Thursday, 20 September 2007

JAMIE HEWLETT's "Phoo Action"

The BBC have announced an adaptation of Jamie Hewlett's Get the Freebies strip he did for Face magazine entitled "Phoo Action". It will be interesting to see how Hewlett's vision is brought to life particularly after the success of his operatic collaboration with Damon Albarn, "Monkey: Journey to the West".

From the BBC press release:
British actress Jaime Winstone (Kidulthood) will team up with America's Carl Weathers (Rocky, Predator) and Eddie Shin (ER) in Phoo Action, a kung-fu action drama for
BBC Three based on comic characters created by Jamie Hewlett.

Jaime, daughter of acclaimed actor Ray Winstone, takes on the colourful role of Whitey Action, an unruly teenage heroine who joins together with hapless Buddhist kung-fu cop Terry Phoo (played by Eddie Shin) to form an unlikely, but effective, crime-fighting team.

The year is 2012 and London is in the grip of mutant criminals. Only Terry Phoo and Whitey Action can save the nation, uniting to create chaos and comedy, mischief and mayhem to become heroes for a future generation. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the wonderfully warped world of Phoo Action.

UPDATE: And here's the trailer from BBC3...



Links:
BBC Press Release
Phoo Action MySpace
Film Ick post (source)
Monkey: Journey to the West (SiouxWIRE)

BLU'S "Fantoche"


This short from Blu takes his signature grafitti canvas and brings it to life through animation with interesting results. Also see the trailer below for the upcoming film on Blu, Megunica.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Interview: THE DIRECTOR OF "LYNCH"

Lynch is a unique documentary on David Lynch which intimately follows his creative process. Filmed over two years, the film follows David's journey through ideas as he completes his latest film, Inland Empire.

The director immersed himself in David's world, living and working with him over the two years enabling him to capture a more personal side to the artist.

Being the first interview with the director of Lynch, I feel priveleged and grateful that unseen forces have chosen SiouxWIRE to begin their campaign.


There's been a lot of speculation surrounding your identity. What is the intention in removing yourself (at least in name) from the production and do you feel it augments the documentary in any way by doing so?
MY CHOICE TO USE AS PSEUDONYM WAS A PERSONAL ONE AND IT IS SOMETHING THAT I DO WHENEVER I ENTER INTO ANYTHING CREATIVE. I HAVE HAD MANY PSEUDONYMS BEFORE AND COULD QUITE POSSIBLE HAVE MANY MORE. I NEVER EXPECTED THIS TO BECOME SUCH AN ISSUE, BUT I UNDERSTAND THE CURIOSITY IT SEEMS TO BE CREATING. IT IS UNFORTUNATE IF IT TAKES AWAY FROM THE FILM IN ANY WAY AND I HOPE THAT IT DOESN'T.


How did the project develop? And what did/do you hope to achieve with the documentary and what initially attracted you to the it?
I HAD KNOWN DAVID FOR YEARS BEFORE THE IDEA TO MAKE A FILM ON HIM CAME TO US----- THE INITIAL IDEA ACTUALLY BELONGS TO JON NGUYEN----- HE CALLED ME ONE DAY IN NEW YORK AND ASKED IF I THOUGHT DAVID WOULD LET US MAKE A FILM ABOUT HIM. I TOLD HIM I DID NOT KNOW BUT IT COULDN'T HURT TO ASK---- SO I HOPPED ON A FLIGHT AND MET WITH DAVID AT HIS HOME IN LOS ANGELES WHAT I WANTED TO ACHIEVE WITH THE DOCUMENTARY WAS TO BE ABLE TO GIVE PEOPLE A PERSONAL VIEW OF DAVID'S CREATIVITY----- CREATIVITY WHICH IS CONSTANTLY COMING OUT OF HIM. FROM THE TIME HE WAKES UP TO THE TIME HE GOES TO BED HE IS CREATING.


Monday, 17 September 2007

Interview: SARA POCOCK

Sara Pocock is a young animator who received considerable attention for her animated film Ballvaughan Story(see below). With the amount of Flash-based vector animation around, her hand crafted work is refreshing and reminiscent of Yuri Norstein's work. I hope to see the spark of her talent fully take flame in future.

How did Ballyvaughan Story come about? What was your interest in this period of history and how did you settle on using charcoal for its creation?
Well, the film came about as a result of direct contact with the real village of Ballyvaughan, Ireland. While I was studying animation as an undergraduate, I decided to take a semester off to study abroad and work on my own film. I don’t know what drew me to Ireland, but it seemed like the best possible place to go for inspiration. Ballyvaughan is located in a part of Western Ireland that’s dubbed “The Burren.” The landscape is incredible and almost otherworldly in nature.



I began studying at the Burren College of Art and met a local man named Jim Hyland, who was a bit like the town historian. He had this deep and vast pool of knowledge about the history of the village and I became interested in his stories immediately. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind sitting down for an interview and he agreed. He spoke for almost two hours, but one of the tales that really jumped out at me was a story about his mother and her involvement in the Troubles in 1921. It was then I knew I had my story for the animation. The original recording of Jim’s voice was used as narration for the piece to preserve the feeling of traditional oral storytelling.

Interview: MOTHER VULPINE

It is with regret that this interview with the members of Mother Vulpine comes at a turbulent time time for the band and there is some question as to whether this interview is for premonition or posterity.

Based in Leeds(UK), the band have created a guitar-driven gothic fable which has been supported by their artistic talents, not least Matthew Bigland's direction of their video for "Keep Your Wits Sharp".


First off, would you each introduce yourselves and what part you play in Mother Vulpine?

Matthew Bigland - vocals, guitar, visionary frontman
Lindsay Wilson - guitar, backing vocals, renegade female
Tom Hudson - bass, backing vocals, uncontrollable driving force
Ben Waddleton aka Shakes - drums, disco-maestro

On your MySpace it says the band members are the “Vulpine Siblings”. Are you really siblings? And how did the band form and what was the first single you recorded?
Vulpine Siblings refers to the concepts the band is based on - a dark, mythical tale envisaged by Matt, where a woman is left on her wedding night by a man who is said to have the heart of a wolf. She gives birth to their four children, and the true form of these children is unknown - human, wolf or both. The concepts of the band are based around that myth.


The band formed over a period of about four years, where Lins and Matt played guitar together and began the sounds and concepts later to become MV. A while later, they originally enlisted Tom's help as a guitarist, but realised he fitted perfectly as a mean bassist. In April last year, they came across Shakes and decided to give him a try. The dance influenced beats were just what they were looking for to complete the vision.

Almost exactly one year later, we are to release our debut single called Keep Your Wits Sharp (her words are quick). It was released May 2007 on Leeds label, On the Bone Records. We were lucky enough to record it with Justin Lockey from Yourcodenameis:Milo - after we sent him a demo, he called us the next day and was adamant he would record some of our songs. We've gone on to form a good friendship with the rest of the band and we're expecting to play with them later in the year.


At what age did you get into music?

I think music is something that is instinctually built into you – everyone has as much passion for it and that passion has come about in a few different ways – from Shakes learning drums as soon as he could hit a pan, Tom going to see gigs with his dad aged 7, Matt learning guitar from a young age but asking to be taught how to improvise instead of playing someone else’s songs, and Lins, a bit later as a teenager being completely inspired by the sounds a guitar could make.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

SiouxWIRE Snippets 5.0


Can the art of a paedophile be celebrated?
Finlo Rohrer, BBC News
Is the merit of a work of art dependent on the morality of the creator?

How to: Hop Trains
Andreas Trolf, Fecal Face
A non-comprehensive guide to hopping freight trains across America - fascinating.

Suffering for Sale
Anne Tornkvist, Guernica
"Photojournalists can make a killing in galleries with war photos. Should they?"
Why be an artist?
Gavin Turk, Guardian Unlimited
From a historical perspective, Gavin Turks asks, "Why make art?"

