Meet an Artist: Harrison Barrow
Harrison Barrow is a musician/animator from Greensboro; firstname.lastname@example.org
His Interest in Stop-Motion Animation
What I like about stop-motion animation is that you can invent a character. You can draw them and then make puppets out of them. They're like little people you can move.
I'm still very new to it. I've drawn goofy cartoons since I was in middle school. I would draw random characters and comic strips. I first got into stop-motion animation in high school. Me and my buddy Frank Adamek would do (stop motion) in my mother's basement. During that time we did three little short films. One (of the shorts) was for our Spanish Cultures 2 class. I don't remember what the project was. We made the short using geometric shapes that we painted on. It was about a man who vomited and then turned into a butterfly. The short had nothing at all to do with the project, but we got an "A" for it anyway.
Banging on the Piano
Me and the piano have a weird relationship. I first wanted to learn the piano in elementary school. At that time, my older brother listened to Ben Folds a lot, and so I naturally wanted to listen to it, too, and later to play piano myself. I asked my mother if I could take piano lessons; she agreed. I became impatient during the lessons. I wanted to rock out and bang on the piano and not do little exercises. I was thinking too far ahead.
Later, a friend of mine gave me a Warren Zevon CD -- that really made me want to play the piano. I knew enough about music to play the simplest chords. Over time I taught myself by practicing and listening to a lot of music.
His Newest Film
My current project is called "Esterhauzy." It's a stop-motion film about a young man, named Graham Ricketts, in his post-college slump. He's not actively pursuing a career. He's kind of lost his self-respect, his dignity, pretty much anything that keeps you going every morning. He's not necessarily depressed, he's just missing something required to be a 3-D human being.
He discovers that what he thought were his imaginary friends he had as a child were actually real and existed in another dimension. (The friends) and their home world are linked to his mind and his emotional state because he created them.
To the young Graham, the characters represented the few times he thought his family was normal. His family would go to the circus sometimes. (The characters) have themes from the circus; they're tightrope walkers, clowns, etc.
Now, everything in their world has gone haywire because of Graham's mental state. The individuals have become mutated, maniacal, demented and perverted. Now, basically, they're sociopaths. These are carnies and sideshow freaks that are losing their mind and subsequently, their home is dying. They have come back to grab Graham and drag him back to their world to solve their problems that have risen from his unhappiness.
Selecting film Music
For "Esterhauzy," the music and animation are two parts of a whole. What I'm doing musically has to reflect the personality of the character on screen. The music can't just be anything.
Sometimes it's really fun to make another statement with the music that's contrary to the animation. For example, I might have an upbeat song about something terrible or godawful happening on film and portray it as something innocent.
I have about three other people who have helped me with the music; it's not 100 percent me. I really like to have other people bring different ideas to the numbers.
A Work In Progress
This summer we're going to film a portion of it ("Esterhauzy") and use it to try to get more backing. Basically, we want the film to be quality, so we don't want to rush it. We've already done a lot of work for preproduction, like concept art and writing the script.
We also have a fair amount of tracks recorded for it, all they need is some polishing up.
The only way to do all of the stuff for the film without rushing it is to get artists to help. We don't want a huge crew, just a bigger one than we have now. We need artists, filmmakers, people that like to sculpt and draw.
This (project) is going to take awhile. As you grow as an artist, you are going to continually look back at what you did and want to improve it. However, the project isn't going to take 30 years to complete; so sometimes you have to put your foot down and end it at some point.