While there are countless downsides to the current lockdown, for many creatives this self-induced period of isolation has proven to be the perfect time to start a new side hustle or revisit a long-lost personal project.
In illustrator Tim Boelaars’ case, he has been using lockdown as an opportunity to work remotely on a new self-initiated animation project, Altered States. “I’ve been interested in animating my illustrations for a while; in the past my work was animated a few times but I never really had any role within the process,” says Boelaars.
“I asked my friend Joe [Le Huquet], who is an animator, if he would be interested in collaborating on a few pieces. I already made a few stills which I showed to Joe. He loved the idea and we started chatting on how to create a direction for the series.”
Characterised by a minimalist style of illustration and a distinctive monochrome colour palette, the series of short animations draw inspiration from the titles and quotes of some of the two friends’ favourite movies, TV shows, songs and books.
One of the animations, which depicts an open road backdrop seen from a car’s rear view mirror, is a nod to Cormac McCarthy’s classic novel The Road, while in another scene, a burning car positioned in the middle of a dilated pupil references a Godspeed You Black Emperor lyric: ‘The car is on fire and there’s no driver at the wheel.’
The process of bringing the animations to life has been quite a fluid one, explains Boelaars, with a lot of back and forth between him and Le Huquet. “As Joe has a lot more experience with animations, he would often come up with the idea first, that I would then work out as an illustration. Other times, I would send an idea of mine to check with him if that could be interesting to animate,” he says.
“I was thinking of adding colour later, but after sitting down with Joe we decided to keep them monochrome. We believe it adds a sense of nostalgia to them, while keeping them simple,” Boelaars adds.