First at Ninety
Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker
Screenwriter Millard Kaufman discusses his debut novel 'Bowl of Cherries' and looks back on a life of writing.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Featurette: ÉVA MAGYARÓSI


Having only recently graduated in animation at MOME in 2005, Hungarian Éva Magyarósi's film Hanne which was submitted as part of her thesis was awarded at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. Her collection of work is full of beguiling imagery which is generously showcased on her homepage. The animation below is Szerelemhús (Flesh of Love), created by Éva in 2003 (courtesy of Daazo, the European Short Film Centre.)


Friday, 14 September 2007

Featurette: AKIRA NAGASAWA


Since receiving his B.F.A. in Japanese Painting of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music and M.F.A. in Japanese Painting of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Akira Nagasawa's work has balanced between abstract and figurative paintings incorporating mythic beasts that he refers to as tigers.

Principally making use of natural materials, his works are typically created on a canvas of cheese-cloth using mineral pigments, gypsum, iron powder, earth, and the occasional acrylic, his paintings hint at narratives with several layers within each image. The image above(mountain) measures 2273×1818mm(7.5 x 6 feet).



Since 2003, Akira has been Assistant Professor of Tohoku University of Art & Design and is currently represented by the Galleria Grafica Tokio.

Links
Galleria Grafica Tokio
Saatchi Online - Galeria Grafica profile
Metropolis.co.uk - article

Thursday, 13 September 2007

JULIUS RAGAISHIS' "Groth"


Recycling a CG flower which he created for an advert, Julius Ragaishi developed this short animation making use of rich colours and textures combined with fluid, organic movement. Here is the Flash version; higher quality Quicktime files are available at the links below.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Interview: AHNDRAYA PARLATO

In her series 'Inscape' and 'other orchards', Ahndraya Parlato has created a solid though intriguingly indefinable body of work. Into everyday settings, she inserts a grain of discomfort whose resultant tension wears over time and in turn makes repeated viewings of her work a new revelation.

Following her work, it is anything but linear, full of tension and contradiction, exposition and mystery. They are hard to grasp and without a definite trajectory, I am looking forward to seeing what she will will come up with next.

Born in Kailua, Hawaii in 1979, Ahndraya received a B.A. from Bard College and went on to graduate from the California College of Arts with an M.F.A. where she returned to lecture. She now teaches at Ithaca College in New York state.


Your images have a lot of variety in content and location, which seems to imply spontaneity even for images, which are obviously setup (or so it seems). Would you give us some insight into how your images come about and what typically sparks an idea into an image?
I very consciously work at creating a body of work that is thematically & conceptually cohesive rather than say, uses one subject matter as the premise for an entire series. I have never been drawn to work that is “all photographs of” couples, abandoned houses etc, they always seem too succinct and all-encompassing – a bit smug – rather like they’re telling us something instead of asking – for me, making photographs is also an act of exploring, so I may have ideas I want to work on, but I don’t know exactly what it is I’m looking for – if I did, I feel like to a certain extent, there would be no point in making the images. Subsequently, I tend to be interested in more expansive bodies of work – or ones that although conceptually or thematically unified, might allow for a certain diversity or range within subject matter; I am thinking of artists like Jeff Wall, Collier. Schorr and Wolfgang Tillmans.


Sometimes, before taking a photograph I have specific ideas I want to convey and I will write them down and think about the things that for me visually connote these ideas.

Things like:
  • Trying to contain the uncontainable
  • A private language
  • The inside is unsafe
  • The outside is an extension of the inside
  • Where do people place their reality w/in a socially constructed/accepted reality and how much do they deny it to fit in?

(I love list making)

I am, however, a bit of a creature of habit, the image ideas I come up with usually are sparked by something I have seen a million times, a thicket I pass in the car everyday, a gesture someone often does, I am TERRIBLE at shooting on the fly or in a new, unfamiliar location, I travel a lot and I never even bring my camera – despite it being a 4 X 5, which can be a bit cumbersome, I hate the stress of creating an image at a place I can’t readily re-access or don’t already know.

The Interval


As those of you who regularly visit SiouxWIRE may have noticed, things have been relatively quiet recently. I'm still in transit so maintaining the site has become something of a plate spinning routine. That said, the hiatus has changed my perspective somewhat and the direction of the site should reflect that in the coming days and weeks.

