Felipe Di Poi Tamargo started making animations when he was 11 years old. 11 years old! The age when most kids are just watching cartoons, Felipe was actually making them. He’s not 11 anymore though and with a number of years in the game, a degree from Rhode Island School of Design/Brown University’s dual programme, and a few Vimeo staff picks under his belt, it’s safe to say we expect great things from him.
Born in Buenos Aires, Felipe’s family moved to the US when he was nine. His early introduction to animation grew from online communities such as Newgrounds, “where people would post home-made Flash cartoons,” the animator tells It’s Nice That. While at university Felipe jumped between subjects, majoring in not only film, animation and video but comparative literature too. “There I cultivated two practices: visual arts and comedy,” he explains. At college Felipe’s interest in both the creative side to writing and film led him into Brown’s improv troupe Starla, also writing for its comedy publication The Brown Jug and even started a sketch comedy group, Simple Town, which still performs today.
Undoubtedly busy with all of these activities, Felipe was able to develop “an animation method that allowed me to write a lot of jokes while animating as minimally as possible,” he explains. Taking inspiration from animators such as Steve Dildarian, Brandon Small’s Home Movies and in particular Joseph Bennett, “whose pose-to-pose animation style pushes him to find subtle and naturalistic character performances”. As Felipe’s own style began to develop from these influences, also noting Simon Hanselmann’s design style “which has the feeling of being so precise that it becomes clumsy,” as an inspiration, the animator developed his graduate thesis film The Long and Lonesome Road to Grandma’s.
Noting Simon Hanselmann’s Meg Mogg and Owl series and the initial British edition of The Office, the “sharp joke-writing” of The Simpsons as comedic references of “character-centric” shorts, The Long and Lonesome Road to Grandma’s tells the tale of a classic coming-of-age American road trip, only this time it’s animated. A three-part story, the short focuses on Sue, “a little girl on a road trip with her mom and her friend Kath, who desperately wants the trip to turn her into a ‘cool and liberated teenager’,” explains Felipe.
By the end of The Long and Lonesome Road to Grandma’s you’re equally in love with each of Felipe’s characters, a credit to not only Felipe’s animation skill but the personality evoked in voice actors Kath Dunham, Blair Johnston and Ryan Cruise who contributed to writing the script.
Since The Long and Lonesome Road to Grandma’s was released Felipe has uploaded a flurry of other animated shorts to his Vimeo including Weird Movies his most recent short which sports another coveted Vimeo Staff Pick badge has already amassed over a casual 100k views already. You can dive into his other weirdly wonderful shorts for quick bursts of laughter here.
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