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Work / Animation

Jamie Wolfe’s latest animation uses an intuitive process to leave room for surprises

As opposed to her regular process of drawing sheet upon sheet on “my usual inky paper”, animator Jamie Wolfe has adopted a new approach for her latest work, a music video, Sedative, for the musician Hollis. Working digitally and creating her new animation frame-by-frame in Cintiq, the short is an example of how, no matter what method she adopts, Jamie’s ability to build narrative – with pretty much perfect transitions – is second to none.

Knowing Hollis for almost eight years, Jamie “got really lucky with this one,” considering the musician knows “how my brain works and was very open to seeing my interpretation of the song,” she tells It’s Nice That. In turn, rather than a strict briefing between artist and collaborator, Hollis and Jamie decided their direction through several conversations, discussing tone and agreeing “that it should play with a sunny exterior with an underlying eerie darkness,” she explains.

As a result, Jamie’s hand-drawn compositions were built digitally to encourage experimentation, wanting to play with “building abstract compositions out of layered elements,” she explains. “I needed to simplify my forms. Otherwise, things would get out of control fast!”

Paring back her process also allowed the animator to use “a super intuitive process for this one,” says Jamie. “I started by straight ahead animating a bunch of attributes with only a loose plan. Then, once I had a bunch of those, I brought them together and built compositions through various pairings. It was a nice way to work because it left room for surprises. The more I’d animate, the more unexpected synchronicities I’d find within the song,” she continues. “As those revealed themselves, I’d get new ideas for what I should animate next. In a way, the video revealed itself to me as I worked.”

Working in this way also allowed Jamie to nod to her vast array of animated influences. For instance, a consistent influence has been “the body-shaped-hole trope in cartoons and pop culture,” such as “Wile E. Coyote leaving a perfect impact silhouette after running into a wall, to the body-shaped holes in Junji Ito’s The Enigma of Amigara Fault, or even something as silly as the Hole in the Wall gameshow.”

These influences, alongside a consistent flowering motif which builds landscapes and characters’ expressions throughout, piece together a music video which references the mood of Hollis’ music as much as it hints to the lyrics too.

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Jamie Wolfe: Sedative for Hollis

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Jamie Wolfe: Sedative for Hollis

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Jamie Wolfe: Sedative for Hollis

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Jamie Wolfe: Sedative for Hollis

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Jamie Wolfe: Sedative for Hollis

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Jamie Wolfe: Sedative for Hollis