Dive into Cecilia Reeve’s soothing, swimming pool-themed imagination in her music video for Nijuu

The London-based animator and illustrator conveys a sense of drifting freedom in this animated short for Korean musician, Nijuu.

Date
26 August 2020
Reading Time
3 minutes

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It’s been rather damp in the last couple of weeks over here in the UK, but on the flip side, this kind of weather is a perfect accompaniment to the relaxing watery sounds of South Korean musician, Nijuu. Her latest track Blue explores ideas of freedom and solitude; themes that are beautifully visualised by the artist Cecilia Reeve in the near-three minute animated video. Fully hand drawn, the recently released video responds to Nijuu’s serene, lo-fi style.

As a result, Cecilia conjures up images of an underwater dream. The short starts with an ordinary swimming pool: matte tiles, swim caps, warped reflections and all. But as the short unravels, the pool transforms into a more surreal adventure. The pool becomes populated by exotic corals and sea creatures and the swimming protagonist is transported into a new, imaginary, underwater world.

The idea for the music video came about at the animator’s local pool. “I discovered a love for these places at art school,” she reveals, “They offer solitude and the chance to reflect on things as you swim.” It’s certainly an atmosphere imbued in Blue. The viewer is soothed into a trance-like state of mind and the effortless transitions in between each scene encourages us to drift off into an untroubled imaginary world, much like the swimmer. It’s this sense of freedom in which Blue was created on, something that many of us have longed for during an anxiety-ridden pandemic.

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Cecilia Reeve: Blue (Copyright © Cecilia Reeve, 2020)

Blue is Cecilia’s first music video and by no means an easy undertaking as each frame was hand drawn on paper then digitally coloured in. Highly labour intensive, when Cecilia first took on the project, she recalls feeling daunted. But with time, she tells us, “the length of the video allowed me to explore making something with a stronger narrative. I usually sort of let a project evolve naturally without too much pre-planning but I found with this project, planning and storyboarding was essential.”

Having grown up in London, Cecilia studied illustration at the University of Brighton but it was during her last couple of years in school when she first dabbled in animation. At first, she traced videos of herself on webcam, a basic yet effective technique which her tutors then pushed in a more experimental direction. With time, Cecilia’s work become looser, with a freer sense of line and character intact. And with this, came the approach that we can see today in Blue, a merge of realistic and more surreal imagery.

“I would describe my style as quite slow moving and poetic,” she adds on her signature visual language. “I try to create a deeper sense of emotion and feeling in my art.” Cecilia tends to work firstly in mechanical pencil on paper before scanning the images in, and colouring them digitally. It offers the work a measured balance between the analogue and digital with just a slight edge on the imperfect; a signature stamp of Cecilia’s visual language. To accentuate this, every now and again, she also likes to keep the smudges of the scanner on the page too.

When it came to working on Blue, Cecilia felt “incredibly honoured to bring visuals to [Nijuu’s] music.” Immersing herself in the chilled beats of the music, the illustrator and animator says: “It was so lovely and rewarding to work with such a supporting and wonderful artist.” And the proof of this complimentary collaboration is certainly in the pudding. Blue is a hypnotic, lulling ode to the artistry of both Nijuu’s music and Cecilia’s smooth visuals.

GalleryCecilia Reeve: Blue (Copyright © Cecilia Reeve, 2020)

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.

jo@itsnicethat.com

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