Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lecturing about Women in Animation, to Women in Animation, New York

Recently, my Parsons Pre-College Program teaching colleague Ru Kuwahata and I had the opportunity to present a lecture to the New York chapter of Women in Animation, about... Women in Animation! Specifically, we spoke about Contemporary Women Animators and screened work created in this decade (and century). This was a survey of work that interests us and to which we've been exposed, but it was by no means an exhaustive look at who is making work right now. We wanted to show work that was made for personal expression, for clients, and for learning/school. And the idea for giving this talk was to share these animators who inspire us, with the members of the New York Women in Animation group, and SVA students who attended our talk, in the hopes that the inspiration would be infectious.

(School of Visual Arts on E. 23rd st., where the talks happen)

Last year, Ru and I gave another survey talk, about the History of Women Animators, which can be seen on Ru's blog, where she documented the main elements. Researching this talk with Ru was a very satisfying experience of geeking out with someone who shared my interest and excitement about animation, history, and Animation History. In the research process we explored work to which we'd respectively and collectively been exposed, and combined our thoughts about the work and the creators into a collaborative lecture. The actual talk was organized chronologically, with us showing clips and discussing the life stories, influences, and techniques of the women animators we featured. The audience at that talk was lively and engaged, and we had a good discussion after wards with some members contributing personal stories of working with some of the animators we featured.

For this year's talk, we approached the research differently as we had the opportunity to ask questions to the living women animators we were presenting. We emailed these animators a list of questions, asking about technical training, process, women animators who influenced and inspired their work, and advice to other animators. In return we got thoughtful answers that informed the bulk of our talk, which we structured with clips and stills. As a bonus, we had 2 of the animators we presented, Signe Baumane and Nina Paley, in our audience, to answer questions and inspire the NY Chapter after we finished the talk.

I am lucky in that in my colleague Ru, I have found an inspiring friend and co-presenter of lectures! Ru works with her husband and partner Max Porter, in their studio Tiny Inventions where they make beautiful, funny, cute and impressive work.

I love to talk with Ru about how things are going on their current project, which is a personal animation that will be about 11 minutes long. Ru and Max are diligent, passionate, and continually engaged in their work. The still above is from their upcoming animation: "Something Left, Something Taken".

Co-teaching, co-presenting, and chatting with Ru, I feel I have a mini-Women In Animation group, where we share information, support and inspiration. The larger organization-- the official Women in Animation, is the same on a larger scale, where resources, motivation, and learning are shared and spread.