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International Motion Art Awards: Balvis Rubess

By David Schonauer   Thursday March 19, 2015

As an illustrator, Toronto-based Balvis Rubess  has vivid way of explaining things. Among his  most memorable work are three masterpieces he created for Melcher Media publishering in New York—The Pop-up Book of Phobias, The Pop-up Book of Nightmares, and The Pop-up Book of Sex. (Open that last one and see what pops up under headings like “Missionary Position” and “Mile-High Club.”) As an animator, he says he loves to “play and explore new creative directions and ideas.” That includes designing motion graphics for broadcast and the web. He was named a winner of the International Motion Art Awards 3  competition for two separate entries, and today we look at the first—the title sequence for a series of surrealist vignettes that borrows visual elements from the likes of Man Ray and Salvador Dali.

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International Motion Art Awards
Project: The Cecropia, a Surrealist Narrative
Animator: Balvis Rubess
Illustrator: Balvis Rubess


Toronto-based illustrator and animator Balvis Rubess’s The Cecropia is part of a personal project, a series of short vignettes called The Surrealist, which he calls “a collaborative motion arts project that teams up various artists [to create] a moving surrealist narrative.” His IMAA-winning piece, seen here, features the title sequence and the end credit for the first in piece in the series, which tells the story of a moth that feasts voraciously as a caterpillar but, after emerging as an adult moth, lacks a mouth and digestive tract and exists only to procreate before it dies of hunger. Imagine what an artist like Salvador Dali would do with such an idea!

Actually, you don’t have to, because Rubess’s visuals borrow from surrealist artists like Dali and photographer Man Ray. You’ll notice, for instance, May Ray’s famous "Indestructible Object,” a metronome with a photograph of an eye attached to it. “I illustrated the eye instead of using photography,” says Rubess. Below you see a the final rendering of the metronome and the wire frame for the object that he created in LightWave modeling software:

“I also used some clouds that I had illustrated a while back in Photoshop and animated them in After Effects for a vintage background effect,” says Rubess. Here is that element:

“The ants are an homage to Salvador Dali, who used them often as symbols of decay and the impermanence of things, beings, perceptions and time,” Rubess says.

Rubess has established a separate company for his animation work called Plasmalife, which produces motion graphics for broadcast and the web. His list of clients includes the Canadian Space Agency, Lone Eagle Productions, Big Green Hat Production, and the Canadian Country Music Association. “I love to play and explore new creative directions and ideas,” he notes at the Plasmalife website.

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