Throughout our Graduate Shows 2016 we'll be publishing conversations with our most recent graduates about their work and their top tips for aspiring artists.
Third in the series, we sit down with BA (Hons) Animation graduate Aedan Jenner to talk all things puppets, plastics and production...
Hi Aedan, so tell us about your work in the Graduate Shows.
Well the main aim of my graduate project was to explore industry standard construction techniques used in creating stop motion films.
I was inspired by studios like Mackinnon and Saunders, Laika and Aardman to try and recreate some of the amazing puppets and sets they conjure up in their studios. I want to end up in that line of work: tinkering away in workshops all day making incredible things.
For this project I made moulds using different types of silicone and polypropylene plastic resins in order to assemble armatures and building miniature props.
At the show I will be displaying one of the sets I’ve created and some of the armatures and puppets I’ve been building.
"It’s a completely different ball game here and a great atmosphere – make the most of that."
I’ve also put together a book detailing all the work that went into creating the puppets and designing the sets. The whole project is gearing towards me creating a stop motion featurette this year.
How has it been studying here at the college?
It’s been amazing, it’s a great environment to work in, but you have to make it work for you! The aspect that has been the most beneficial to my work has been the freedom to roam – there are so many facilities that are open to us here.
I’ve tried my hand at darkroom photography, woodwork, 3D printing, resin casting – I’ve even made 8mm analogue films with the facilities and equipment available here.
For me it’s always fun to get away from the computer and experiment with new things. I urge any new students to make the most of all that and try out the facilities when you can.
"As soon as I graduate I have a job working with Carola Hauck, a documentary filmmaker in Munich, Germany."
Animation is a broad practice so you can incorporate loads of different ideas and creative practices in order to tailor it to you.
You could be working on a purely computer generated project, or work on paper, or make an animation using spray paints, fabric, photographs or even sand.
It’s up to you to experiment, try it all out and explore different ways of making, it can be lots of fun.
The lecturers have been really great too, I used to have a lot of conflicts of interest with teachers back at school, but I’ve learnt a lot from the staff here and got along with them really well right from the start of the course.
"I want to end up in that line of work: tinkering away in workshops all day making incredible things."
It’s a completely different ball game here and a great atmosphere – make the most of that. Also use the bloody library – there is no reason to shy away!
What are your plans when you graduate?
As soon as I graduate I have a job working with Carola Hauck, a documentary filmmaker in Munich, Germany. I met her on a trip we made to FMX & ITFS in Stuttgart earlier this year – two big animation and VFX festivals.
"Your whole life experience should become part of your creative process, so include it in the way you work."
I am going to be helping Carola create interstitial animations for a documentary she is making about childbirth. The film is called “Die Sichere Geburt” or “The Safe Birth” and is about modern birthing practices, highlighting medical interventions during childbirth and the negative effects they often have on mothers and children.
I will be creating the animations that appear between interviews illustrating some of the experiences women have during childbirth. After that is done I will be working on my stop motion project and starting production on my new film!
Sounds like you're going to be busy! What advice would you give aspiring artists?
Make connections with students across the college. Interdisciplinary projects and working with amazing people in other departments like film, photography and fine art has helped me create some of my best work and has been a great source of inspiration.
"It’s up to you to experiment, try it all out and explore different ways of making, it can be lots of fun."
It is really important to branch out, the discussions you have about art with other students with a different outlook will inform and nurture your work. You’ll be surprised at what discoveries inspire you.
Something you may have considered totally irrelevant to your craft may prove to be the most valuable thing you’ve learnt and change the direction of your work.
It’s easy to fence yourself in, but inspiration comes from everywhere. Your whole life experience should become part of your creative process, so include it in the way you work.
Keep up to date with Aedan’s work as he enters the industry:
See all of the fantastic work from our 500+ talented students across all levels at our Graduate Shows 2016, 11-24 June, free and open to all. See our event page for opening times.
The public can get involved too, with artwork available to purchase, film screenings and live presentations running throughout the duration of the show – including our unmissable Graduate Fashion Show, which takes place at The Red House (Plymouth School of Creative Arts), on June 21 and 22.
Press? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for high-res images, artist statements, press releases and more.