INTERVIEW: Seth Boyden
Tell us a little bit about yourself as an artist/designer. What is your practice like; how do you work?
I come from a small rural town in Indiana. Ever since I was little I loved to draw, and when I discovered animation in grade school, I immediately knew I wanted to try it myself. I actually started with claymation, buying cheap blocks of clay and animating them by taking incremental pictures with an old family camera to create the illusion of movement. For years I experimented with animation, making simple movies in the basement of my family’s house, slowly developing stories and characters to go along with the moving clay figures. By the time I started high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in animation, where I could draw and create stories for people to see.
Please describe your work on Hoof It from your point of view.
I created Hoof It as my student film at CalArts, where I created all of the visual aspects of the film, from painting the watercolor backgrounds to animating the characters. I also collaborated with sound designers, musicians and actors to create the voices, music and sound effects for the film. My job from the most basic standpoint is to visualize the story and characters in my head, and continue by creating storyboards depicting that story to show plan out the film. From there, I use the time and resources that I have available to make the closest representation of that initial vision to present as a finished film.
Have you had any memorable responses to this piece? And if yes, please describe.
My favorite response from Hoof It was an article written by a German film group, who presented it on their website (http://diefilmguckerin.de/kurzfilm-der-woche-hoof- it/). The reason I was so excited about this article being published was because I looked at lot to German folktales and folk art to shape the story and aesthetic of this film. To have a positive response from the country whose art this film was inspired from in the first place was the most exciting response to the film.
Please name three artists you are influenced by and why.
My favorite inspiration is Bill Peet, who was a children’s book author and illustrator who worked as a storyboard artist for Walt Disney in the 1940’s and 50’s. He also grew up in Indiana and his endearing and appealing storytelling is truly amazing. At CalArts, I was also introduced to Hayao Miyazaki’s films, and was immediately inspired by his sophisticated and subtle storytelling. His illustrations and storyboards are especially beautiful. Aside from animation, I also do a lot of watercolor illustrations, and one of my favorite illustrtors is Quentin Blake, who was the illustrator for the Roald Dahl Books. His loose line quality and appealing expressions are so full of life, and are an evident influence to my artwork.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently the Story Intern at Walt Disney Animation for this summer, but I plan to return to school to make my final student film before graduating next year.
What is your dream project?
I think my dream as a storyteller and artist, is to continue entertaining people by making fun and engaging animation. I love creating new worlds and characters, and I hope to someday have the chance to present them in a feature film or as a TV show someday in the future.
What is one of your favorite 4D artworks, or pieces of design, and why?
I am a huge fan of live-action film, and my favorite 4-D piece would be the Coen Brother’s O Brother Where Art Thou. The film is a cinematic retelling of Homer’ The Odyssey which takes place in the American South in the 1920’s. To me, this film combines extremely intelligent and entertaining filmmaking, with appealing exaggerated characters to make one of the most funny and endearing pieces in cinema.