Experimental animation includes music videos, motion graphic pictures, films and TV

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Have you ever been curious about where Calgary’s experimental animation is shown publically? Well your curiosity can be satisfied by taking in GIRAF — the Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival on Nov. 2.

The festival will include a new form of art — live music synced to live visual animation and visual phenomena — which is attributed to one of Calgary’s well-known media artists, Joe Kelly.

“The type of work I do has always been a fringe sort of art form within experimental animation — people appreciate it and there are always new venues for it,” Kelly said.

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 “I first started in 1993 so the Internet and avenues such as YouTube and Vimeo were not available, nowadays media artists are able to utilize all types of online outlets to show their work.” Photo courtesy of Joe Kelly

Kelly describes his creative world as one that revolves around constant movement.

“Essentially I am always on the lookout for interesting media and recording it,” he explains.

“I am continuously trying to create media. It might be a video or it might be an animation — always looking at the way things move in the world and constantly recording phenomena or different types of movement.

“I do anything from cameraless animation to drawing on film. I often use clay, sand and paint — clicking frames of something as simple as paint moving on a light table, then mixing that into an animation sequence or ‘loop.’”

“What I find inspirational is how science studies phenomena; I enjoy applying the visual aspects of science to movement,” Kelly added.

In terms of new artists, Kelly said it can be very competitive to break into the media art industry.

“Anyone can do animation and stick it on YouTube, It’s really the content that sets itself apart.”

“If you are talented and you are doing something original, very creative and presented nicely you can get your work shown and distinguish yourself.”

There is unlimited potential in this industry Kelly said.

“The experimental animation technique can be found and applied to all types of media – music videos, motion graphic pictures, films and TV shows,” he explained. “Media art is a multi-billion industry.”

According to GIRAF festival co-ordinator Caitlind Brown, the animation industry in Calgary isn’t quite as developed when compared to Vancouver or Toronto. However, she says the awareness level has grown immensely in the last five years.

“The number of venue spaces for this year’s festivities is 14 whereas last year we were utilizing two locations.”

“Social media is what we use to promote ourselves. Things are really changing. The Internet is huge and things like Facebook and networking is what has created a piqued interest level in underground animation,” Brown added.

YouTube video
Experimental animation by Joe Kelly.
Video provided by: Joe Kelly

Alberta College of Art and Design media arts student Greg Doble said, “I am stoked for the GIRAF festival. I feel quite honoured as a Calgarian to have something like GIRAF for our animators.”

“As a local animator myself, it is great marketing and networking experience. On top of that you get to see some amazing work.”

Animation-goers and all those looking for an exciting source of entertainment can check out Joe Kelly’s live animation show at this year’s GIRAF festival.

“I am doing a live outdoor visuals performance this year. The show will be synced to music done by a live DJ. The performance is set up in a parking lot and GIRAF will be projecting the images onto surrounding buildings,” Kelly said.

He went on to say he’ll be mixing animated sequences to the music, trying out different animation techniques, and that “audiences can expect to see animation of photographs in video form in a repeated pattern of new designs.”

“The technique is officially called pixilation, now re-applied to digital imaging,” Kelly added.

Kelly will be performing at GIRAF on Nov. 2 at the 1578 8 St. parking lot. Admission to this event is free. More information can be found at giraffest.ca.


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