Animations by Garrett Davis don’t make a whole lot of sense, but that’s the point. Garrett’s shorts are animations to watch if you’re having a terrible day, at a slump in the afternoon when you need three minutes of something silly and hilarious to get you through. Since finding his work in a deep Vimeo hole, we keep returning to his animations, even though we’ve got no idea what’s going on.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Garrett actually studied sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art, graduating in 2007. Post university, “I wandered around for about five years working various odd jobs, eventually getting my animation career started with some animated music videos for children’s music band, The Pop Ups,” he tells It’s Nice That.
A career in the discipline soon followed, with Garrett taking a leap and moving to California to seek work in the animation industry. His first job was at Fox ADHD, “where I created Lego George Washington and worked as an animator on The Lucas Bros., and as a character designer on Stone Quackers,” he explains. From there, the animator moved to Warner Brothers, working as a storyboard artist on Right Now Kapow.
Despite these high profile animation jobs, it’s the work Garrett does for fun that we really love, whether it’s music videos for bands like Wand, Ty Segall and Cup or his warped and witty personal shorts. One in particular, Genie, shows his flair for slightly ridiculous comedy and illustrative skill too. It tells the story of one man pondering what he would do if he was a genie, explaining he would give them to “the most beautiful girl in the world,” but his first wish is to let him have her wish, and he’d wish for her to stay with him, but she’d never get old, before the man morphs into a puddle, smashes a window and then flies out of it. This twisting narrative is illustrated by Garrett in a mix of styles from the wonderfully weird forms of his protagonist to beautiful, video game-like landscapes.
“The film Genie, like a lot of stuff I’ve done, was born from a little audio clip, which I captured during an improv session which involved me just rambling like a crazy person into a recorder,” Garrett explains. “Out of several hours of recording maybe there’s one or two gems like that which establish a character and provide the skeleton for a short.” This way of creating a unique narrative for his films is a technique the animator developed as a “practice with my buddy Kirsten Lepore while we were in art school,” he says. “She would turn on the recorder and give me a prompt, a word or idea or concept, and I’d just go off on it.” As massive fans of both Kirsten and Garrett’s work, we think it’s a technique that definitely appears to be working.
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