Ones to Watch

Funny, odd and at times downright macabre: all qualities shared by a handful of young animators whose work has wowed us recently. Further investigation reveals that they share a common background

Work comes in to CR in all sorts of ways. We might get a Tweet or an email inviting us to check something out, we might visit a show or spot something online. Filtering that work and picking out the good stuff is a vital part of putting a magazine together. But as well as searching for good stuff to show you, what we also look for are connections and trends which, in the case of the animators profiled on the following pages, is where things get interesting.

We’d been aware of the work of the Layzell Brothers for some time but their names cropped up again during the judging of our Annual (to be published in May) where the pair’s hilarious Adam Buxton video found favour with the judges. Also featuring in the Annual will be Becky & Joe, another highly promising young animation duo. Meanwhile, the macabre world of Julia Pott had long been one into which we had planned to delve. A little digging around revealed that, not only did all concerned share a degree of talent, but they also shared degrees from the same university – Kingston. Pott, Joe Pelling of Becky & Joe, and Matt Layzell are all graduates of Kingston’s Illustration and Animation course. Furthermore, they’d all formed collectives with course colleagues before finding their feet. So, we wondered, is this coincidence or is there something special about the course?

One advantage Kingston students have, it seems, is the right kind of space (an increasingly contentious issue in education). Course director Geoff Grandfield points out that “we’ve got studios where people can actually work in a space, they build a great work ethos and all work alongside one another for three years. I think this is probably what leads to the desire to set up collectives with fellow graduates when they leave college”.

It’s also “an illustration course that does animation”, Grandfield says. Which means time for such things as observational drawing and an emphasis on students finding their own voice and visual language. Plus, senior lecturer Martina Bramkamp says, this hybrid nature of the course encourages collaboration with students in other subject areas. Kingston may not be unique, but they are obviously doing something right.

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