I've just seen my first Christmas advert. It was all soft-focused snowflakes and off-the-peg nostalgia and small people in flannel dressing gowns looking angelic... Meanwhile you can't so much as move in the supermarkets for towering end-of-aisle skyscrapers comprising mince pies, biscuit assortments and five kilogram tins of Quality Street. With just five weeks to go until the end of term one, I'm guessing the remaining number of shopping days between now and December 25th is the very last thing on our students' minds. Year one have already completed one project and are three whole weeks into another, while years two and three have just had their respective interim crit presentations and are moving decisively into production. The pace is picking up!
This month's edition of the PWTM begins with a showcase of work produced by CGAA year one students in response to their Cinematic Spaces brief, which challenged them to generate original concept art for cgi adaptations of some classic larger-than-life novels. There were lots of varied and fascinating responses to the brief - with our newest recruits moving well beyond their pre-degree comfort zones and coping admirably with the not inconsiderable challenge of adapting to life in the hallowed halls of UCA...
Lucy Yelding - She
Vikki Hercules - King Solomon's Mines
Jake Bryant - Brave New World
Emily Clarkson - At The Mountains of Madness
Akinbiyi Babarinde - The Lost World
Peta-gaye Brown - Dorothy And The Wizard of Oz
Shan Mason - The House On The Borderlands
Nadia Yalladee - The Street of Crocodiles
Samantha Niemczyk - The First Men In The Moon.
Our CGAA year 3 students are moving quickly out of the pre-production phase of their minor projects. Maya beckons - with all her allure and frustration-in-waiting. In way of preparation, Justin Easton's Lovecraftian behemoth has gone through multiple mutations - from lobster to dinosaur to Freud - as Justin seeks to identify its definitive form...
...while Sam Tremain's Five-Man character from H.G. Wells' The Island Of Dr Moreau gets a hansome set of mutton-chops and a rather natty neck-tie.
Jono Pearmain's gaming concept, which sees a young boy encounter the keeper and dealer of dreams, seems intent on producing the Doctor Who effect - that mixture of high adventure and under-the-bed unheimlich so cherished by young audiences (and by some much older audiences too!). Jono's character designs for his 'dream purveyor' and its various incarnations are delightfully creepy - and becoming more so...
... while Adam Webb's much less menacing game character, Kojo, is receiving some final alterations.
And another bird now - Alex Zepherin's peacock and supercillious show-off who is soon to feature in Alex's cgi short, The Peacock & The Crane.
Meanwhile, Kayleigh Dean is getting to grips with an animal that is neither fowl or fish; indeed, the precise nature of Lewis Carrol's Snark remains elusive throughout the duration of the nonsense poem dedicated to its discovery - and it's this very same zoological conundrum that Kay is seeking to capture in the ultimate design of her mysterious beastie...
Elsewhere, Dan Rolph has designed fictitious bits of kit for Warbreakers - an imagined alternate history game in which the bloody battlefields of World War 1 now include the 'what if?' anachronism of radio-controlled technology...
... while Molly Bolder's animated short - which sees a rather put-upon character struggling to keep his problems in proportion - has reached the final stages of pre-viz.
Over at Mango Mercury - the minor project collaboration between Dayle Sanders and Andriana Laskari - the character design phase of their year long production schedule for their Thai-inspired animated short, Kinnaree is well underway...
Not content with deconstructing famous monsters of filmland on the group blog, CGAA Artist-in-Residence, Tom Beg has just completed a creative project which saw him collaborate once more with Butch Auntie to produce content for Leeds Castle's Firework Spooktacular 2012, wherein Tom's projection-mapped imagery combined with lavish pyrotechnics and Edvard Grieg's In The Hall of the Mountain King to suitably impressive effect.
You can get an idea of the overall effect here.
CGAA graduate, Charlotte 'Class of 2012' Buchan was also involved in the production of imagery for the Firework Spooktacular. Charlotte's images have an arcade game charm, but keen-eyed observers may notice an 'easter egg' alluding to Charlotte's more recent avant-garde past...
Oh, and on a related theme, Tom's previous foray into projection mapping - not the exterior of a castle this time, but the interior of the LV21 decommissioned lightship - has just been hand-picked by the Behance team for their curated off-shoot, Motion Graphics Served. This is the second time Tom's work has been showcased here - congratulations!
In other news, Simon Holland - CGAA Alumnus and key member of the course team - is participating in the UCA Flat Pack exhibition. Flat Pack is a celebration of UCA technicians and their work and seek to challenge the distinctions between 'thinkers' and doers' - as the exhibition's accompanying rationale goes onto explain:
"We tend to think of a distinction between manual and mental labour, a binary played out and socially reinforced from school onwards: The doer and the thinker. This division exists across the world of work – workers/managers – and is even played out at a university level, where as a student we find ourselves confronted with two levels of tutor, the academic and the technician. These categories assert themselves as real distinctions in status and pay, but also reinforce this artificial binary between thinkers and doers.
However this is a questionable state of affairs in a university for creative arts. An Art practice is precisely the type of self-determined activity which actively resists these categories; it is by necessity labour of both hand and head, never merely mechanical, and rarely conceptual without some sort of physical execution. Both the Academic and the Technician are thinker and doer, both are artist and teacher.
What you see here is a selection of work from UCA Technical staff from Kent campuses. It is what it is. Each work shown ‘flat-packs’ into a shoebox for transport between sites. Some works demonstrate a ‘mastery of craft’, which you might expect from technical labour, others adopt a more conceptual approach. Some works are finished articles, others are works-in-progress."
I asked Simon for a few additional words in regard to his creative contribution to the Flat Pack show:
I decided to make my submission for Flatpack cross-sectional, ranging from wireframes of digital sculpts, through production concepts (in particular all those unresolved thumbnails) to landscape painting. Most of the works have been produced digitally as it is the most convenient tool to hand; my trusty Wacom travels with me and my laptop to whatever campus I happen to be based at. Some days I'm able to break it out, others I am not so lucky. I finally managed to select 12 images to pack off on their travels in a shoebox, I bid them bon-voyage and hope they enjoy the limelight with the rest of the technicians work, the breadth of which is quite exciting. I am personally excited about Flatpack's arrival at Rochester and Maidstone where I can see the fascinating work of my colleagues."
The Flat Pack exhibition is coming to UCA Rochester between the 4th and 11th of December in the Zandra Rhodes Gallery.
And while we're on the subject of all things arty, CGAA graduate and incumbent GTA, Jordan Buckner has just completed another batch of CGI content for the artist Matthew Noel-Todd and his new installation piece entitled A Season in Hell: Fall/Winter 2012.
"The final part of LUX: The Adverts, A Season in Hell: Fall / Winter 2012 is an animated winter warmer for Canary Wharf Underground Station. In a blazing inferno turns an image of the world orbited by four cartoon children. Encircling the globe is the Latin palindrome; In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (We go in circles into the night, we are consumed by fire). The phrase is originally attributed to the behaviour of moths around fire. In A Season in Hell: Fall / Winter 2012 the children are in constant movement, never landing, never leaving. Purgatory is overwritten by the ecstasy of the spectacle..."
For more information check out:
LUX: Matthew Noel-Tod - http://lux.org.uk/whats-on/matthew-noel-tod-season-hell-fall-winter-2012-2012
Art on the Underground - http://art.tfl.gov.uk/canary-wharf-screen
The Final Word...
'Believe you can and you're halfway there.' Theodore Roosevelt