Work / Animation

Matt Bollinger uses hand-painted stop motion animation to create this hypnotic thriller

Matt Bollinger’s animation Apartment 6F takes inspiration from the artist’s own life and his interest in 60s horror films like Rosemary’s Baby. Using his own apartment to paint from, Matt uses hand-painted stop motion animation to tell his story.

“I wanted to combine the mundane everyday with something heightened that seemed to burst through from the character’s imagination,” explains Brooklyn-based Matt. In the animation, a freelance web designer in New York is invited to a housewarming by a neighbour, after his wife goes on a trip. Matt adds: “After drinking too much, social anxiety and possibly unnatural occult influences cause him to spiral into dark visions, which are suspended only when his wife returns.”

The project took three months for Matt to complete, and his process was long and detailed, which started with making 54 small paintings on canvas. “Each of these was the opening frame of a shot in the video. Then, with the painting on a copy stand, I modified each one a small amount and took a photograph,” says Matt. “I would repeat this process sometimes hundreds of times per canvas.”

The transition between scenes is beautiful, Matt’s mark makings are visible and full of texture, adding another layer to the narrative. As a painter originally, Matt felt comfortable using these hands-on materials, as he found them easier to manipulate. “I made my earlier animations using relatively dry drawing materials (ball point pen, felt-tipped marker, and correction fluid). This new process allowed me to animate the liquid qualities of the paint in ways that took on a personified dimension,” he explains.

Matt has also created the score, which plays alongside the hypnotic visuals and it took him several weeks to record the sounds and make the final mix. “Many of the diegetic sounds were created with instruments, which gives me the impression that I’m drawing the auditory scene just as I’m painting the visuals,” says Matt. “As things move around in my videos, they leave trails and obscure imagery that was there previously. In a way, movement is traumatic to the image. Each painting contains its history tattooed across the picture plane.”


Matt Bollinger: Apartment 6F (still)


Matt Bollinger: Apartment 6F (still)


Matt Bollinger: Apartment 6F (still)