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  • Writer's pictureBrian Nelson

More on what inspires/influences me

A couple blog posts ago I provided a list of inspiring stop motion artists and animations. To further expand on this I want to share more about the flavors and tendencies I pull from and often employ in my art. I also want to share a little bit as to why.

Most of my closest friends know that I enjoy macro photography. It's something I've done as a hobby most of my life. While a majority of the content I shoot is organic (plants/floral), I have also dabbled with other content. I enjoy exploring the textures, symmetry, colors, structure and in general things that seem to be hidden just beyond my normal range of vision. Something about seeing those things larger than they actually are suggests new ideas and ways of seeing things. For me stop motion animation is an extension of those aspects. It's bringing to life through time based media something that which is not expected to be. It's seeing things in a different way. It can be unsettling but also mysterious and intriguing. It often has the allure of wanting to see again and again that which you just saw.

Most of the inspiring artists and animations I listed in the post have done just that. They keep me coming back not only for the narratives, but more importantly because of the ascetics and uncanny nature of the works. Whenever I see something new that falls into this bucket I often have an immediate 'Wow' and/or 'WTF' reaction. Knowing what goes into these kinds of works also draws me in because of the appreciation I have for the effort and attention to detail. On top of this, often there a new and intriguing results that can only be obtained through the time based format and the fact that each animation is the result of a massive amount of individual photographs whereby the artist can seem to magically interject the unexpected.

As for the qualities and aspects that often surface in both my personal stop motion animations and other artworks, I tend to lean towards serious and deep topics. I'm in my early fifties and between what I have personally experienced in the last 10 years as well as external influences such as the pandemic, divisive politics, and the negative aspects of social media I have found myself more isolated and reflective of what life has meant for me. My feelings associated with this seem to creep into almost everything I do with art being perhaps the easiest way for me to get some of it out.

Visually my art tends to be dark. This is often tied to the narrative, but I also use it as a framing tool. It can keep things clean and borderless and emphasize the focus/intent.

I create all my own audio, including the music. I consider this part of any video work to be extremely important. While not everyone may experience the tones, effects, and notes the same way that I do, these basic elements can do a lot to steer viewers down the intended emotional path.

While I have employed industrially produced armatures in/as puppets for my stop motion animations, I tend to favor creating my own for the flexibility it affords. The materials I choose to use when making a puppet are for me an opportunity to explore. I like to challenge myself at using materials that are unexpected; materials that the viewer will wonder about just as I do when constructing the puppet. Because of these aspects, I consider creating the puppets, sets, and props just as rewarding as shooting the animations. It is sculpture to me. It is creating things that share some of those intriguing aspects I find through macro photography.

I'm calling this post a wrap before it becomes a small novel. I'll no doubt share more in the future. ;)

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