators at a FSW workshop. This film was screened at the California youth animation film festival "Kid Vid Fest". Using the festival's theme of "kindness", each animator (using a medium of their choosing ... drawn, cutout, clay, or sand) animated a scene of their idea of an act of kindness. If you haven't already, please check out FSW's YouTube channel, where I do my best to archive all of the ongoing films and projects being made at the workshops. Also be sure to check out the full gallery by clicking on the Floating Shape Workshop tab at the top of the site.
This Saturday (November 25), I will be hosting a free autumn Floating Shape Workshop at Robot Inside. From 10-11:30 AM, come by to make your own flipbook or zoetrope, plus experiment with all kinds of mediums at various animation stations (drawn, claymation, cutouts). As an added bonus, November 25 is also "Small Business Saturday", and my pal Tara's RI shop is a great place to support that, with just about everything imaginable available from all sorts of local artists/crafters/makers.
What I love about these free, community events is that they are open to everyone of all ages. While FSW is primarily a children's workshop, it is always great to see entire families come and make animation together, with no upfront costs or preregistration. You can just walk in and contribute to a live animation project. Hope to see you there!
Way back in February (how is it November?), I was invited to come draw on the walls at the new location of the Play Library on Elm St. The PL is a wonderful toy & game loan library, and also hosts the amazing Cincinnati Vintage Toy Museum. At the original location last summer, I hosted a "Kreate-a-Kaiju" workshop, which was a blast. I recently stopped by for the first time in a while, and realized that I had never posted pictures of any of the giant wall drawings. They were a lot of fun to do, even the diving board scene, which was done on a ladder from an awkward angle.
Some of my books & prints are available in the gift shop.
... and then, a great shot from the clay kaiju workshop from last year, and a drawing I did to help promote the original opening.
Tomorrow on October 28th (International Animation Day!), some animated films made by children at Floating Shape Workshop events will debut at Kid Vid Fest, an inaugural youth animation festival in the Los Angeles area. This is really exciting for everyone involved, and I wish I could be there to see it! There are several other great children's animation workshops and programs taking part, such as Inner City Arts, Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, and multiple ASIFA branches. See all of the event details including the venue and time at the KVF site linked above.
One of the films to be screened is called "Kindness Is ...", which was collaboratively made by eight children using a variety of animation techniques (claymation, cutouts, and hand-drawn). Using the festival's overriding theme of "kindness", each participant animated a short sequence of their vision of an act of kindness (caring for a pet, holding the door for strangers, sharing food, and many more). I loved the end result. The title frame and other production shots are pictured below, and I plan on uploading the full film to the FSW YouTube page shortly.
Here is a little thing I animated in honor of ASIFA's annual International Animation Day celebration coming up next weekend. Every year, children at FSW workshops have a blast taking part in this worldwide celebration by creating their own posters (sidenote: this year's official IAD poster by Noureddin & Negar Zarrinkelk is quite beautiful) and working on various projects. In fact, I have a very exciting announcement regarding Floating Shape and IAD coming up very shortly. Alas, this was really fun to make.
Here is a recent interview I did with WVXU, our local NPR-affiliate station. I got to talk all about Floating Shape Workshop on the Sunday evening "Around Cincinnati" program and had a blast. Thanks, WVXU!
I had a blast at my booth at the beautiful Westwood Art Show over the weekend. Thank you to the organizers for having me, everyone who stopped by and all of the wonderful new people I met. It was also a great way to spread the word about FSW, and I gave out around a hundred flipbooks. I also wanted to mention that there is a new local shop called Wooden Hill (located on the end of the strip where Treasure Alley used to be, they moved next door) that just opened their doors the day of the show on Saturday. It is a great store featuring all sorts of works form local artists, and you can pick up a copy of Tunnel-Ball and a few prints there from yours truly.
I have some buttons leftover from the show that I will include with all online orders while they last.
I will have a booth at the 9th annual Westwood Art Show coming up in a few weeks. This is a spectacular event in a beautiful area that I have attended for years, and I am thrilled to be participating for the first time. I will have some 13x19" copies of this poster that I created for the show, in addition to books, prints, cards, buttons and some original artwork. Additionally, I will be promoting the Floating Shape Workshop and giving out free flipbooks while supplies last! Hope to see you there.
The last Floating Shape Workshop event of the summer has come to a close, and it's hard to believe that our inaugural round of summer workshops are over. Given the late start, I originally thought we might host about just a couple of workshops this summer, and we ended up doing seven. Workshops were almost all hosted in unique & welcoming, community-oriented venues. I had such an absolute blast at all of them.
It is difficult to squeeze into the paragraph of a blog post, but I am so thankful, humbled, and optimistic about the future of Floating Shape. Organizing a sustainable, welcoming animation workshop for children in the Cincinnati area has been an idea of mine for years, and it took teaching it as a class (and a lot of inspiration from Yvonne Andersen's book about her seminal children's workshop in the 1960s) to really move forward with it. From there, it was just creating the name and logo, and getting some unique venues to host us. Being able to provide children with the supplies and education to explore and engage in animation as an artform and communication tool (both independently and collaboratively) has been endlessly rewarding. In my experience, quite a few children have had an interest in creating animation, but might have not had the resources to expand on (either from a financial or education perspective). That would, of course, also describe myself growing up.
Thanks so much to all of the venues and festivals who hosted workshops, and to everyone who helped out and participated. A very special thanks to the Public Library of Cincinnati, who hosted multiple workshops at a few different branches. They also posted a couple of excellent photo galleries here. Bias aside, we are fortunate to have a world class library system which I utilize constantly.
The FSW is already booking workshops for the fall/winter. While the calendar will not be as plentiful as summer (as I will return to teaching full time), the plan is to continue to hold workshops throughout the year, primarily on weekend dates. In the immediate future, FSW will have a booth at the Westwood Art Show next month, and in the coming months, we will have re-rescheduled workshops at Robot Inside and the Play Library. If you are interested in hosting a workshop, please contact me via the link at the top of this page, or e-mail email@example.com
Here are a couple of my favorite pics from the summer's workshops ...