VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Fuller, Todd

Todd Fuller
Australian video creator


Interview: 10 question

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

I grew up in Rural Australia but moved to Sydney at eighteen when I was accepted into the National Art School. This is where I pushed myself as a drawer and eventually as a film maker.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

I worked as a cartoonist when I moved to Sydney and as a part of this I entertained crowds of children with drawing. One of my biggest was an audience of around 600 kids. When you silence a crowd of this magnitude with nothing more than lines on a page you realise you are onto something. Film became an extension of this as I began to document the process of drawing in order to captivate an audience. I found that by documenting a drawing mark by mark you could create something extremely captivating and engaging, there is a magic capable of transfixing a crowd evident in the process of drawing that I love to capture. Before long narratives developed as did my interest in pursuing animation and film techniques.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?

Usually stories of humanity and masculiniuty, I deal with moments of downfall, cause and effect, isolation and change, but I guess silent star is always the act of drawing. I have a recurring character, he is nameless, fat, bald and more often than not naked, he is an alter ego so I guess you could say my own sub conscious explorations are an important subject of my films.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?

My films are hand drawn, I set up a canvas and a camera and painstakingly begin drawing scenes, sometimes I document every single mark and sometimes I manipulate the drawing to stimulate movement. I work stop gap and follow the philosophy of many great drawers and animators, William Kentridge, Moto Blu, Paul Klee and of cause Walt Disney. My style is somewhere between the technical and the intutive practices of both film and art.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

I use a Canon digital Slr on a remote shutter release cable. I edit via final cut express. Otherwise I believe in keeping my work accessible and affordable and relatively low tech and this philosophy has stimulated many great teaching and educational opportunities for me and my animation style. I hold my camera in place on a tripod but I also use a tonne of masking tape for good luck, everything, the paper, the camera, the tripod, it all gets taped down to help ensure stability. Its also a nice ritual to enforce and secure all your apparatus, especially for the way in which I work.

6. The field of “art and moving images” (one may call it videoart or also differently) is is manifesting itself as an important position in contemporary art. Tell me more about your personal position and how you see the future of this field ( your personal future and the future of “art and moving images”)

Video art has manifested into an integral part of the art world, the art world and general public are still in many ways catching up with this phenomenon.

Welded steel sculpture, minimalism, performance art, fibres and even bronze were once controversial or misunderstood in their early manifestations, in fact most mediums when ‘new and exciting’ received some sort of resistance. For some reason film in the art world still (after a significant ammount of time) faces some hostility (especially in Australia), but with time this will change just like every other medium. Its resistance phase seems to be taking much longer than it should in some places but there is copious amounts of evidence in favour of film as a wholeheartedly accepted art medium around the world. I think with time film will be as valued as other mediums. While it may never be able to compete with painting or drawing in terms of long jeopardy, given the moving images place in the contemporary society (for example television), it is the most relevant medium or voice for contemporary audiences and therefore has no choice but to be a major part of our future.

Film should not be viewed as the death of other mediums though, it is just an exciting way for us to merge mediums, hand drawn films is just one example of the possibilities of collaboration between film and traditional mediums.

7. How do you finance your films?

My work is not financially draining, it is no more than charcoal on paper. It is based on drawing which is of all the mediums the most affordable and democratic mediums- anyone can do it with the most basic of materials. I don’t need to pay actors or rent equipment, it is extremely accessible and affordable. I have animated in extravagant studios, nooks in places I have lived and even outdoors, any space is applicable, costs are rarely an issue.

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 mostly work in solitude but have also directed some films of this style with a small crew. The difference is more about the performative qualities of the type of creation induced. What I mean by that is the difference between the moments and revelations you have when working in isolation, in comparison to the adrenalin and ego involved when you have to work in front of an audience or crew. A performative hand drawn film (done in front of poeple or a crowd or crew, for example in a gallery), is usually far less sincere and compelling as the pieces which come to fruition when having personal revelations in solitude.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

I get influences from everywhere, people on buses, dreams, sketches, other film makers, drawers and painters. The longest lasting influence is the work of South African artist William Kentridge, I encountered his work as a young child and still find myself spellbound by his work. Every time I encounter it I feel like I learn something new about myself.

10. What are your plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

To continue to push and change and grow as an artist, and continue to captivate as many new audiences as I can, continue to help people to remember the magic of drawing and also the relevance of film in the art world.

Can works of yours viewed online besides on CologneOFF or VideoChannel? Where? List some links & resources