Art is Theft is the proud winner of the Toronto Independent Film Festival 2017, in the category of Best Animated Short.
For more info about the winners, please click here
Art is Theft is a personal project I've been planning for a long time. Here's a deep inside the creative process behind this animation.
I call this form the Tesseract (although is not really that form). It represents all the matter concentrated in one small spot before all creation takes place, like in the Big Bang. The elements inside are abstract creation forms. I went all philosophical when working on the layers in this element and named each part after a Galaxy. It has 8 parts and their names are:
Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Crux, Equuleus, Gemini, Lynx, Taurus and Perseus.
This form was also inspired by this Juan Gris painting:
The hand is the creator´s hand. We sometimes try to grab everything without a though or process, as the hand does with the Tesseract. The creative process won’t usually work that way, that immediate. The hand can´t just grab everything at once.
Human characters and hands are black to mimic the ancient Greek pottery style. It´s a nod to Classic Hellenic art, which Picasso would do often in his work
Grabbing all the forms of creations at once is not possible.
Hence the hand gets rejected by the Tessaract.
But forms come out of the Tesseract. These are basic shapes, forms, abstractions. Building bricks to other creations. They are there; we just have to grab them and work with them.
Even though it doesn’t really look like, I thought a lot about Joan Miro and Matisse making these forms:
Creative thinking is often very ambiguous and abstract until we give it form. Is like clay we have to mold. Here is depicted like a blob, a dense liquid mass, carrying the forms of creation. The creative process is about to start, first in a very overwhelming, undefined way.
This is also a nod to one of my all time favorite animations: Akira. At the end of the film there´s a serious transformation with one of the characters in a similar way.
The blob or undefined form collides with the Muse. Often, in ancient times (and not that long ago), artists would wait for “The Muse” to come to their souls to inspire them and create. Here is a Muse, in black, like the Hellenic pottery, caught by the creational forms. Hence, the inspiration comes.
The creation blob grabs the Muse. This fusion will give birth to new creations the artist will eventually develop through trial and error.
Picasso once said: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child“.
I´ve always been fascinated by this quote. Taking the immediate and pure sense of children in art is very hard and difficult, and often we loose that ability as the years go by. To catch up that magic and immediate pure art is a lifetime achievement.
Picasso did a bunch of amazing experimental sculptures and this creature is bases upon them and their infant, pure, naive style.
Even though everything falls apart, the child spirit carries on. It is something we can’t really kill, but often hide very deep inside us until we find it again.
More geometric, freestyle forms.
I was in Toronto last May and went to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). They had lots of awesome Inuit devices and took a lot of inspiration from there
I also went to the Bogota Gold Museum in June and also took a lot of inspiration from the pre-Colombus style in there. At the end, it´s a mix of a bunch of stuff and nothing at all.
The geometric forms are also based upon tropical fruits:
The forms finally unify together in a more concrete element. It goes fast as a rocket. Once we get the idea, in many ocassions the creation of them go very fast after conceptualization. It happened to me making this project. It took me a couple of months to come out with the idea, script and style and so. Once I had everything clear on my mind, the animation took me around three weeks in a frenzy pace of creation between professional projects, during the nights and weekends. I´m sure it happens to everyone.
Note the forms inside this arrow-like object are the same as in the first form, the Tessaract. The form also reminds of an ancient stone-arrow.
This is a bit of an obvious idea, but there we go: The form injecting itself in an uterus, like the inception of the new creation. The conception.
13, 14, 15, 16 & 17.
More forms based upon Picasso style creatures.
These vases remind me of Hellenic style vases, but also pre-Colombian southamerican vases.
The smoke coming out is like the essences ancient Greek temples would have to ascent and merge with the divine Gods. Virgins living in the temple would use essences to commune with the divine will.
I went last year to Cartagena, Colombia, and bought there two beautiful vases made by real south American Indians with ancient techniques. I´ve always been fascinated but that type of art.
The vases I bought:
This is who I call “The thief”. It could be any of us. The big forms conforming his body are based upon the “Classic Period” of Picasso. He would make classical, greek looking people, but with very round, big forms:
Finally, when our forms are created, that´s not the end of the process. It´s all a giant balance between different pieces. To picture this, I thought a lot about the work of Calder:
Imitating, or not taking nothing from nowhere leads to nothing. So all the possible creations fall into the pit of obscurity, where there´s no creation. I thought a bit about the classic 1982 Tron movie when I made the trails of the objects falling.
When we refuse to look around us we create nothing. Hence, obscurity and creativity get blocked. When the realize the process and embrace it, ideas will come and will enlighten our soul. I though about the feeling you get when you see Christmas lights in the dark. A very warm and comforting feeling indeed.
I love african masks. They picture the human face in a very primitive, basic, stylized way. Picasso, Braque and Cezanne were very impressed by the African art as a very primal, deep way of treating art into different forms, far from the classical approach.
Some African masks I saw at the National Museum at Bogota, last June:
This mask has some Parrot feathers. I saw some beautiful macaws in Cali, Colombia zoo. They are stunning to see and the colors pop like nothing else you could see.
A final creation comes from the darkness after all the process. This is an homage to the classic Still Life paintings that hundred of painters have done through ages. Picasso, Braque, Cezanne and Juan Gris used this medium to develop a classic form and break with tradition, introducing new forms and approaches. It also depicts the union of lots of different arts: painting, music, writing, sculpture, pottery... you name it