I have always been very inspired by stop-motion animation – and is one of the elements that drove me to become passionate about puppetry. One aspect of stop-motion that really inspires me is the ability to express a very specific visual aesthetic style – and to me is more attractive by the fact that it is a hand-made art as opposed to a digital one (although today both merge, such as in the film Coraline, by Henry Selick, where a mix of stop motion and CG technology effects are blended. However this is exactly what lets the film down for me as it feels too sleek and well-finished. I prefer the more rough and raw appearance that stop-motion often offers).
As there are many, many different visual styles expressed through stop-motion today, I thought I would share with you the work of one artist I recently discovered, which is very much feeding into my current project of creating a live puppet film on the theme of embodying bird-like states in the human body.
Hayley Morris creates stop motion films as well as being an illustrator. Alongside her own personal work she has created commercials and music videos.
In her stop-motion work she blends together an array of textures such as paper, fabrics, drawings, etc. to create a unique visual style I immediately felt drawn to as I discovered each of her works.
The first I saw was Undone. This film is a metaphor for Alzheimer’s disease, and could not have been done more sensitively or poetically.
Next is Corn Mother, which is loosely based on an American folktale. A mother picks corn from the fields in order to feed her two hungry children that are never satiated. There is a very tactile and raw feel in relation to the organic materials, and the character of the mother has a strangeness about her, perhaps emanating from the dark depth of her eyes and the immobility of her face, which fascinates me as, despite this strangeness, which I talked about in my last blog post (l’inquiétante étrangeté), I still feel empathetic towards her, there is no ‘creepiness’ but rather this strangeness adds that to her beauty.
Eventually the mother runs out of seeds to sow. She collapses, and is consumed by the ground, allowing the last growth of corn. All the while we see her hungry children continuing to eat incessantly. Her motherly sacrifice is very sad and touching, yet there is a captivation in witnessing her death – how she returns to nature after giving all she possibly can.
Joker’s Daughter “Lucid” is a music video she made for Joker’s Daughter and was completely handmade using painted paper puppets, painted backgrounds and actual objects which she animated frame by frame on a 6 level multi-plane.
“Bounce bounce” is a song by Hilary Hahn and Hauschka, inspired by the life inside tide pools. This film is a pure visual delight. Stop-motion makes paper, textiles and other materials come to life in completely unexpected ways!
I hope you enjoyed the work of Hayley Morris as much as I did. In my next blog posts I will write about my discovery of films that use live puppetry that I didn’t know of, as well as my interest in shamanism in relation to the theme of the film I am working on. Expect another post by the end of the week! If you have any comments or suggestions, or want to find out more about my project, please feel free to email me, or to contact me on Facebook (search under ‘Laura Elands’).
I hope you have a good week!