Kirsten Lepore is an animator, known for many different works like short films and even segments of shows, including ones like Yo Gabba Gabba. To me, however, she is the creator of one of my all-time favorite videos, Hi Stranger. When I first entered her name into Google, I had no idea who she was. Going through her works, I recognized the all-too familiar face of the naked clay man from the animation, a work that I love and most of my friends and family hate due to its so-called “weirdness”. I had no idea an acclaimed animator was responsible for it, but it only makes me like her more.
Even though I love Hi Stranger, I’m going to talk about other animations in this blog post, to get a wider feel for her as an artist as well as stretch my knowledge about her style of animation.
Lepore states that she was inspired by Disney and Henson, the latter being one of my favorite animators and filmmakers of all time. I get a similar feeling from her works as I do from some of Jim Henson’s. Perhaps because Henson used puppets and Lepore uses stop motion. I like this video above because it seems so “earthy”, and textured, which might be a result of the content (it is literally earth) but also just a factor of stop-motion in itself. There is something inherently appealing about this to me, even if it is just an ad for Whole Foods.
After going through almost of all of Lepore’s work on her website, I found that I enjoyed most of them. One that I didn’t quite enjoy, however, was this one. The content is alright, I mean, it’s funny, but I’m not a huge fan of the art style in this one. Even though I normally like the mix between reality and animation, which this one contains (real bodies with clay heads), something seems off about it. The heads and the bodies seem “other” from each other and create a sense of disjointedness, which differs from the cohesion of her other works. It seems a bit grotesque, but that might be her point: making fun of that pretentious art-school stereotype, which in that case, I understand.
I love this video. I also love the video on how she made this video. I think the reason I like stop motion so much is because I like how it mixes reality, aka, the sand, water, snow, etc., and fantasy. The fantasy aspect would be the movement of the objects throughout space with the in-between stages (the photographs and physical manipulation). I like how Lepore mixes traditional art with digital, combining both worlds to create what is called experimental animation.
I think she’s my favorite artist (yet).