Thursday, February 19, 2009
Mass Interview with Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated Artists
Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated (NOTLD:R) is a mass collaborative project in which artists from around the world are invited to select scenes from Romero’s 1968 cult classic and re-envision them through their artwork. These works are then collected, organized and curated by Mike Schneider into entirely new animated video track.
This approach allows each contributing artist to pull the film in their own direction and in turn questions how films are made. We at Fatally-Yours.com feel it apt to follow in their footsteps and question how films are covered. In the spirit of the project itself, we posed our questions to all of the project’s artists and this is the assembled results of our mass interview.
[Note: 33 of the over 500 NOTLD:R artists participated in this mass interview. Their responses have been edited together into the article which you see here. No one response speaks for all of the artists however all of the artists together speak for the project.]
The artists involved in NOTLD:R are approaching the project from a range of backgrounds. Some are from comic book illustration such as Cavaletto, Chrisoulis, Kunkel, Lall, and Nursalimsyah. Others are designers and illustrators such as the traditional Guadiana, Rivera, and Rodrigues and the digital Alexander, Cooper, Houston, Kessman, and Voxie. There are those hailing from the fine arts traditions of drawing/ painting like Bond, Kirchberg, Madhiya, Rodriguez, and Voodoo, pen and ink like Goodman and Francz and mixed/varied media like Bartrand, Cooper, Duvivier, and Loisel. What would the reanimation be without the animators? With stop-motion work by Iwasyszyn and Lefebvre, Flash by Fitzgerald, 3D by MacAskill, 2D by Adlon and Hoerner and the traditional animation by Schneider, it’s clear that the film is opened to artists of all media.
What work are you most known for?
Andrea Cavaletto: The graphic novel “Holy Murder Masquerade” made with the metal band Impious.
Calum MacAskill: Lurking about in the Edinburgh Dungeons dressed as a cannibal freaking out the public for pitiful sums. Also my short animated film “Collection”.
Carla Rodrigues: My illustrations depicting pop-culture character with a twist of my own, and also for my love of drawing zombies (I even zombify pop-culture animated icons).
Con Chrisoulis: Comic book creator and singer-songwriter of post-punk/glam band Autodivine.
Don Kunkel: Zombie of the Month, a comic book to be released again soon from dimestoreproductions.com and Vigilante Granny released by Braindead Comics.
Geff Bartrand: Probably my black and white horror movie tributes and my “Black Ink Horror” magazine illustrations.
Jag Lall: Most probably my culture/peace related work, my comic Death’s Door: Ignorance Likes Company broke some grounds as a comic book being used as a teaching tool. But my career is still very much in the ‘green’ faze.
Larry Adlon: I am partially known for wacky animations and ‘cartoon violence’ visual effects.
Matthieu Lefebvre: I’m most known for my music (electro-industrial) and my videos (YouTube as matmixx).
Mike Schneider: Organizing and working with groups of artists as well as adapting animation techniques so that anyone from children with special needs to professional artists can animate.
Rhoda Voxie: For creating and editing an anime/manga fanzine called MAMEzine.
Scott Kessman: At the moment, I’m most known not for my art, but for my fantasy/folklore novel, The Tales of Tanglewood
Sean Fitzgerald: I mainly do metal and punk album covers and layouts for t-shirts, DVDs etc. for bands like Extreme Noise Terror, Coldwar and many others.
Yusuf N. Madhiya: As a cover artist for (now defunct) online comic magazine Fanzing.com
What approach are you taking with the scenes you are working on?
Andrea Cavaletto: I used my traditional style of painting, using solvents on photos and a mix of traditional and digital paint.
Calum MacAskill: Vector tracing of light and dark in After Effects and interpreting the movement in the film in an abstract way.
David Goodman: I’m jumping all over the map. From realistic to graphic-novel-esque. With a wide-open format like this, I’m just letting the creative juices drip all over the page.
Geff Bartrand: I did a couple different approaches. I painted over print outs of still shots from the movie. I also hand drew backgrounds and elements and assembled them in Photoshop.
Jag Lall: I want to illustrate the scenes so that fans of the film would be able to picture the events on screen without losing my individuality and without the audience wondering what is going on.
