I was thinking today about my growth as a young animator and started to form a description of what animation is to me and what I've learned about it recently. If you're expecting brilliance here, let me warn you that you're better off heading to the blogs of others more qualified to speak on this topic. Try the usual Cartoon Brew, or John K's blog.
I thought about how animation captures the essence of life, gives a viewer the experience of connecting with characters that don't physically exist in a way that no other art form can, and that it provides a unique type of mirror for society, our values, and our own selves. I thought of the brilliant work of the Disney masters, and satisfaction I get from watching the crisp timing in episodes of Samurai Jack. Concepts like caricature and contrast came to mind, both of which have taken on new meaning in recent weeks. (And of course there are the principles of animation.) But the closer I came to a cohesive definition of what animation means to me right now, the further I felt from anything meaningful.
And then I thought of a sunset. The glowing red-orange ball disappearing below the horizon. The changing colors of the sky on its journey into night. Still, one thousand pages cannot begin to do justice to describe what a sunset feels like.
Both animation and sunsets contain a lot of iconography in our society, both cliché and sincere. We remember listening as bambi's mother was shot. And chances are that we have a dear memory or two based around sunsets we've experienced.
I can't tell you what it is about this art form that so enthralls me. And nothing I could describe would convince you of either the value of animation, or the power of a sunset. The best I can do is to leave you with this: