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Work / Animation

Self-taught animator Emanuele Kabu references psychedelia, abstract art and minimalism

“When I was 15, I got my first computer and a friend gave me some floppy disks with some demos made by the Future Crew,” says animator and director Emanuele Kabu, “that was the first time I realised I wanted to do the same thing: combine music with moving images.” Having no idea how to acquire the skills he needed and choosing not to study, Emanuele spent the following years immersed in the worlds of graffiti and music which provided the foundation for the eclectic and colourful portfolio he now boasts.

Working largely on his own, Emanuele’s work is vibrant and effervescent, comprising of mesmerising patterns flowing and transitioning into each other. Textural elements make the animations appear as if happening on paper in front of your eyes and upbeat soundtracks further the work’s energetic demeanour. Although not consciously prescribing to a specific style, Emanuele states his work makes clear references to psychedelia, abstract art and minimalism, as well as suprematism.

Emanuele’s fascination with pattern, shape and colour has always existed in his work and despite stating these cultural references, it largely manifested naturally. “Looking at some old photos of my graffiti on trains, I can see those elements were already there, but I had no idea what abstract art or minimalism was, I was just having fun,” he tells It’s Nice That.

In a recent project for pop-jazz group Winterplay’s single Jazz Foo Foo, Emanuele created a fully animated world of intricate lines, form and colour (although he insists he doesn’t see his work as intricate). Surprisingly – much like the graffiti work of his younger self – these dynamic manoeuvres are not the result of meticulous planning. Instead, he explains how “there isn’t a defined process, I just keep adding elements until the scene works, at least from my point of view". For Jazz Foo Foo, he instead questioned the musicians about the meaning of the song, prying into “Who is the Jazz King?”, “Where does he live?” and “What do the other inhabitants of this exciting world look like?”

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