Japanese Animator Naomi Nagata Crafts a Sand-Swept Video for the Veteran Soundsmiths
Ribbons of sand shift and swirl under the meticulous direction of Kyoto-based artist Naomi Nagata in her video for indie outfit The Sea and Cake’s newest single. Painstakingly charted over the course of a month, the hypnotizing stop-motion animation was created by forming lines and patterns in sand on a traditional Japanese paper scroll. Since discovering it during an animation course at the Edinburgh College of Art, Nagata has experimented with the medium for such exhibitions as 2009’s Seconds Under the Sun, a touring celebration of 13 Japanese animators, as well as showing with the gallery/record label Presspop and appearing on NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster. “On and On” is the lead track from Chicago-formed The Sea and Cake’s latest record Runner, the 10th studio album in a career that spans nearly two decades. Featuring on soundtracks for films like Walking and Talking, the cult group has long been known for pushing boundaries when it comes to genre. Runner is a departure from the band’s earlier jazz- and Brazilian-influenced sound, towards a more minimal feel that showcases the melodic vocals of Sam Prekop. “We're a fairly insular group,” says bassist Archer Prewitt of their collaboration with Nagata, whose work he calls “precise, poetic and atmospheric.” For this video, they left the visuals entirely in the artist’s capable hands: “When we trust an artist, we give them free reign to develop their own contribution to a project. I really like the way Naomi's animation turned out: lean and imaginative.”
The Coquettish Artist Becomes the Canvas in Her Latest Animated Short
Illustrator, animator and fashion filmmaker Quentin Jones paints a daring self-portrait in an inky new film for NOWNESS. The London-based model and Cambridge philosophy graduate, whose mélange of hand-drawn and digital animations have appeared in fashion films for Vogue, AnOther and The Hunger, ditched the usual scripts, storyboards and wardrobe to star in a freewheeling two-tone romp. A personal project developed during scarce downtime between projects for Chanel, Victoria Beckham and Kenzo, Jones toyed with the idea of painting directly onto her subject, in this case herself, side-stepping the interruptions of shooting stop-motion. Overlayed with cut-outs and illustrations, Jones’s films are a cheeky wink to Dadaism. “We developed this technique of dropping the ink onto bits of porcelain and blowing it around with a straw, then filming it move and superimposing that onto video,” reveals the autodidact. Regularly raiding art libraries for imagery, Jones can be faced with up to 25,000 jpegs to choose from, requiring an entirely different set of skills. “It's a really geeky stage, but editing could be the most creative part of the process, because you need to have a type of intuition.” Here the multimedia artist explains what influences her final edit.
Claymation or animation?
Lucian or Sigmund?
Lucian. I did my A-Level Art dissertation on Lucian. Big fan from a young age.
Dawn or dusk?
Dawn. For its potential.
Birkin or Bardot?
Birkin. Those eyes.
Kaleidoscopes or microscopes?
By air or by sea?
Disney or Dalí?
Disney. Dalí can be visually underwhelming...
Onyx or kohl?
Labyrinth or The Man Who Fell to Earth?
Labyrinth. It’s in my top five all time favorites.
Cut or paste?
Cut. Cutting is the creativity, gluing just allows you to commit and show it to other people.
Decanter or atomizer?
Cruella de Vil or the Queen of Hearts?
Queen of Hearts. Such a can-do attitude!
Holmes or Moriarty?
Stripes or Pleats?
Stripes. Tough one, but ultimately pleats are just a form of three-dimensional stripe, so let's stay true.
Feline or Canine?
Canine (it’s a shame you rarely find cats with dogs’ personalities).
Espadrilles or escarpins?
Water Powered Jetpack Turns Man into Sea Monster in Thomas Giddings' Futuristic Short
Rising imperiously from the waves, making jet-propelled dolphin jumps and backwards somersaults, professional stuntman Arran Topham appears as a waterborne Ironman in filmmaker Thomas Giddings’ new short, Icarus. Taking its name from the Greek myth of the child who flew too close to the sun and fell to a watery death, the film stars Topham—who has appeared in The Bourne Ultimatum, X-Men: First Class and the upcoming Bond movie Skyfall—performing delphine acrobatics made possible by the Flyboard. Invented by world champion jet-ski racer Franky Zapata, the luxurious high-tech toy is designed simply for pleasure, allowing anyone to connect with their inner Flipper. “I found out about this machine and flew to Marseilles, where Zapata is based, because I just thought it was so insane,” Giddings recounts. “It has this otherworldly quality; it’s blowing the boundaries between flying and swimming, and as soon as I saw it I wanted to capture it.” During monochrome downpours on the UK’s Dorset coast, the director filmed from a small boat through dusk and dawn to capture the overcast sci-fi footage. For his next project Giddings is journeying deeper into the hidden world of stuntmen, documenting their lives behind the Hollywood scenes for a solo exhibition and book to launch in London and Los Angeles next year.
STATS FROM ON SET
Poole harbor, Dorset.
Distance to the Sea of Crete where, according to Greek myth, Icarus drowned
Highest altitude reached
Minimum depth of water required to operate
Highest velocity in the air/underwater
Ten knots/4 knots.
Volume of water ejected by Flyboard
1,000 liters a minute.
Number of times Topham had flown the Flyboard before filming
Number of times Tophan had to be pulled out of the water
One local expert and two other stuntmen on jet skis.
Liquid consumed on set