With time away from the studio it’s a good time to reflect on the work I’ve produced there over the past year. I’d like to focus on that produced from May to the end of the year when my attention moved onto a new piece – Cowboys Invaded which is currently gearing up to be animated next year at the earliest. I’ve spent the last seven months producing all the pieces that make up that world. Inspired by Cowboys and Aliens (2011) and the comic book I want to look at the possibility of the aliens winning. The notion of Manifest Destiny that was used during the 1800’s during the Western expansion of what is now known as The United States of America. The comic book and film suggest a potential future that was eventually averted, driving away the invasion. Now in my piece they stay and occupy this landscape and logically the planet.
Having written a few drafts to an alternative narrative complete with a list of required model miniatures to populate and realise that narrative. So far I’ve produced around half of what’s needed. Like all pieces I’ve made, some are quicker to produce than other. So looking back at what I have made I’d like to start with the adaptations and expansions to previously made pieces. Knowing that I would be staying at the same scale of my previous animation – Playing with Plastic (2016) I looked at what I could reuse for this one, saving myself some work. The train-set was the main piece to be taken forward.
The original pieces were made with fixed wheels for the track, making it impossible to animate on curved track. That all changed after catching part of a train restoration program about train coaches for Queen Victoria’s train. I learned that for wheels to move with and along that track they are on a separate plate attached to the main body. I was inspired to see how I could adapt this to my pieces, using a section of cardboard tube I was able to adapt my pieces before expanding the set to include two wagons a new coach and for another aspect of the animation 4 refrigerated wagons that are meant for another aspect.
As with the making of the new wagons I wanted to keep the pieces playful, with an alien presence theres immediately a different language to consider. Being otherworldly I wanted different shapes, using paper cups and plates was an easy way of helping create that for an era when such shapes would have been harder to construct. Also I wanted to have some fun making with shapes that could be used reused to create a language unique to the aliens.
These pieces were only the start of a much wider body of work and a long list of pieces to be made in the coming months.