Jorell Rivera: I wanted to create a comic book version of the movie. I worked straight from the movie itself to maintain a similar look, only stylized.
Larry Adlon: I used digital paintings that I created from scratch in Photoshop, and assembled and animated in AfterEffects.
Sean Fitzgerald: Doing a fifties retro styled animation in Macromedia Flash.
Who/what most influences your work?
Andrea Cavaletto: Dave McKean, Clive Barker and Tim Vigil
April Guadiana: Tim Bradstreet…his attention to shadow and life like drawing has changed my style.
Ben Alexander: Daria, one of my favorite shows.
Calum MacAskill: The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari and Kids Story by Shinichirō Watanabe
Carla Rodrigues: I’m a huge fan of movies, comics, books, music, and I’m a little pop-culture sponge. Craig Thompson, Jim Mahfood, Mike Mignola…They are kings of their craft.
Con Chrisoulis: Jack Kirby. Jack Kirby. Jack Kirby
Eric Kirchberg: Frank Frazetta, Bill Sienkiewitz, Bernie Wrightson, Edgar Degas, Gustav Klimt, Alice Cooper, Terry Gilliam, Oscar the Grouch…
Françoise Duvivier: Life. Experiences are the main influence in my work.
Gregory Rodriguez: I fell in love with the lowbrow art scene here in Southern California, anything goes with the subject matter. Imagine that, art with no boundaries!
Jag Lall: Henry Moore’s drawings of the trenches were just sensational. Comic book wise, Frank Miller and Todd McFarlane. The Spawn books were an inspiration to me.
Jorell Rivera: I’m a comic book junkie, so most of my influences work in that field.
Kathleen Iwasyszyn: Ray Harryhausen, Tim Burton, Vincent Price, and the older Christmas animated movies.
Mathieu Lefebvre: My influences on my video work are lots of B-series (Z-series too!).
Mike Schneider: I am influenced by the Dada and Fluxus movements. These artists questioned not only their work but the nature of art and media itself.
Verena Loisel: Other cartoonists like Jhonen Vasquez and Jamie Hewlett and music, especially metal.
Yusuf N. Madhiya: Comic artist George Perez and Jerry Ordway
How do you feel about working with so many other artists on a project?
April Guadiana: It’s nice to be apart of such a talented group. I feel privileged.
Ben Alexander: When Mike first sent me an email about the project, I remember it being a fairly small amount of artists at the time. Looking at it now, the number of artists really has skyrocketed, and I’m really impressed at how the project has taken off. I’m happy to be a part of it, no matter how big or small.
Calum MacAskill: It feels great to be part of something so big and reminds us of just what’s possible with today’s age of the internet. A world in your living room. Long live the fiberglass cable.
Carla Rodrigues: I feel so positively about it! The more artists there are, then the richer the project will be. I think the diversity of art styles we have in this project will be one of its keys for success.
Françoise Duvivier: Happy but frustrated. We are separated by our mother tongue etc. Still, having seen this same movie, we’re joined by a similar enthusiasm, enjoyment thru a creative way.
Geff Bartrand: I think it’s great to work with so many artists from around the world. The mixing of styles and mediums should be an awesome visual experience.
Gregory Rodriguez: To me, I see it as a group art exhibit.
Jag Lall: Brilliant. Every artist has their own energies and passion showing through, there is a lot of soul and sweat here which really shows.
Nursalimsyah: I’ve learned a lot by seeing other artists’ work because we saw the same movie and it’s amazing how everyone came up with such different pieces.
Sean Fitzgerald: First I thought the idea was a bit out there. But said I’d get involved purely for something different. But the more I saw and heard the more it became clear of what a great concept it is.
Yusuf Madhiya: Humbled.
How do you feel about the project’s focal point, George Romero’s film Night of the Living Dead?
April Guadiana: It lacks the intense gore of today yet still manages to send chills down my body, and I adore horror films that can do that.
Calum MacAskill: The best of the “Of The Dead” series. The feeling of claustrophobia, increased tension and character development can still strike fear in the heart of today’s cg engorged public.
