Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Literature Review One - 'Animation Art' by.. Jerry Beck

I've decided to look at the difference between Animation as an art form and Animation as a technique. Some may argue that both can be seen as the same as the technique requires a string of artwork to portray the picture, but despite the graphic side to most animations.. it is the combination of technique and the form of art that brings the animation forward.

 'Animation Art' by Jerry Beck is a really good find. It's incredibly inviting and interesting. With lots of graphics to keep the eyes pleased, whilst informing your brain with enough information through the worded type. It looks at the large spectrum of Animation, starting from the very first creators right through influential movements, techniques, media influences and the importance of competition. 
 Certain aspects that caught my eye were the  electrifying techniques that the caricaturist Emile Cohl created in his first animated film, 'Fantasmagorie' which featured movements on white paper that were produced into thin lines and then the results were printed onto negative film in the positive form. This book looks at many artists like Cohl, such as Chuck Jones who was made infamous by his artwork for the ever popular series, 'Looney Toons', which boasted highly stylized backgrounds and overly-expressive characters. There's also a look at Osamu Tezuka, whom was honoured as the 'G-d of comics' and 'The Disney of Japan' due to his involvement in Manga which he revolutionized with new dramatic camera shots involving close ups and different perspectives.

 Animation art also takes a close look at the diverse impact that cultures have on the animation industry. Hans Fischerkoesen took his influence for creating animations that seemed to illustrate his opposition to the fascist Nazi regime. The Soviets too used their animation to promote propaganda, using cinemas to engage the audience in films that celebrated the victory over the capitalists by the new soviet republic. Hungarian native George Pal, who was known as revolutionizing animation by using models known as, 'Puppetoons' created a piece that fired back at the Gestapo after driving him out of Berlin with his feature, 'Tulips shall grow' which looks at a peaceful Holland being destroyed by robots. The book even looks at the creation of animation after the impact of World War Two with the introduction of the series 'Superman', this indestructible hero that was featured fighting the Nazis in one episode. 

There's also a look at the first time animation came onto the silver screens and then the progression into cinemas through feature films. Even how animation was given the 'Saturday Morning Blues' by being perceived in the 1970's as a childish medium due to the increasing size of over-seas production which in turn led to an economic demise of cheap productions and poor animations that were deemed only watchable by non-judgemental children. 
 Animation Art however, also looks at how animation has shaped adult culture with the likes of 'Beavis and Butthead', 'The Simpsons', 'Ren and Stimpy', and 'South Park' that became a cult sensation with its hard hitting views on sex and violence.

  This book is honestly a real catch not just for animators, but to anyone interested in how animation has developed, how it's used by not only animators but by artists, how its techniques have been processed from chalk boards, to colour, to puppets and then onto CGI, and how through political, social, and graphic imagery, animation altered the way films were made and viewed.

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