Here is Dima’s stop frame video made from footage shot during the first day of our filming in Amsterdam.
The soundtrack is from the album called Strømblocque Phantasieën by one of our favourite Dutch bands, Coolhaven – check them out at:-
We have lots more footage waiting for Dima to work on – so I hope that ‘Room of Ghosts II’ – the sequel, will be coming soon!
Drawing in the very long narrow downstairs hallway presented quite a challenge. As the photos below show, I had to sit in a very small space directly behind the time lapse camera and the two projectors, which meant that I had a rather restricted view of what I was drawing.
We used two locations for our Tagtool sessions; a very beautifully proportioned room on the first floor back of the ‘front house’ which, when the reconstruction was completed, would be the present owner’s sitting room, and the long, narrow downstairs hallway that ran from the front of the house right through to the very back of the ‘back house’ at the rear of the property.
Here is my Tagtool set up in the corner. For the first session we used only one projector, trained on a very large white ‘flat pack’ three door wardrobe left behind by a previous owner. I began by drawing over some video footage of a swan on the canal provided by the director.
For the second session we used two projectors which enabled us to have two underlying videos.
This provided the backdrop for filming a ‘happening’ where the wardrobe would be totally destroyed (in the photos below it is Dima doing the destruction – a role he very much enjoyed!). When the wardrobe was flattened (in a cloud of dust) the scary head was transferred on to the wall alongside the romantic youth. I then ‘erased’ both images using the whole spectrum of Tagtool colours – and also managed to take these photos of the drama.
Canadian film maker Demetri Estdelacropolis had seen our ‘Tales from the Attic’ in Rotterdam earlier this year and invited us come to Amsterdam to do some Tagtooling for the film, ‘Nearly Departed’, that he is making there. The filming location was an historic canal house in the centre of the city, an enormous, beautiful and quite extraordinary building that is currently undergoing major reconstruction and restoration. Filming was to take place in the evenings and at the weekend when the builders were not working. It sounded like a great opportunity for us to work in such a prestigious location – and we were not disappointed!
Needless to say, we came home with lots of photos. At various points when I wasn’t actively involved in drawing I used my little camera to take some images specially for this blog and as usual Dima also documented our Tagtool sessions. He is making a stop frame video from his material but meantime I have selected some still photos to ‘set the scene’ for our work on this project. I will publish a selection in my next two postings.
Here is a stop frame of part of the live Tagtool drawing to accompany Beseppy and Martin Janicek at A studio Rubín.
At the weekend we had a rehearsal in our studio when I took these photos of the first practice session.
This rehearsal was really useful as it gave me an opportunity to listen carefully to the sounds of the instruments before I started to draw. Then we each made up a ‘story’ which would set the scene for the three performance improvisations. In order that Martin and Bethany could see my drawing projected on the wall behind them while they were playing, Dima set up a monitor in front of their table. I put a clock on my table so that I could check the pace of my drawing. This arrangement worked very well in our studio and by the end of the session we had agreed on the shape of the three pieces for the performance.
The venue was quite small, a vaulted cellar in a very old building in the centre of the city. I had not been there before and when we arrived at 5.30pm for the sound check I discovered (to my horror!) that the whole place was painted matt black. I realised that I would have to adjust my drawing ideas very quickly! Some of the tonal gradations that I had planned to use were not possible as the black walls just soaked up the Tagtool colours and using the transparency slider was also really tricky. In order to see the stage I had to stand on a ledge at the back of the auditorium with our flight case upended on top of a small table to make a work station for my Tagtool, drawing tablet and computer, but as there was a large audience this improvisation proved both necessary and successful. There was a very neat ceiling mount for our projector and video camera that was adjustable and hooked over the lighting rig, so in the end the whole set up worked well, despite the black drawing surface.
The videos made by O.M.A. International of Artists’ Performances and Jam Sessions at the York Festival are now on Vimeo. Here is the video of the performance that we gave on Wednesday 28 October.
We had a great time in York, it was a most rewarding experience and we learned such a lot by watching the different artists’ performances and working together in the Jam Sessions. So – a big thank you to the organisers of the Festival, a big thank you to GaiaNova for the beautiful super bright projector and a big thank you to O.M.A. International for inviting us to participate!
On Sunday morning the weather changed – there was torrential rain and a high wind that blew all day but miraculously by 6pm, although it was much colder than before and still rather windy, the rain had stopped. Although the weather had kept some families away there was no shortage of people wanting to draw in the public sessions. More people gathered for Iink and Maki’s performance but as there were not the crowds of the previous evening, this time I managed to take lots of photos. I noticed there were people in the audience setting up their cameras and tripods who had been at the Saturday performance too and they were rewarded on this last evening with a delightful and colourful animated sequence of fairytale images including this amazing pink sea monster and mermaid. A very nice finale!
Then it was time to carefully lower the beautiful projector into its box, dismantle the tower and clear everything away. The next morning the only thing that remained to show where the projector tower had been was a pale green square in the grass.
On Friday evening the featured artist was Die. Puntigam. A large crowd had gathered for his performance – and they were not disappointed! I took lots of photos. Here is a selection. They are not able of course to convey the amazing speed of his drawing or the rapid succession of images that continuously poured over the tower, then swirled away to be immediately overlaid or replaced. For this solo he was working with two Tagtools and simultaneous double animation – a high octane virtuoso performance that drew deservedly loud applause from the audience.
On Saturday evening Iink and Maki gave the first of their two weekend performances. I was on crowd control duty – which turned out to be a full time job so I was unable to take any photos of their work at all! There were so many spectators, and everyone wanted to have a clear view of the tower or take photos of the artists at work. It was extremely difficult for us to maintain even a narrow line of sight for the artists. Somehow they managed to see to draw through the ever narrowing gap in the delighted crowds (many of whom, both adults as well as children) were in full Halloween party mood – there were lots of pointy witches’ hats, luminous collars and scary made-up faces in the crowd! I’m really looking forward to watching the videos of these performances – once they are all on the Tagtool website I’ll post a link for Drawinglive News readers.
I’ve failed (again!) to carry out my intention to do a posting every day about the Tagtool performances on the Multangular Tower, so this is another ‘catch up’ posting. Now I have taken so many photos that it is really difficult to select just a few for this blog. Every evening has been different, but one thing has been a constant – the expressions of pure joy and delight on the faces of all the children, and their parents, who have ‘had a go’ at drawing with the Tagtool. One parent, on discovering that the festival ended on Sunday said to me, ‘What a shame! I think they should have kept the Wall of Light until Christmas.’ All the public sessions have attracted long queues, with people who didn’t manage to ‘have a go’ coming back early the next evening, or waiting for the late evening public session. I have taken so many photos – but here are some of my favourites.
It’s Friday night – only three more evenings of projections before we pack up and go home. It has been a very busy and exciting week. With so many things to think and write about it has been very difficult for me to post a summary of each day’s events. As well as the ‘official’ documentation by Jorg and Josef there must have been hundreds of photos taken every night by members of the audience, some by people with very high quality photographic equipment, but I decided that for my blog I would use only photos I had taken myself. This has meant that I have no photos of the parts of the Tagtool Artists Jam Sessions where I have been drawing, or of our performance on Wednesday evening. In the Jam Sessions, as well as having great fun, I have found it extremely interesting to watch how different people develop their drawings and interact with each other. Here is one sequence of photos that I took when I was waiting my turn to draw. Maki and Iink are doing both drawing and animation together.