29 October 2013

A STROLL WITH ADAM WINSOR (For International Animation Day)

"Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world" ~Walt Disney

Animated Adam
As I sat back on the sofa to watch Grace, my kid sister giggle at the same Tom and Jerry episode I laughed at when I was 7, I began to understand how much animation connects history and generations together.

For most of us, animation is only something we get to flirt with as kids and once we grow into adulthood, the ‘seriousness of life’ makes us blind to the beauty of animation. But it’s not all of us though... there are still few who never get blind to this beauty.

Adam Winsor is one of the ‘few’. He is an animator, illustrator, and visual storyteller. We had a stroll for international animation day and we talked everything animation; from cartoons to games to movies. Here’s my stroll with Adam, I hope the ‘blind’ will receive their ‘sight’ fall in love with animation all over again (heheh).

Ebenezar: It’s great having you on the stroll, Mr Adam.

Adam: It’s my pleasure to join

Ebenezar: How did you discover this flare for animation? Did it start from your child hood?

Adam: Yes, it did. I loved watching cartoons when I was a child, and was curious how they worked. I also enjoyed drawing, which is an important part of the animation process. I made my first animation when I was 9 years old, by drawing the frames with a pencil on notebook paper, and filming them with a video camera that belonged to my friend's parents. I've enjoyed drawing and making animations ever since!

Ebenezar: How can animation be an instrument for change in the world? Because we've record instances in the past where a wrong animated figure of a religious figure caused violence and unrest... Can we do otherwise and use it for peace?

Adam: I think animation can be a tool to promote understanding between different cultures. Until recently, animation has only been available to the more wealthy developed nations, but with the development of cheaper computers and powerful animation software, artists from any country can produce beautiful animations and share them with the whole world over the internet.

Ebenezar: Do you think the Animators of this generation are at a better position to be creative as compared to the animators in the Walt Disney and co?

Adam: Absolutely. In the same way that I mentioned above, the tools needed to create beautiful, professional-looking animations are now available to anyone with access to a computer, and they are getting cheaper and more powerful each year. What once required a large company with dozens of employees and expensive equipment, can now be accomplished by one teenager in an internet cafe.

Ebenezar: (hahah) Technology has really changed the world. Do you have any role models or mentors? Animators you look up to for inspiration, dead or alive.

Adam: My greatest animation idol of all time is the late Chuck Jones, who created many of the best Warner Brothers cartoons of the mid-20th century. Other role models include Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli, Pendleton Ward of Adventure Time, and The Brothers Chaps of Homestar Runner.

Ebenezar: I know this is a weird question to ask an animator, but do you like cartoons? And what are your favourites?

Adam: Haha, yes I do! The answer to this question closely mirrors the one above! I love the old Warner Brothers classics like Merrie Melodies and Loony Toons, as well as modern shows like Adventure Time, Avatar: the Last Airbender, and the Venture Brothers. I also love many Japanese films, like Princess Mononoke, Akira, and Evangelion.

Ebenezar: When you talk about cartoons, you can also talk about Games. Did you see the Grand Theft Auto 'V'? What do you think about its animation, and do you think technology is taking away the natural 'realness' from animation?

Adam: I love games as well, and have even worked on some! I have not played Grand Theft Auto, but some of the most exciting developments in animation are happening in games, not television or film. I think technology is actually helping animation to be better overall, and improving animators' ability to try out many styles, from incredible photo-realism to whimsical abstraction.

Ebenezar: Finally, there's this thing I've heard people say about Animators; that they are inhibited in their thinking, and because they do stuff that has to do with kids, they're not really matured. What do you think? Is this true? Because I don't believe it.

Adam: I don't believe it either! I think that has been a common mindset here in America, which has spread through American media to other parts of the world, but the Japanese animation industry especially has always had many high-quality films that dealt with stories and themes meant for more mature audiences. I think that is beginning to help people all over the world begin to accept animation as a legitimate storytelling tool for all ages.

Ebenezar: Thank you so much for having this stroll with me Mr. Adam, good luck in all your projects. 

Adam: Thank you too, all the best.

For more about Adam(@drawbeard), and to check out his latest animation project, visit adamwinsor.com

Cha-ching is a good example of how animation can be used to make the world a better place. It is a financial literacy program programmed to help parents in Asia build money smart values for children. And in a recent research done on kids who view this program, it was discovered that these kids—under 7—have already started learning how to earn, save,spend, and donate. Isn’t that just awesome? That’s just how powerful animation is! If it can be used to teach good, it can be used to teach bad as well. Animators should eliminate storylines that promote violence and wrong human behaviours because, adults eventually turn out to be what they watched as kids—and animated movies is mostly what kids watch. You see how important animation is?

I’d like to call out to African Animators to start telling African stories to the world too. Technology has really helped animation these days and much can be done with the right tools. The world needs to hear our stories! Let’s tell it.

Till my next stroll; Jesus Loves you.

Ebenezar Wikina(@EbenezarWikina)
All Rights Reserved

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