Saturday, June 27, 2009

Special Studio Guest: DJ DYER

Artist and Animator, DJ Dyer, has been involved in her animation project Wanted for the past year. I've marveled at her keen model building skills and her mastery with fabrication detail and scale. I was delighted she'd be willing to make time for a visit to Halfland on her trip down to Los Angeles from British Columbia this week. She's got a ton of fun things planned for her solo expedition from the woods to the jungle.

When people are excited about Halfland, I get excited to have them stop by. It's usually a good reality check for me to make metal note of where I am in the production and where I want to go and why. I showed DJ the set and the finished props, showed and telled the types of puppet armatures and materials I knew of, ran down what was next for the landscape. I filled her in on the essential coolness of knowing Mike Brent. We even had a mini film festival where we screened and discussed Ron Cole's masterpiece, In the Fall of Gravity, and were awestruck by the incredibly animatable puppets Nick Hilligoss sent over for the Underwater scene in the film.

What surprised me was how much I loved DJ's main characters that she brought with her, Jed and his sidekick Tito. I'm not generally a teddy person but these were so soft and lovable I could see why they already have a huge following. (At one point, Jed had nearly 3,000 friends on a certain social network and was receiving bags of fan letters and gifts of handmade clothing!)

Another wonderful unexpected turn for me was the depth and substance of my conversation about art and animation with DJ. We are the same age and spoke about specific influences in our upbringing that may have prompted stop motion to be such a consuming passion for us. We discussed the difficulties of trying to explain to perhaps more practical people that our films are our art and don't require any measure of success to fulfill their purpose. How the Art World and the world of Art Education have nothing to offer us at this point. We both know What We Are Doing, even if it's wrong. I found the conversation to be extremely galvanizing and supportive.

What a nice surprise to find another kindred spirit and friend in this world. DJ, You are welcome here again anytime. And in the meantime... I very much support what you are doing from here.


  1. It's good to have artists as friends who share your ideas because then you suddenly understand that you're not alone... That's really important. I think it is the great thing that a lot of creatives are blogging... So we could get connected though we're living all over the world... I really enjoy this...

  2. Vaowwwww... DJ's BIG Adventure.. Nice , nice, wonderful.. I wish I were there too :((

    "... We discussed the difficulties of trying to explain to perhaps more practical people that our films are our art and don't require any measure of success to fulfill their purpose... " It is great to know you people feeling the same way. I usually feel like I am on another planet apart from all. Hey! the earth looks funny from this side of the universe doesn't it?

  3. RIGHT ON, JESSICA! (caps lock on whuups)

    You're completely right! It's beyond fantastic that we all can support each other emotionally.

    I was really thinking of you specifically, Yaz, when DJ and I found we were approaching stop motion as personal art vs. strictly entertainment or commercial product.

    It's an unusual approach, especially for our gender, to choose. I finally got it through to Paul that Halfland is a 4th dimensional "painting" and therefore something huge that must be done on my own.

    So that's at least three that I can think of that are on this stop motion art planet.

  4. awesome Visit to halfland!

    Your place is becoming a Major stop for stop mo Geographic Explorations!

    I see this little Wafflehouse Roadmap with all the famous stop mo Blog stops....with your In the sunny california section standing proud.

    very cool to have open arms for our community.


  5. Totally right, Justin. Meeting each other is da bomb. Everyone from online that I've met here has been fantastic to know; you and Shel, Sven, Yuji, and now DJ.

  6. I met originally online friend Mark Fullerton at the stop mo expo too, but he hasn't been here yet. I feel as though I know him well though from working together on several design projects.

  7. Now that I think about it, I have my closest friends online, even though I haven't met them in person as yet.

  8. *Waves at Shelley*

    I'm in that weird world too! When I tell people at work I do stopmotion, first it takes a few minutes of explaining before they even understand what I'm talking about.... they usually have that WTF look on their face all the while... and then they ask how much money I get doing it!! When I tell them I pay just about all the spare cash I have to do this, they think Im insane!!!

    And THEN... when I try to explain about how it gives me a mission... a purpose in life, and that's fulfilling in a way that just doing the 9 to 5 grind and going drinking every weekend isn't, they write me off as an idiot. And THEN... then they call what I do CLAYMATION.... all innocently of course, they just don't understand the difference... as if textured puppets like I make could be done in clay!! What are these people thinking??? Haven't they ever played with plasticene as kids? Do they think people actually sculpt complicated dinosaurs covered with scales in CLAY and then resculpt them where they get mashed every FRAME????

    Ach... I gotta go lay down for a while....

  9. I see you, Mikeee!! Of course! But I don't think of you as slaving away on your films, even though you may very well be doing that. I think of you more as a stop motion, film, lighting, technology, camera, cinematography, rigging, armature, puppet building, performance scholar and educator.

    I love the art I've seen you do in stop motion and would totally consider you on the stop mo art planet with the girls. :)

  10. OH! Mike, I just caught your latest stop mo clip--spectacular!! I stand corrected!

  11. True, I haven't worked on a film for a while now... it's been all about upgrading the skillz and the equipment etc. But now that I feel I'm through the main thrust of the Physical Theatre exercises, July is the month I get down and dirty and start to finish this flick. So I'll be right in there slaving away, and edumacatin' as I go!

  12. This is super exciting to hear, Mike! I'm one of your biggest fans (---ok, I am your biggest fan. I can say that because I even love the Space Odyssey Oven Mit clip!)

  13. hehe! this is too funny - particularly the pic of me with my big magnification specs on!

    Loved visiting you Shelley and seeing Halfland and your fabulous home!

    I can`t wait to get home myself and back to work on WANTED!! :o)

  14. Lovely having you, DJ! Anytime at all.

  15. Looks like I'm a tad late commenting here, I knew my ears were ringing for a reason... A mini film festival, my film was screened and I missed it??? Oh Snap! Good thing I own my own copy so I didn't miss it. ;)

    You've been quite the influence on me Shelley, the email exchanges we had recently stirred up a bee hive in my brain and it hasn't calmed down yet... with any luck it never will calm down. Thanks!

  16. Howdy, Ron! Welcome!

    How nice of you to say that. I hope it all works for you. Use the power for good! Snap!


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