Intro to Blakean Paine

Jack Shepherd’s play, In Lambeth, dramatized a fictional encounter between William Blake and Thomas Paine. The Paine character is portrayed as being put off by the Blake character’s over-the-top personality, while the Blake character expresses cynicism regarding the Paine character’s too easy acceptance of the American and French revolutions. Yet those revolutions fueled William Blake’s imagination (he mythologized them in his illuminated texts America a Prophesy and Europe a Prophesy) and forever bond him to Thomas Paine, who ultimately did feel betrayed by both revolutions’ shortcomings. In America, where Paine spent his final years, a Christian movement known as the Second Great Awakening swept over the land. Paine came to be viewed as a dangerous atheist. Jack Shepherd’s play dramatized the tension between two completely different men sharing an affinity for radical ideas. William Blake was on an inner artistic journey. Thomas Paine advocated change that could never truly come about without a societally wide inner transformation. The connection between Blake and Paine led me to create Blakean Paine, an animation in the style I developed in homage to William Blake’s illuminated texts. This animation incorporates text by Thomas Paine. Although I developed my animation style in homage to Blake, over the years the style has evolved, taking on a life all its own.

Animation duration: 17.9 seconds, before looping.

Peter Schmideg

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