Thursday, 20 September 2007

Theodore Ushev "Walking On By" & "Early in Fall, Late in September"

Theorore Ushev is one of my favourite animators and a helpful one as well. I use his work to demonstrate the possibilities of Flash animation with my students. He's also a superb artist which helps. He has two independent outlets for his work, and I'm featuring two of his animations but all his work is better than excellent. Walking On By is just that: a guy takes a stroll through all the stones and arrows that life can throw at him. He's as bouncy at the end as he is at the beginning. It was produced in 2003 and has been used with all my classes to explain the walk cycle and much beyond. Theodore is very witty and his simply drawn character and basic idea is a triumph of its sort. Early in Fall, Late in September is also simply drawn. It is about relationships that fade, and separation, and the seasons. Theodore uses shimmering, floating splashes of colour on a basic line drawing of black on white. Shapes and characters merge freely into each other in a fluid sequence of movement. I fnd it very moving. I use it to teach how to use alpha in Flash, and how or when to use frame by frame animation. Do, by the way, look at his book illustrations at his site. They are really something special. Theodore was born in Bulgaria but moved to Canada in 1999. Increasingly his work is not available on-line. He is however becoming a mainstay of the North American and European festival circuit. Last year his Tzaritza opened the Carrousel International du Film de Rimouski. ("Little Lili finds a tzaritza, a magic shell that will grant her a wish. She decides to use this magical gift to bring her grandmother, who lives near the Black Sea, to Montreal." NFC) His latest movie, Tower Bawher, is due to be screened later this month at the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2007. It's described by the National Film Board of Canada as a "wild ride through the pages of a chapter in modern art" which sounds just about right for Theodore.

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