VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Streatfeild, Simon

Simon Streatfeild
from Australia

  • artist biography
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    Interview: 10 questions

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

    Well, I grew up just outside the capital of Australia. Ever since I was small I was encouraged to draw and create. I lived in a small house with my family, and in the backyard we had a huge Oaktree. My love for Oaks and animation came from a time when my Japanese exchange teacher showed us Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbour Totoro when I was 9. The film was in Japanese with no subtitles. I loved the film, the mythology and archetypal feel of the animation, but until 2 years ago I could not remember the name of the film. Finally rediscovering this film dramatically influenced my work as an animator.
    My education was normal and ordinary. I disliked school, but loved to draw, and upon finishing school I was accepted into the Australian Cantre for Arts and Technology(now the Centre for New Media Arts) in the Australian National University. Where I am currently studying my Honours Year.

    2. When, how and why started you filming?

    Well, I never really work with cameras. I was never attracted to them for the use of telling stories. In animation you can do anything, but when I ever used a camera I felt inhibited by my surroundings.

    What started me animating was my love of cartoons and comic strips. I love to tell little stories, or insights into things. I found that I naturally wanted to make my drawings move as I progressed as an artist. I love the intrinsic creativity and giving of life and movement that animation offers, and the ability to create anything at all.

    3.What kind of subjects have your films?

    From even my earlier films I found, largely retrospectivly, that my work entailed an idea of the numinous in the ordinary, the small and the large the tiny and the infinite. I also love humour, which I think can play a major role in the expression of grand and ‘numinous’ subjects. In my animation I try to give as much ‘life’ as I can, and have fun doing it!

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

    Intuition. As much as my teachers dont want me to say it, I just follow my gut feelings. Sometimes if I’m having trouble coming up with things to create I fill my mind with images/film/writing that interest me and let it churn in my brain. And then a while after I seem to come up with things intuitivly. The main thing to remember is to have fun and be positive and constructive about it, even if you’re making an angry film! My adivice is to show your drawings and animation tests etc. to as many different people as you can in the early stages of your work.Take their criticism contrsuctivly on board (if you trust them) and the creative process hopefully will bloom!

    I love hand drawn style of animation and the thrill of drawing itself. I sometimes venture into 3D animation but I makes me tired and I cannot easily get accross what I want to say.

    5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
    Mostly I use a Pencil and Paper, but for the final animation process I use a Wacom graphics tablet, and mostly Mirage or Flash for software. I want a Cintiq.

    6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?
    Well, I think new media is just that, new. And soon it will become normal. Everything always changes, the way we use it to express is the most important thing.

    7. How do you finance your films?
    Being a student, I’ve made most of my films at University, so the resources were there for me to use. In the future I will probably self-finance my films or look for grants, as they’re not that expensive to make. Time is the deciding factor.

    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 individually. I’ve had experience in creating a few interactive works in a team, but I was mostly in charge of the animation aspect. It was fun, and i think there is an element of learning, when in a team, that isnt there when working idividually.

    9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
    Once again, the work of Hayao Miyazaki is probably my greatest influence. Also people like, Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes), Frederic Back, Michael Dudok De Wit, Alexander Petrov, Disney, Yoram Gross etc…

    10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
    Just that! To dream and create as a film maker! And Animate!!!

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