For those who have offered their support in links, kind messages, and various offers as well as those who have continued visiting the WIRE, I am extremely grateful and apologise that I am currently unable to reply to all the gestures of goodwill. Thank you.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Interview: ESZTER BALINT


Born into a life of art, Eszter Balint has been a musician, an actor in both stage and film, and a witness to the vibrant art scene of New York since the late seventies. Known to many for her role in Jim Jarmusch's "Stranger than Paradise", her deadpan performance as John Lurie's cousin Eva encapsulates a beat mentality that together with Lurie and Richard Edson create the fascinating trio that's the backbone of the film.

At the age of 10, the Squat Theatre group for which her parents were members was exiled from their native home in Hungaria after angering the authorities. Wandering through Europe and performing in abandoned spaces (hence their name), they eventually moved to New York in 1977.

With encouragement from her grandmother and mum, she took up the violin at 6 and the passion for music would foment during her teen years when the Squat Theatre's New York home would transform into a nightclub for which she would DJ. During this time, she made her recording debut playing violin on an early rap track produced by Jean Michel Basquiat and featuring rapper Rammellzee, made a cameo in Basquiat's "Downtown 81", and featured in Jim Jarmusch's classic "Stranger Than Paradise".


In the years to follow, Eszter aspired to work in film though a move to Los Angeles soon took the sheen from this endeavor and she returned to her musical roots creating music for films, forming a short-lived band with Sixteen Horsepower's Pascal Humbert, and finally returning to New York to write and record her debut album Flicker in 1998.

In addition to her musical work, she also made appearances in other films over the years, most notably Steve Buscemi's "Trees Lounge" (1996) and Woody Allen's "Shadows & Fog" (1992).

This interview was conducted shortly after the release of her latest album, Mud, in 2005 and is part of the Ramble Rocket archive. It is also significant in terms of SiouxWIRE in that Eszter was the first person for whom I requested an interview and her enthusiasm has to a great extent remained with me to this day.


SIOUXFIRE: It's kind of strange. Before getting this set of questions together, I read a lot of reviews for your albums Mud and Flicker. It's this kind of thing that makes me think I'm not listening to the same thing or I'm in an alternate reality. A lot of reviews describe your voice as harsh and the music as "heavy". (Your music is uplifting to me - Mud is like sitting in a cabin in a bayou drinking cognac by candlelight where you can smell the wood and earth, and friends are all around) What do you think about reviews and some of these descriptions they
attribute to your music?
ESZTER: Well, I'm not entirely sure we're reading the same reviews. I love the way you describe Mud, that's just fine by me, lovely in fact. Thanks. But there were a number of reviews here that did seem to hint at something similar. On Flicker I think my voice probably is a bit
harsh, harsher than it has since become, so that may be somewhat deserved. (I've worked on becoming a more relaxed singer. And still have a ways to go, it's an exciting and probably never ending process.) I don't recall reading that so much about Mud, but if the words harsh and heavy popped up, it maybe because my lyrics, musical sensibilities, and well perhaps even my vocal delivery has a bit more edge than a lot of the material these reviewers listen to within the so-called "singer-songwriter" genre. Which, for better or worse, is the context in which they're going hear me; obviously what I do is not hip hop, or a punk-rock thing. For a generally earthy, warm, somewhat rootsy, and very much song-driven record, Mud has a few harsh and maybe even heavy touches. (Honestly I am not thrilled with the word heavy, but if it means the opposite of light, well, I can live with that)

Monday, 10 September 2007

Interview: KATY HORAN

Drawing inspiration from international folklore and childhood fantasy films, Katy Horan creates imagery with her own, unique language and neo-traditional aesthetic. Her work has the disarming qualities of children's illustration while putting forward some intriguing motifs and narratives that add a layer of depth. Using a natural palette with muted tones adds to the feeling of calm that her work evokes.

Originally from Texas, she received her BFA in 2003 and has been something of a wandering star living and exhibiting in several cities. Katy now works and resides in Brooklyn, NY.


