Animakers

On Tuesday I said a few words at Animakers at their end of year showcase. The event was in Rua Red, where Animakers house their operations. I did a workshop for Animakers back in Nov 2013. It was certainly great to see all their work develop and this young group of animation artists get such support and head start in the world of animation. The workshops are run by Vanessa Daws and Ulla Juske, and have been running for 2 years now. The Animakers produce and experiment with eclectic methods of animation whilst Vanessa organises industry guest speakers to come in to give advice to the gang of young talent.

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Anamú – complete editions 1-7

Compliments of Steve Woods – http://stevewoods.ie – here is back catalogue of Anamú. Originally members of Anamú set up to join Asifa but soon found out that they didn’t have the full resources to become an Asifa member, alternatively they created their own community outlet Anamú. These will be a great addition to Pegbar’s latest project in making a Digital Irish Animation Archive Resource – http://pegbar.ie/site/index.php/irish-animation-digital-archive/

Download all 7 editions here:

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Anamú

On Wednesday, I was sent an Irish Animation zine, ‘Anamú’, from Cathal Gaffney of Brown Bag Films, stating it was ‘one for the Pegbar archives’. I’m really grateful to have received it as I am a bit of an anorak when it comes to D.I.Y publishing. This copy of Anamú is without a doubt a unique piece of Irish animation history. It dates from 1993, and the group had published 4 more issues in the previous two years. This was the first edition created using desktop publishing software, previous editions to this were all made on typewriter and letraset. In this edition, Anamú discusses the fall of Bluth in Ireland and various topics around animation as well as promoting animation networking events. For emerging animation talent in Ireland in the early 90’s, Anamú was the hub for information.

Cathal also gave the nod in his note to the achievement of all the effort put into Anamú as it was ‘pre-internet, pre-digital, pre filmboard etc’, which should be massively acknowledged. For Pegbar.ie or this blog, all I need is an idea and mobile reception if I really want to post something to the world. This wasn’t always the case for me, as I was a keen contributor to zines in the early 2000’s and still love the zine and indie print publishing culture. Why stop at the zine culture, it was the entire D.I.Y scene in Dublin that fueled me to do, make, recycle, put on gigs, organise art shows and I just don’t think I’ve stopped.  Going deeper, I had really resourceful parents that could make fun out of anything as a pretty broke family in the 80’s and 90’s, they played vital roles within several communities and sports/music/art scenes of their own.  After I left college, my friends and I set up Pegbar on the same values that my folks and the D.I.Y scene had given to me, matching the core values that Anamú was set up to a decade and a half previous.

The core message is that if you can’t find find what you’re looking for, create it yourself, put it out into the world and the chances are you’ll find people to relate to and develop your blossoming ideas. Whether it’s publishing a zine about fixing bikes, blogging about crochet, or setting up an animation hub, you’re making a personal contribution to the world by sharing your experiences and knowledge to others.

Download Edition 5 of Anamú here: http://danielspencer.ie/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/anamu001_ed5_small.pdf

I’m talking to Steve Woods to get the back catalogue of Anamú from him so I can scan and PDF them in order to publish them on Pegbar so there is a digital record of all editions. But I don’t think we should stop there, I think we should set up a digital archive of Irish animation history, so I’m also opening a call to animation folk past and present to collect any publications/papers written about Irish Animation pre-Pegbar.ie and then send them to

archive@pegbar.ie

If you have printed documents and don’t have the capabilities of scanning them, please send them with a return address to:

Daniel Spencer, c/o Giant Animation Studios, Unit 4b, Motor City, Kylemore Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin 12.

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The Wind Rises

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I went to see ‘The Wind Rises’ in the Light House Cinema on Tuesday compliments of StudioCanal. Many thanks to StudioCanal and the Light House for hosting the evening. ‘The Wind Rises’ is Hayao Miyazaki’s last film for Studio Ghibli as he is retiring from directing animated features. Miyazaki has directed so many beautiful pieces of cinema to date, including ‘Spirited Away’, ‘Princess Mononoke’, and ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ to name a few of my favourites.

‘The Wind Rises’ is a stunning achievement in animation and cinema craft. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down in front of a Miyazaki film and not been in awe of the technical triumphs that Studio Ghibli produce. On the other hand the story hit a sour note for me. It made me ask the question, how does someone measure success within their life? Without hitting on any spoilers, ‘The Wind Rises’ shows the life of Jiro Horikoshi, an airplane engineer with an obsession in his work. This obsession leads him down the road of success within his craft, but along this journey, it seemed to me that he lost a lot of his values to his obsessions.

Within my industry, animation artists can be obsessed with their artistry as it is a labour intensive, high risk, yet highly rewarding craft form. Is Miyazaki reflecting on his own career in this film and giving a nod to all the hard work and sacrifice that goes into being a genius within one’s own field of expertise? I think there is a hint of this within the film, especially with it being his last directorial role on a feature.

This film made me question my role as an artist and my long journey to be where I am today. I do like to think of myself as an artist. Constantly researching, constantly working and constantly outputting in one shape or form. However I don’t see myself as an obsessed artisan striving for perfection. Whether people see worth in my practice is irrelevant, it is the amount of hours I put into it myself that makes me an artist. All this constant work can be damaging to yourself, and the relationships around you if you don’t look after yourself.

So how do I measure success in what I do? Well, the honest answer is that I don’t try to measure it, but I do know when I feel good about something I’ve created and when I don’t. These inclinations guide my direction from one piece of research to another, or from attempting a new form of craft to just working on a single piece for days on end. Sometimes I feel safe in my judgement, other times I feel completely lost, but I am happy to be exploring and letting the natural creative flow take precedence over the stress of looking for “success”.

Careers Talk at Future Creators

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I presented a careers talk at the Future Creator’s sharing my experiences in life, decisions I made and the explorations around art and creativity I have experienced.  The programme itself is great, it gives young people the chance to explore various mediums of design/film/tech and encourages new skills in digital art/design as well as coding for various languages. The photo above was stolen from their website. Check out their site and testimonials from the participants here:

http://www.thedigitalhub.com/learning/future-creators-programme/what-do-the-future-creators-love-about-the-programme-so-far/1928