Saturday, 8 October 2016

Animation artists Don Herzfeldt and Lotte Reinger Review

Don Herzfeldt

(Fig. 1) Don Herzfeldt

Born on August 1st, 1976 in Alameda County, California Don Herzfeldt has been noted for creating a number of independent influential films. Some of these films include: It's Such a Beautiful Day, World of Tomorrow and The Meaning of Life.
It was at a young age Herzfeldt started animation using a camera but found that the film was too expensive. As a result he quickly changed to using hand drawn frames that are now used as his main form medium today. It is the choice of traditional methods of animation that have made him, as an animator, stand out finding new animation techniques upon the principles of the old ones.
Herzfeldt quoted, “We have over 100 years now of amazing film technology to play with, I don't understand why any artists would want to throw any of their tools out of the box” (New York Times 2008). Herzfeldt strongly believes that it is not how an image is captured but the end result that truly matters in his art.

(Fig.2) Scene from "Rejected Cartoons"

Despite being limited in resources from a young age Herzfeldt has managed to create animation capable of capturing the audience’s attention. The simplistic hand drawn characters allow his dark humour to be conveyed without causing too much controversy. It is the use of a simple art style that makes it easy to enjoy. Alongside being easy to enjoy it shows an achievement to aspire to despite any animator’s background and material available.  

Lotte Reinger

(Fig. 3) Lotte Reiniger

Lotte Reiniger was born on the 2nd of June 1899 to a German family. From a young age she became interested in the concept of using silhouette puppets inspired by those used in Chinese art. It was later in life when she was introduced to cinema seeing films created by Georges Méliès. From here Reiniger delved further into the possibilities of animation.

(Fig. 4) Still from Reiniger's film Däumelinchen
    1. (Fig. 5) Example of shadow puppet in use

During Reiniger’s lifetime she was able to produce over 40 films using her own creations. The style of animation shown can be compared to puppets as cut outs of silhouettes are manipulated to form frames. Due to the nature of early cameras most of the films feature black and white film reminiscent of shadow puppets. Despite looking on from a 2D side view the work create has a warm fairy tale feel, the feeling of nostalgia is only increased with the stories portrayed sometimes being selected from such stories like “Puss in Boots”. 

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