Can you tell us a little background history to yourself and the development of your work?
I can be a little ADD sometimes, so my path has not been the most direct one. For the longest time, I wanted to illustrate Children’s books. I went to art school and majored in Illustration. I tried a lot of different approaches to art and my style fluctuated a lot. I even dabbled in set design and animation. Seriously, I could never sit still artistically.


After I moved to Brooklyn, I kept creating work to build my Illustration portfolio, but my style continued to stray from what children’s book publishers look for, so I got many rejection letters. At that point, I was really inspired by the art coming out of LA and San Francisco, so I just started switching my focus in that direction and luckily at one point galleries started to show. So now, I work on telling stories through individual paintings and drawings that hang on a wall rather than in a book. I do really hope to find a way to create books in the future.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Goin' out west


This evening I will be starting a bus journey through Europe to London in what is perhaps the most foolhardy of endeavours. I will continue posting when possible and in an oblique manner documenting the journey visually on Noodles.

And in a fit of the obvious, this seems an appropriate moment to post this gem:


Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The Darjeeling Limited


The trailer for Wes Anderson's latest, The Darjeeling Limited has surfaced online. See the trailer below and here is the synopsis courtesy of Fox Searchlight:
THE DARJEELING LIMITED starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman is an emotional comedy about three brothers re-forging family bonds. The eldest, played by Wilson, hopes to reconnect with his two younger siblings by taking them on a train trip across the vibrant and sensual landscape of India.




Links:
Fox Searchlight
Supplemental video link
Wes Anderson wiki
Film Ick (source) + Quicktime links

Monday, 23 July 2007

Interview: KEETRA DEAN DIXON


The work of Keetra reminds me of the pet projects of Amelie of Montmartre with their infusion of optimism and rich creative nature. Indeed, the parallels continue with the inspirational imagery provided in the course of this interview as well as her fascinating photobooth imagery.

Her creations demonstrate not only a mature aesthetic sensibility but a unique view of the world that is at once unpredictable yet consistently her own. A number of artists working commercially often find that their commercial work spills into their personal work, but in Keetra's case her personal work is dominant. It is her personal vision that permeates her commercial designs. They fit seamlessly with her independent creations.



With little background information available online, she has provided the following information as a background to her work:
----------------------------------------
A Character Profile of Keetra Dean Dixon, by Joshua Walton.
Some clarification, by Keetra Dean.
----------------------------------------

Keetra prefers the trashier version of a grilled cheese sandwich.
She used to live in an Igloo and fight bears on a daily basis for survival.

KEETRA DEAN:
I was born & raised Alaskan.

Joshua:
She only eats the flesh of other designers.

KEETRA DEAN:
I fall on the veggie side of things, but that never squelches my competitive nature.

Joshua:
She'll punch you (HARD) in the face if you say she can't live without electricity for a week.

KEETRA DEAN:
I DON'T NEED NO ELECTRIC!

Joshua:
She feels that cars move too slow and days move too quick.

KEETRA DEAN:
True.

Joshua:
If she ever went to prison she would design the best tats for people.
Oh, and one more thing, she can outshoot me at the gun range every time so keep her on your side for the zombie invasion.

----------------------------------------
Some standard stats:
Education: MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art + BFA, Minneapolis College of Art & Design
Owns her own studio, From Keetra, in NYC. Often collaborates with the Time and Place Workshop.

And so with heaps of appreciation, I'm very pleased to present the following interview with Keetra.

SIOUXFIRE: Were you creative as a child? Were there any key moments while growing up that shape your work? And at what point did you decide that ‘art’ was your calling?
KEETRA DEAN:
Both of my parents have had careers focusing on practical fabrication - seamstress & metal smith. So I grew up in a hands on environment, but I don't think I was any more or less creative than other children. I did make my first cash in high school doing portraits of friends & people in the community. It went from there.


SIOUXFIRE: Are there similarities between how you approach a personal and commercial project? And what are the differences?
KEETRA DEAN: I approach commercial work like I approach gift giving. "What would ____________(insert client name) REALLY want for their Birthday?" Where as un-commissioned work is a present all for me! It's problem solving VS a more indulgent exploration. Either way I am looking to make someone smile.


