Friday, January 30, 2009

Artist Statement

As a child, I fell in love with animation and cartoons. I grew up exposed to Japanese animation because I spent my childhood in Seoul, South Korea where Japanese animation is popular. I remember that in grade school, my classmates and I would regularly draw two pages of cartoon newspaper every other week. Even as a child, my family and friends always comment that I never run out of ideas and concepts. My love for motion picture eventually led me to discover animated films. It was then when I found out how potent a medium animation is. I realized that the images and stories that animators weave do reflect the society within which we live.

I have been traveling around the world with my family and these travels eventually helped in broadening my horizon as they exposed me to various cultures around the world. Making sense out of these experiences is a challenge that I would like to meet through the creation of animated films. Like Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of Spirited Away, I have always wanted to create hopeful messages via the animated medium. We tend to be bound by the images we see. For animators, tragedy lies in lack of creativity and imagination. In fact, when I finally decided to devote my life to animation 2 years ago, I also elected to change my name from Stephanie to Iva. Just to be unique and different. I am here at Parsons to nurture my creativity and knowledge, and express it through the newest technology.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications Arts, major in film, television and radio from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is apparent that as early as then, I am already attached to moving pictures. I already understand the media involved, and I was also able to produce my own short films back in college. I was particularly influenced by Chaplin’s many works in fact I was taught dialogue or verbal expression isn’t a crucial factor as long as the narration can be fully expressed in actions. Andrew Stanton’s recent animated film Wall-E also had very few lines but portraits emotions through motion. My fascination with movies – animation, most especially – lies on the fact that they are able to temporarily convince their audience to believe in their story. This part of story-telling inspires me a lot.

After graduating from the university, I worked as an editor at the Korea Times. I chose this job to expose myself to the different software applications -- such as Macintosh Quark Xpress, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator – that may prove useful to me later. Indeed, this move has been advantageous for me, as I was able to go beyond academic theories and learned hands-on how to design media. I did not only become familiar with the latest computer graphic works, I also began to understand the field of advertising and news. At this point, I also realized that many advertisements are heavy in animation, and that the opportunities in this field are endless.

While I was working at the Korea Times, I also experienced being the cartoonist of Yum’s Diary, a 4-cut cartoon of the newspaper. I was so overwhelmed and thrilled to be able to express the angst of Korean-American youth. Having influenced by Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry’s book, Le Petit Prince, I would like to create animations that audiences will want to watch them more than once and have different feedback each time. Every time I read Le Petit Prince, I’m amazed by how my perception changes such as the image of “the hat” in the first chapter doesn’t seem like a hat to me anymore because I matured enough to understand the story is all about looking inside of an object.

From year of 2005, I worked on an independent film -- The Main Character -- as associate producer. I set up the production props, designed setting, supervised script, promoted to sell tickets and DVDs, and participated in filming as an audio and light adjustment crew. After working in the film industry for years, I entered animation industry as a Line Producer where I revised scripts, kept the production schedule and communicated with international offices. Working closely with sound of the films, I am into producing background music and sound effects. Nowadays, Nujabes, the Japanese DJ, affects me the most on music works. Not only he composites hip hop lyrics and music, but also creates soundtracks of popular Japanese animations like Samurai Champloo. I believe learning Pro-Tools for editing sound system in ssParsons will improve my skills tremendously.

In the end, my ultimate goal is to create my own animated films that both adults and children can appreciate and learn from. I want to work hard on character developing, which is the most important part of the animation process in my current hand-drawing and Maya software projects. I am going to help put animation at par with other kinds of films. I dream of this because I know that even if there are already many animated films in our midst, many people still hesitate to spend money and watch them in cinemas. In other words, I want to help develop a loyal following for animated films.

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