US media artist
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background.
I was born in Toledo, Ohio and studied painting and video/performance art at the Cleveland Institute of Art. After graduating with a BFA, I started producing short experimental films and teaching myself computer graphics and animation. In the mid 90’s I moved to San Francisco and began working in the computer game/multi-media industry as an animator/designer. I was fortunate to have a day job that introduced me to new technology and nurtured my skills as an animator. Soon thereafter I directed a few animated music videos and began designing interactive projects and websites for clients such as The Library of Congress, Levi’s, Sony Playstation and PBS—to name a few. My own work has evolved over time and incorporates computer animation, still photography, live footage and archive film footage. I’m still living in San Francisco where I work as a freelance designer and animator while perusing my experimental film and video projects.
2. When, how and why started you filming?
When I was 12 years old my father gave me a second hand Super 8 movie camera. I was so excited—I drove my parents crazy, building sets, making costumes and transforming our garage into a movie studio. My very first film was a re-make of “Valley of the Dolls” (the 1967 classic starring Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins and directed by Paul Robson). I cast the girls in my neighborhood to play drug addicted Hollywood starlets, dressed in my mom’s wigs, wearing gowns made out of giant sized Kleenex, overdosing on candy pills and attempting suicide. I suppose that was my threshold experience. Sadly, no one seems to know what happened to the film.
3. What kind of subjects have your films?
I am interested in the poetic and abstract relationships of images and sounds—to renew and transform materials, experiences and ideas. The extraordinary thing about cinema is it’s ability to suggest the ineffable—something that cannot or should not be expressed in words, but only hinted at with sounds and images. It is this elusive, dreamlike quality that informs my work.
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
I view my work as a collision and recombination of ideas. My process unfolds gradually and spontaneously—using found materials such as archive film footage, photographs, and the Internet. I experiment by combining, altering, editing and reassembling using digital technology, special effects and animation to create a new kind of experience.
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
I use a Mac G5 with Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro.
6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?
Considering the genre is so young, combined with the fast pace new technologies are being developed—I can’t even guess what the future will bring. Besides, I like not knowing what’s coming next.
7. How do you finance your films?
My commercial work as a designer/animator helps to support my film and installation work. The budgets for my projects are generally pretty small to almost nonexistent. It’s more about having the time to do them.
8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team? if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
I prefer to work independently.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
So many things inspire me—and they change all the time. Last month I was completely captivated by the films of Carl Theodor Dreyer. This month it’s Alfred Hitchcock.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I would like to continue doing what I like to do without restrictions—and have the time to do it.