Sunday, March 18, 2001

Tentacle Session #20

Nina Paley



Nik Phelps


Animation and Music:
The Creative Process from
Conception through Collaboration

with opening music by

Nik Phelps and members of
Sprocket Ensemble

You know the old saying March comes in like an animator and goes out like a composer? Something like that. You don't recall that one? Well, just trust us. For March 2001, the Tentacle Sessions delivered a fantastic two-for-the-price-of-one artist: Composer Nik Phelps and illustrator/animator Nina Paley shared the stage and talked about their own work and their collaborations.

Nik talked about his past musical experience, including composing and performing new music for classic silent films with the Club Foot Orchestra. Nina Paley covered both her popular strip "Nina's Adventures" and her animational experiments--from 8mm with clay to 70mm with rubber stamps (or bicycle tires, who's counting?).

They also discussed uniting their talents to work on two animation projects: "I (heart) my Cat" and the soon to be released "Fetch!". Harrowing real-life tales of producing an independent animated film! Not to mention the animations themselves, the glorious product of their labor: thousands of frames, hundreds of notes, and a few minutes of time. Nik and Nina gave us perspective on not only how music is synched to moving images, but how an animator and composer can unite their visions (with sound).

Nik Phelps is well-known as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and a member of the Club Foot Orchestra. Since 1997 his Ideas in Animation series has featured his group The Sprocket Ensemble performing Nik's original compositions live to accompany new work by both experimental and established animators. He has also performed with, amongst others, Frank Zappa, Tony Bennett, and Tom Waits.

Nina Paley first gained notoriety for her weekly comic Nina's Adventures which debuted in 1988. Her work has appeared in newspapers around the world, and been published by Dark Horse Comics, Kitchen Sink Press, and many others. In the last 3 years she has focused on animations in a wide variety of formats, which have shown at film festivals from Ottawa to East Hampton to the Ukraine.

For this show the Tentacle Sessions made a slight detour venue-wise: finding a temporary home at Minna Street Gallery.

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