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International Motion Art Awards Spotlight: Jonathon Rosen

By David Schonauer   Friday August 16, 2013


“The animation work I do often migrates back and forth from static to moving image and back again,” notes Jonathon Rosen. “Paintings and illustrations are reconfigured, layered, and animated, and illustrations and paintings can come out of the video as modified or collaged stills.” Rosen’s style is on full display in his International Motion Art Awards-winning video piece, a personal project that features a mash-up of loops from his own archive of video-music multi-projector performances, set to the music of the Los Angeles Free Music Society group the Doo-Dooettes. The music, from the group’s CD “Think Space,” was remastered and reconfigured by sound and visual artist Tom Recchion. “This track called out to be given a visual treatment, telling me what it wanted to be. Consequently, it mostly assembled itself,” says Rosen.

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International Motion Art Awards

Video for Music by the Doo-Dooettes

By Jonathan Rosen

“Growing up in LA, my big influences were old Fleischer cartoons on TV and Red Raven Movie Records,” notes Jonathon Rosen. The animation of Max Fleischer—an example being Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves—mixed surrealism with dark humor. Red Raven Movie Records, strange toy artifacts from another age, came with small mirror contraptions that sat atop the disk; as the record spun, the device created Zoetrope-like motion visuals.

“As a kid,” adds Rosen, “I drew flip books in the corners of textbooks and made Super-8 claymation films. Animation has been and is in my blood. I started doing Adobe After Effects animation on my first computer, a Mac clone, in the 1990s, doing a restoration job on an orphaned clip I directed for a Tales from the Crypt CD-ROM.”         

Rosen went on to see his animations featured by the New York Times, PBS, and shown at venues like MoMA PS1 in New York. He also teaches a course in animation for illustrators and cartoonists at New York’s School of Visual Arts. In 2005, he began doing live performances mixing video and music at the Redcat theater in Los Angeles. The visuals for his IMAA-winning video piece, seen here, came from his archive of such performances.

“The idea was to pull together clips from my performances to simulate the live-performance experience and in the process make a stand-alone video,” notes Rosen. The music featured in the video is an excerpt of a piece by the Los Angeles Free Music Society group the Doo-dooettes, taken from the CD "Think Space,” as remixed and reconfigured by sound and visual artist Tom Recchion.

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