Carla Rodrigues: I think of it as a fantastic movie, and the one that set the tone for the zombie movies to come.
David Goodman: It’s brilliant and I hate it at the same time. I feel a little more like a flesh-eating zombie every time I watch it.
Jacquelyn Bond: I have always loved this movie, it is a piece of art in of itself being able to be part of it is an honor to me.
Mike Schneider: It’s a landmark film which changed the direction of modern horror. Though I love this film, though sometimes I’m not sure we went the right way. So with this project we’re go back to consider another route.
Jag Lall: I feel it has been a good choice because when you watch the film, it gives you lots of leverage to add layers with your own artwork.
Larry Adlon: It’s quite a good choice for this project, since it has a limited cast and location… making the many submissions have a common base.
Voodoo Velvet: Anything that is supposed to be dead but stubbornly won’t die is always a good subject for any art.
Tell us about the first time you watched Night of the Living Dead and your reactions to it.
Andrea Cavaletto: I was 6 years old and I was very scared by it. I remember it was a sunny midsummer afternoon and I watched it with my grandmother. Wow!
Ben Alexander: I remember it for being the first movie I saw with a “downer” ending. It was the first movie I saw that taught me that “hey, sometimes heroes die, too”.
Calum MacAskill: An ominously labeled VHS cassette on the shelf I was forbidden to watch. Sneaking a peak of it when my parents were out, I was instantly drawn in.
Carla Rodrigues: I was already 18 or 19 the first time I saw it. I’m thankful I saw it when I already had some maturity, otherwise the young me would have dismissed it for being old and in black and white.
David Goodman: It was like… wow. I checked all my windows and doors. It was the first zombie movie I ever saw.. and the best.
Kathleen Iwasyszyn: I was about 12 – 13. I loved it, of course it scared the crap out of me, but from then on I started watching more horror movies.
Larry Adlon: Oddly enough, as much of a zombie film fan as I am, I never really saw NOTLD fully until this project. I had always thought that it was done earlier than the 60′s because the b&w film stock, so I previously always filed it in my mind as ‘an old B&W film’.
Mike Schneider: I likely first saw NOTLD while still in the crib. Horror always used to sooth me.
Rhoda Voxie: I was taken back by the film’s ending – At the end of the day, everyone (including the protagonist) were just playing their wary roles.
Voodoo Velvet: It was the first time in my life I realized it would be a good idea to have an escape plan.
Most films are largely by people gathered in one or a few key locations. This project has people spread out all over the world. How do you feel this helps/ hurts the project?
Ben Alexander: It almost gives it an “It’s a Small World” feel. Just with zombies.
Carla Rodrigues: I feel it takes a little more work to coordinate everything, but Mike is handling everything wonderfully.
Françoise Duvivier: It makes the film stronger. This film awakens our collective unconscious…fear, death, war, impotence, loneliness, tragedy etc…It breaks the frontiers that the original film established.
David Goodman: It may add to the organizational issues, but Mike is amazing. I think he’ll pull it together. And if it wasn’t so spread out…I wouldn’t be part of it. How many artsy movies get made in Nashville?
Jorell Rivera: We’re living in a globalized world. Hundreds of people from around the world can work together without ever meeting each other in person.
Denzell Cooper: I think it helps that the whole project is being centrally coordinated by Mike. Without that lynchpin, it might well fall apart due to the huge distances between people both in terms of geography and style. As things stand, I think it’s excellent that there are so many people working on the film from so many different parts of the world, it adds a diversity of approach that most animated films couldn’t possibly hope for.
Mike Schneider: As long as everyone keeps focus, the space allows everyone room to let their ideas develop independently… which makes for far fewer compromises in the work.
Ryan Hoerner: This is awesome. It gives a chance to see talents from all over the world. A total collaboration of inspired artists who are passionate about what they do.
Sean Fitzgerald: Well I’d be very lost without the internet to be honest. Where I live, we don’t even have a train service. I think there has been very good communication through Mike in regards to everything that’s happening.
Trevor Cooper: I think it’s a great idea. It brings together culture, creativity and styles from the minds of NOTLD fans around the world. It’s the ultimate tribute.
What is your favorite work that you’ve seen come out of the project so far?
Largely when the artists responded to this question they would simply reply with either joke or by saying that they’ve seen too many great and interesting works to decide. After some thought, a few of the artists let their preferences show.
April Guadiana: My favorite so far is a Barbra, seen done by the moderator himself [Mike Schneider (Hand Drawn Animation)]. It’s simple yet so well done, it motivated me to do an actual animation.
Ben Alexander: My personal favorite is titled “Revolution Part I”. [Grant Fuhst (mixed media)] That’s really the first piece I’ve seen that haunts me. I think it’s the eyes.
Calum MacAskill: Some of the work with puppets freaks me out [Evil Twins (Puppets)].
Denzell Cooper: I love the cartoon strip approach that someone has used for the graveyard scene at the beginning when the first zombie attacks Barbara. [Jorell Rivera (Comics)].
Eric Kirchberg: Not to stoke Mike’s ego, but I really like what he did with Barbra’s breakdown… [Mike Schneider (Hand Drawn Animation)]
Geff Bartrand: One of the most memorable for me though was the scenes with the dolls [Kathleen Iwasyszyn (Hand Made Dolls)] and the live action bit where the lips didn’t sink up with the words [Ryan Sigg (Stop Motion)]. Those made me laugh.
Jorell Rivera: The scene with the dolls is pretty amazing, and kind of ironic. Kids’ toys being used in a bloody zombie movie? Awesome. [Matthieu Lefebvre (Barbies)]
Matthieu Lefebvre: I like the videogame 3D animation [Dale Robertson (The Source)], because it adds a strange feeling on the scene.
Rhoda Voxie: From what I’ve seen, I like the puppet smashing the window of the car [Evil Twins (Puppets)] – so random and funny!
Ryan Hoerner: I like the seen with the Barbie dolls [Matthieu Lefebvre (Barbies)]! It’s hilarious and genius!
Verena Loisel: I liked the pictures on the NOTLD:R-homepage where Barb and Johnny are on the graveyard [Alisa Didkovsky (Illustration)] and that one where Barb screams [Mike Schneider (Hand Drawn Animation)] very much.
Mike Schneider: I like the juxtaposition. You put a lion in a cage or a kid in a playground and it’s good but predictable. You start to mix them together and then you’ve got a story.
Do you think the project is important? Why?
Andrea Cavaletto: Sure, I think that it’s an important project, It’s a new, fresh and different way to produce art.
Calum MacAskill: It’s a chance for fans to show the world how their eyes see the film.
Carla Rodrigues: It’ll hopefully bring this movie to the attention of new, younger horror fans and it’ll make older fans remember. It’ll be a new breath of life into the un-dead.
Devin Houston: An opportunity to “reanimate” a classic will not be passed up. The scope of the project has expanded significantly, and our efforts will not be overlooked.
Eric Kirchberg: Hopefully a project like this can turn the corner as it’s so much more than a remake, – it’s reanimation!
Gregory Rodriguez: It is important because it will be a great networking tool for us artists. It will expose our work to many more eyes to invoke conversation and interest.
Larry Adlon: I think it’s brilliant to gather artists around the world together to work on a common “base.” For me, it was a well-needed boost to inspire me to pick up my tools and create something that perhaps I would have put off otherwise. Mike, the founder, certainly has his heart in the right place for this. He is undoubtedly passionate about creating, in whatever form. He is a true artist, in a world sadly filled with people who do “art” just for quick money.
Matthieu Lefebvre: I think the project is important, because it shows that one passion can connect people from all over the world and create something incredible.
Mike Schneider: Anytime a project stirs people into action, it’s important.
Chris Francz: I think the most important thing about the project was that artists contributed to something bigger than themselves.
Scott Kessman: Definitely. It not only pays tribute to a great film in a way that nothing else has so far, but it allows so many talented artists to showcase their work to the world.
Kathleen Iwasyszyn: Yes. Not only is it Mike’s vision, but he’s given artists from around the world the opportunity to show their work. Some artists may not even of had a chance until now. It strikes a fire in people seeing something they love and given a chance to be a part of something big, I know it did me. It’s so hard nowadays to even get someone to take you seriously, or even see your work.
Do you think people will still be talking about the film years from now?
Carla Rodrigues: Absolutely. It’s such a refreshing idea, and it’ll look wonderful, so I can’t see how people wouldn’t be talking about it.
David Goodman: I have confidence in its cult-like staying power, yes. If it doesn’t stick, I know that as the artists die they’ll return as the undead and force their victims to watch it.
Jag Lall: I like to think so. I think this film will be seen as a crack in the wall for other people to come in and smash the wall down, opening up a whole world of possibilities of animation/film. I hope other artists take advantage of such ideas because it’s exciting and full of opportunity.
Mike Schneider: We’re trying something new in style, media, approach, licensing and coverage. Even at its worst, there’s no doubt that we’re presenting a few new options for those who are willing to give them a try.
Nursalimsyah: Good classic movies will never really die. The art just helps to dig it up.
What words of wisdom would you give to any artists who are considering participation in this project?
When asked about giving words of advice, the responses showed a unanimous endorsement of the project. Simply put, they all seem to believe that if you are interested enough to consider it… then you should join in and be part of it.
Andrea Cavaletto: Be yourself and make a fucking good kickass work!
Carla Rodrigues: The more, the merrier.
Con Chrisoulis: Once in a lifetime opportunities should not be missed, so get off your asses …NOW!
Eric Kirchberg: Just do it. All the cool kids are doing it…
Mike Schneider: If you are interested, you owe it to yourself to take action. Every piece submitted only serves to make the project better for both the artists and the viewers.
Participating in this interview:
Con Chrisoulis (Greece) http://www.mataiodoxia.deviantart.com
Rhoda Voxie (England) http://www.voxie.co.uk
Jag Lall (England) http://www.geocities.com/lall_jag/menu.html
Denzell Cooper (England) http://dc-nightshade.deviantart.com
Nursalimsyah (Indonesia) http://rabbid-fang.deviantart.com
Françoise Duvivier (France) http://www.damagedcorpse.com
Matthieu Lefebvre (France) http://www.dogmazic.net/matmix
Andrea Cavaletto (Italy) http://andreacavaletto.com
Sean Fitzgerald (Ireland) http://www.myspace.com/protestzine
Trevor Cooper (Canada) http://coopersville.deviantart.com/
Larry Adlon (Canada) http://www.laerworks.com
Carla Rodrigues (Portugal) http://cool-slayer.deviantart.com
Ronel Pabico (Philippines)
Yusuf Madhiya (India) http://yrumad.googlepages.com
Colum MacAskill (Scotland) http://www.cjmacaskill.blogspot.com
Verena Loisel (Austria) http://rougetb.deviantart.com/
Kathleen Iwasyszyn (Missouri, USA) http://www.thepoisonedapple.net
Eric Schock (Arizona, USA) http://www.freewebs.com/evilroboproductions
Gregory P. Rodriguez (California, USA) http://www.gregoryprodriguez.com
Ben Alexander (California, USA) http://chaotist-razor.livejournal.com
Chris Francz (Pennsylvania, USA) http://www.chrisfrancz.com
Mike Schneider (Pennsylvania, USA) http://www.neoflux-animator.com
Don Kunkel (Pennsylvania, USA) http://www.zombieofthemonth.wordpress.com
Voodoo Velvet (Pennsylvania, USA) http://www.voodoovelvet.com
Jacquelyn Bond (Oregon, USA) http://www.jacquelynbond.com
Scott Kessman (New York, USA) http://www.artrocities.com
Ryan Hoerner (New York, USA)
Jorell Rivera (New York, USA) http://jorellrivera.blogspot.com
Geff Bartrand (Florida, USA) http://dr-twistid.deviantart.com/
Devin Houston (Georgia, USA)
April Guadiana (Texas, USA) http://manson26.deviantart.com
Eric Kirchberg (Massachusetts, USA) http://www.erickirchberg.com
David Goodman (Tennessee, USA) http://www.davidthegood.com