Extraterrestrial Christmas Adornments Come to Life in Margot Bowman's Fantastical Animations
Our second festive short from creative wunderkind Margot Bowman once again transports us 50 years into the future, where Christmas decor in 2062 seeks to enliven a society devoid of today's comforts. The ‘Beau-tee’ uses positive energy to infuse our soon-to-be artificial world with nature in the form of holly, mistletoe and other Christmas flora. The ‘Anxi-oh,’ meanwhile, has tentacles that soak up our anxieties to create a stress-free season—something we could likely use today, too. “We are becoming immersed in an increasingly digital world and developing deep emotional attachments to electronic devices around us,” Margot explains of her inspiration. “The interesting thing about using the future to tell stories is that if we don’t like this version of how the world might be, we can act now.” Creating these installments was no small feat for the animator, who reveals just how she did it below.
STATS FROM ON SET
Hours spent illustrating decorations
Number of animators
Hours creating animations
Number of sheets of paper used
Other materials used
Two pots of Indian ink, watercolor paint, holographic paper.
Hours spent transferring files
Number of minced pies consumed
Seven and a half.
Holiday songs listened to during production
“Merry Christmas Baby” by Otis Redding; “Santa Claus is Back in Town” by Elvis Presley.
Tune in tomorrow for her third and final short about prospective warm and fuzzy adornments.
Warhol’s Christmas Illustrations
Though Andy Warhol will be famed forever (not a mere 15 minutes) for his role as the grand provocateur of 60s New York, the founder of pop art and the man who made that portrait of Marilyn Monroe, he began his artistic career as a commercial illustrator. He may have gone on to redraw the boundaries of modern art, but his early commissioned work is packed full of the same charm and flair as the later iconic pieces. With this in mind, NOWNESS presents a selection of his best festive designs. Seasons Greetings!
The Portraitist Skypes Us Into His World of Instant Impressionism for Frieze London
In a series of stills by Philip Sinden, the artist Sandro Kopp appears with works from Mediated Presence: Skype Portraits and Animal Companions, his exhibition in which human subjects are joined by cuddly friends, opening during London's Frieze Art Fair. The familiar, if blurry, faces of jeweler Waris Ahluwalia, polymath Stephen Fry, and actor Mia Wasikowska are among those to appear in the show presented by cross-disciplinary platform Istanbul’74. Past high-profile models have included designer Haider Ackermann, photographer Ryan McGinley, and Tilda Swinton, the artist’s partner. To Kopp, these subjects are simply intimate friends, some of whom happen to be famous, and the addition of plush animals makes for a natural fit with the themes of companionship in his work. “My stepdaughter always slips little cuddly toys into my luggage when I’m going somewhere,” he says. “Like Skype, they represent a medium of presence and company; it’s like a battery you can charge with your presence and then give to another person.” Building on Kopp’s ongoing experimentation with internet telephony, his latest series distills a greater intimacy between the artist, the sitter and the viewer, with the use of Skype both emphasizing distance and fostering a special comfort zone. Amidst preparations for his Frieze week events, Kopp sat down for a virtual conversation with Skype CEO Tony Bates.
Tony Bates: We’re using Skype in its traditional paradigm, PC to PC, but more and more people now are on mobile phones, smartphones, tablets—we’re even on tens of millions of TVs.
Sandro Kopp: In a way, the whole concept of community is being redefined. What it used to mean—that is, people being close together or connected by family ties—is becoming a much more loosely knit, open idea. We’re redefining society, and I think Skype is one of the ways in which that’s happening.
Tony Bates: I agree. Growing up in England in a small village, community meant going to the pub to meet and exchange ideas, and I think the power of video is bringing that social aspect back to us. You have this sense of emotion and of connectivity in a way you just can’t with text and emails.
Sandro Kopp: It’s very intimate. The conversation is an important part of my process precisely because I’m painting the person, not the screen. Painting is a form of abstraction anyways, and so are the pixelation and things that happen with Skype. So that piece of the work is done for me, it simplifies my process.
Tony Bates: Abstract impressionism maybe?
Sandro Kopp: I like to say Skype provides you with “instant impressionism” because of its slightly blurry, luminescent presence. It’s not about the still image, it’s about having the person there and trying to capture an actual presence as it is filtered through Skype.
Tony Bates: You’re not simply emulating the studio, you’re getting something out of the feeling, out of the connection and out of the way it’s projected. I feel that really captures the essence of what we try to achieve everyday at Skype: to “be universal, be useful and be wonderful.”