Final year Illustration with Animation student Rachel McMahon spent the early part of her final year of the course working on a collaborative Arts Council funded project with writer Andy Hickmott from the Manchester Writing School and musician Jay Birbeck of University College London. The project is outlined here in November on the Manchester Writing School blog.
I asked Rachel to describe the project in her own words for this blog post:
I contacted Andy Hickmott, a poet from the writing school, last year on the tip-off that he was in search of an animator to produce visuals for his 700 line poem, ‘The Reedy Boy’. On meeting Andy he liked my work and explained that he wanted to create an audio-visual aspect to the poem so he could eventually run a tour of performances in places that don’t normally host poetry readings or artistic performances, such as care homes, hospices etc. (Andy will be applying for a separate grant to take the show on a live tour once it is made.)
The grant we have received was to help us make a 45 minute film, which incorporated the spoken poem, a musical score by Jay Birbeck and animations by myself. It’s quite a big task. Both Andy and Jay were still studying for their MA’s, so we did our best to get the project finished during October/November to avoid clashes with course work. (although I am planning to include snippets in the degree show June 2016)
The poem is very folksy and quite dark so I’ve been working a lot with my normal hand-drawn style of animation combined with shadow puppetry elements. Much of what I’ve been doing is more what I would call scene-setting than creating an animated version of the poem, because we want the poem to be the main focus for the audience.
We put together some trailers to hype up a bit of interest before we released it onto vimeo/youtube, and these and any other updates are on my facebook artist page :https://www.facebook.com/raeraeillustrations92
The Reedy Boy in 4 parts: