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Tin House Reels: Edwin Rostron

Visions of the Invertebrate, this week’s film at Tin House Reels, is a dance of geometric shapes set to electronic sounds, a collaboration between artist Edwin Rostron and musician Supreme Vagabond Craftsman.

Working with a musician opened up possibilities for Rostron’s storytelling: “Supreme Vagabond Craftsman and I wanted to make something where his music and text came first, and the visuals followed.” This turned into a cross-genre dialogue. “He gave me recordings; I started animating. I showed him the drawings, and he gave me more sounds. It continued like this until it reached a natural conclusion. I like something unnatural and artificial in electronic sounds, and I wanted to connect with that sound through straight lines and movements.”

Rostron creates motion that could more easily be approximated with animation programs, but he chooses the labor-intensive process of drawing each frame because it allows him to dissolve the thinking mind into visual art: “I didn’t use the programs that I could have used to move the shapes–it is all drawing after drawing. There are 12.5 different drawings per second and thousands of separate drawings in the whole film. I draw one shape, put it on a lightbox, and redraw it again, moving it a little further in the direction it’s going, making it slightly bigger or smaller if it’s changing shape.”

“While I could achieve motion more easily with software, I wanted to not know what would happen next; I wanted to draw the next tiny change and the next tiny change but never consciously know where it was going. This is my ‘thinking through doing.’”

The final stages of his creation (you can better understand this painstaking labor by watching the test video for Visions) include an almost masochistic erasure of the meticulous work he has done by hand: “I artificially flat photoshop-color it to make it ambiguous as to how it was made. I guess this is pretty perverse! I was originally going to have it more ‘dirty’ with the smudges and creases of the paper more visible (like they are in the test) but when I saw my work with the bright flat colors, I much preferred it.”

“It’s hard to for me to explain I guess, but this film could only ever have been made in the way I made it.”

Edwin Rostron earned his B.A. in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University and his M.A. in Animation at the Royal College of Art. He has taught Animation at Kingston University, worked in galleries, and has done other freelance work to support his art. Edge of Frame, his blog, is an exploration of experimental animation that features interviews with animators who inspire him.

Tin House Reels is a weekly feature on The Open Bar dedicated to the craft of short filmmaking. Curated by Ilana Simons, the series features videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words.

We are now accepting submissions for Tin House Reels. Please upload your videos of 15 minutes or less to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link of your work to tinhousereels@gmail.com. You may also send us a file directly.



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