The Artistry of JAPANESE SWEETS


Attempting to describe the virtues of oriental sweets to westerners is difficult. The doughy, gnocchi-like textures, tempered sweetness, and marzipan-like shapes are a refreshing alternative to the sugared sweets typically on offer in the west. Their colours and aesthetic are wonders on their own.

Given the attention that food has received recently in arts circles, I can't help but consider the possibilities in the mediums used in these confectioneries. Ferran Adrià, chef and proprietor of El Bulli was featured in this year's Documenta art show which kicked off that perennial and pointless question of "Is it art?"

PingMag have a fascinating post on wagashi(Japanese sweets) and their reflections in colour and scent of the seasons for which they are made. Read it HERE and should you have the opportunity to sample oriental sweets, do not let it pass.

Links:
PingMag article
Is food art? - Guardian Unlimited article
Documenta 12
Toraya - Japanese confectionery
Wagashi - Tokyo Cube article
Wagashi wiki

Wagashi Japanese Bakery (London) 02086991393

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Featurette: CY TWOMBLY


In a career spanning 5 decades, Cy Twombley's work makes use of a wide variety of mediums and styles often with foundations in classicial arts. His work is difficult to pin down but its subtle balance between order and chaos, comfort and angst is compulsive viewing.

See more of his work and learn more about Cy Twombly at the links below.



Links:
Cy Twombly - Tate Collection
Cy Twombly - Lingering at the Threshold (Tate Etc)
Cy Twombly Gallery - The Menil Collection
Assessing Cy Twombly - Slate Magazine image essay
Cy Twombly - Artscenecal
Cy Twombly - Centre Pompidou (book)
Cy Twombly - Wiki

Friday, 20 July 2007

SIOUXSIE SIOUX: Into a Swan video


I'm not sure if it's comforting or disappointing to find bands from my youth returning exactly as I remember them. Here is the first video(dir. Harvey & Carolyn) released from Siouxsie Sioux's new solo album MantaRay as well as a classic.




The single Into a Swan will be released on the 27th of August with the full album MantaRay scheduled for the 10th of September.

Links:
Siouxsie & the Banshees/Creatures
Harvey & Carolyn
if:mv (source) with Quicktime
Siouxsie Wiki
MantaRay

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Introducing RAOUL SERVAIS


Born in Ostend, Belgium in 1928, Raoul Servais studied Decorative Arts at the Ghent Royal Academy of Fine Arts and started his career in moving images with a short animated titled Spokenhistorie ("Ghost Story"). Made with fellow students and the support of his teacher, Albert Vermeiren, Servais made use of a homemade camera constructed from a cigar box in its creation.

After serving in the military during the second World War and experimenting with short films, he becomes the youngest member of a team working with René Magritte who became furious with him for offering technical advice to the master. In spite of this, Servais' admiration for Magritte doesn't falter. Through his political commitments, he finds work illustrating for the Labour and Socialist movements.


In the sixties, his appointment as teacher of decorative arts at the Ghent Academy of Fine Arts finally provides him with the support and stability to pursue his aspirations in film and animation. He founds Europe's first department of animation and begins work on his individual and eclectic collection of films.

In the late seventies, he creates and registers Servaisgraphy, a technique by which he shoots live action characters and prints them on cellophane which allowed him to integrate live action shots into animated backgrounds. The first work to feature this was Harpya (1979) and he would use it further in Taxandria(1994) and Nocturnal Butterflies(1998).


Despite finding success throughout his career with prestigious accolades, he has not been shy in making dramatic changes between works. Below are a selection of some of Servais' work in Flash format. Links to vendors for DVDs featuring his work are available in the links.


Chromophobia - 1965


Harpya (The Harpy) 1979


Nachtvlinders (Nocturnal Butterflies) 1997

Links:
Raoul Servais
FilmRef.com
Raoul Servais interview - AWN
DVD Beaver - Raoul Servais
Raoul Servais DVD - xploitedcinema.com

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