Your animation 'Bottom Feeders' is a story about survival and the perseverance of life in an unsympathetic world. What inspired you to create this world and these two creatures?
The two creatures started out as entirely independent doodles in my sketchbook, and then one day I was revisiting old drawings and thought the two would pair well together in the same world. The "bottom feeder" design evolved from conversations about the power dynamics of day-to-day voyeurism and how scared men often times end up being the most threatening men to women. This degree of direct commentary seemed too heavy-handed for a 2 minute short, so the primary impetus behind the film became how best to clarify the schematic organization of the ecosystem. Of course, it's still obviously so much about power and a brutal reduction our biology.
You've recently been heading more exclusively towards animation. What prompted your journey?
I love working with sculpture, but honestly, finding buyers who want to showcase this in their living room is dissuasively difficult. I also think independent animation is going in so many exciting directions right now, and the community behind it consists of the most inspiringly driven individuals I've ever met.
Describe your work in three words.
"Bleak but juicy," was how another animator recently described Bottom Feeders. I think it's a fitting description for most of my other work, too.
...What lead you to that aesthetic?
I used to have pretty bad acne when I was younger, and I think all that examination time in the mirror actually helped inform a lot of the imagery I use today. After undergrad, I started making all these masks with weeping sores and thick black hairs which I think was a continued meditation on this kind of bodily anxiety, only now it was more about sex and death and less about pimples. Also, Jim Trainor's films had a really big impact on me. I'd like to think I'm a little less bleak, though.
What will you be experimenting with 2015?
Now I'm working on a longer film - probably 7-9 minutes - that's more rooted in the real world. The story's still totally bonkers with tons of surreal elements, but there are people that live on cul-de-sacs and get coupons in the mail in this film. There's way fewer eyeballs being ejaculated in this one.