Intro to Cartoon Swirl

The art of animation is as much about pacing as it is about imagery. As an animator I have never been afraid of slowing things down, lingering upon specific frames, allowing them to resonate; nor have I been afraid of accelerating frame-rate, harking toward hallucination. Cartoon Swirl falls into the latter category. To a degree this piece was shaped by the earliest impact animation had upon my psyche: as a teenager tripping my brains out on LSD, watching the cartoons of Chuck Jones and Tex Avery (cartoons like Duck Amuck, One Froggy Evening, Red Hot Riding Hood, and Who Killed Who?). As a kid I related more to Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, and Marvin the Martian than I did to characters played by flesh and blood performers. Somehow flesh and blood characterizations seemed less real. I find it amusing how Marshall McLuhan ties in. Reading McLuhan taught me how to analyze media. What initially drew me to McLuhan was a gut feeling I had even as a teenager that the media environment I was growing up in was an elaborate mirage reflecting reality on only the most superficial level. However, this never fazed me. I actually found it quite fascinating and decided to devote my life not to understanding media, but to playing with it. The end result decades later: my website, Illumination Gallery, where I post animations indirectly rooted in those teenaged acid-haze experiences digging the cartoons of Chuck Jones and Tex Avery.

I create animations by transforming text and preexistent imagery. Often I transform photographs of particular individuals. My favorite such individual is Poetic Pinup Harlean Carpenter. I have animated both her poetry and image. Cartoon Swirl animates 5 photographs of her. Does my choice of subject matter here suggest I consider pinup models akin to cartoon characters? Yes, but only in the most positive & imaginative sense. Let me state that to this day, so far as media-generated characters are concerned, I find the cartoon variety to be more real than the flesh and blood variety. Now, Harlean Carpenter is most definitely a flesh and blood woman, but at the same time she is an invention, a character spawned through a poetic imagination. She is a beautiful woman, as well as that same beautiful woman’s doppelganger. Herein I cascade transformations of her in a cartoon swirl.

Animation duration: 2 minutes and 23 seconds, before looping.

Peter Schmideg

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