Melbourne animator’s piece shortlisted for Guggenheim Museum
Its not everyday your modest backyard experimentation is shortlisted to screen at the world famous Guggenheim Museum. Whittled down from a
massive 23,000 entries, the quirky Darcy Prendergast is among the lucky 125 in the running to book a spot in the new exhibition, run in conjunction
with YouTube. Already earning 380,000 hits online, his animated piece ‘Lucky’ produced in musical collaboration with Melbourne band ‘All India Radio’ has snagged awards worldwide, including several on home soil, winning best animated music video at St Kilda Film Festival and snagging 3 separate nominations in the ATOM awards.
"Coming from a clay animated background where you have to record the voices, build and layer the soundscape, mix and master etc, it’s really quite liberating and fun to focus purely on creating visuals…”
At only 25 years old, Prendergast has already developed a very particular taste for the organic, embracing fingerprints and irregularities instead of the slick computer generated imagery that so many pursue…
“There is something so beautiful about retaining that human touch. When we see fingerprints in clay animation or ghostly silhouettes in the long exposure animations, it reminds the audience that what they are watching is made by actual people, not a machine or some time saving program. By doing this, you inherently capture atmospheres and moods, you see these flittering figures layered with 3 jackets, 2 scarves and beanies, trying to survive the winter cold shoot, there is a life embedded in it that you can’t really recreate”
‘Lucky’ is created utilizing a long exposure technique where Prendergast and the team draw in the sky with glow sticks or coloured torches- Similar to writing your name in the sky with sparklers. One 25 second exposure gives you one image… The process is then repeats hundreds of times to form a sequence.
“Animation is the most time consuming thing you can possibly do, so I find it weird when ‘animators’ or people wanting to become animators, take these god awful shortcuts to save a few minutes. It’s like a Doctor just settling for a casual game of ‘Operation‘ instead of saving ol’ Mrs Twee from bleeding out. ”
Luckily, Darcy’s patience is extremely resilient…
“The title of the piece, unchanged from the concepts inception, is quite funny really given what happened. I was 90% finished, when my studio was burgled and I lost everything. I was hardly in a strong financial position, same as so many artists – and I was faced with the option to either give up, or start again with no budget. So I spent 3 days or so drunk. Ha! This is all of course, sounds decisively unlucky but ultimately when I dusted myself off, the desire to push the technique further (out of maintaining interest more than anything) grew. We began moving the camera incrementally as well as our figures, I attempted complex things like walk cycles and jump sequences. The clean slate lead to new experimentation which
lead to a far better outcome.”
That far better outcome is what will be judged in the weeks to come, by an all star jury including acclaimed filmmaker DarrenbAronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler), world famous designer Stefan Sagmeister (best known for his album cover work for Rolling Stones, Talking heads, Lou Reed etc) and a diverse range of other top industry innovators.
“Worst case scenario, Darren Aronofksy… One of my favourite directors in the world, will watch my work. Best case scenario, I’ll be flown to New York to meet him”
In the past, Prendergast has worked on productions such as Mary and Max, the Cadbury Commercials as well as several of his own internationally successful shorts. He is currently developing an animated kids series and directing music videos.
“If I worked a 9-5, I’d be racing home to do this. Somehow I’ve managed to survive. Everyone questions my sanity for working such long hours but I feel truly blessed to do my passion for a living. I’ll happily work 20 hour days if I’m doing what I love”