Saturday, 9 February 2008

Lucy Izzard "Tea Total", "One of the Family", "Come Rain or Shine" (Four Women, Four Decades - 2000s)

Lucy Izzard first came to my attention when she won the BBC's New Talent New Animation competition in 2005 with her Tea Total. She was then commissioned by the BBC to produce two short animations for the fairly new digital channel BBC 3. Lucy left Kingston University in 2005, Tea Total being her graduation work. I have chosen three of her animations to represent the present decade in my short series in which I select one animation by a women from each of the last four decades. Tea Total chronicles the British love affair with tea, using recorded dialogue, rather spare line drawings and some use of cut-outs. Indeed, Lucy's work is typified by quirky, hand drawn cartoons interspersed with conversational chat the like of which one would hear in any cafeteria, works canteen or bar - if you have the time, the ear, and the personality to engage the public in their likes and dislikes. Come Rain or Shine is a compilation of statements about that British obsession: the rain. "How do they predict it? I mean ...I bet they smell the rain." / "I can't smell it!" There's a cow being winched up from a field, a cloud that chases a guy with an umbrella and my favourite, a British legend of meteorological forecasting, Michael Fish, having a farm animal land on his head. I know from my email that the audience for the Animation Blog is worldwide and I'm curious how Lucy's very British humour and observational style will travel. One of the Family is a tremendous piece of work. I loved it. Lucy's focus here is the British regard for their pets. As with all her work on her website, Lucy used the Adobe package of Photoshop, After Effects and Flash and collected the audios "on location". I need to get out more - the audios are fantastic. The colloquial dialogue is astonishing whether it be concerning a diabetic dog or introducing us to another who sits on the family chair and eats from the owner's mouth - "It's the nearest I get to breast feeding." Could anyone write this? The owner talks up her cat, pats her own hairstyle into place, explains that the pet likes his seafood and the blessed thing scoffs the mini octopus scuttling around in the goldfish bowl! The style is reminiscent of Nick Park's Creature Comforts - no higher praise. I think we are seeing the emergence of a national treasure here. Lucy is in the company of three other top women in my short series but she deserves her place. I'll take a look at her other collaborative website next week.
By the way, notice the badge I've placed here. I'm in the top ten animation sites! It was quite a surprise to receive the plaudit. I had to think before I decided whether or not to add the pennant - maybe two seconds or so.

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