Great Animation in 2018 Lives at the Local Level

Last week I attended the Sweaty Eyeballs monthly animation festival here in Baltimore and besides imbuing me with a greater degree of motivation, it also reminded me that great animation lives in far more places than on Netflix and TV in general. For one, it lives right on my own doorstep.

Baltimore is not a major centre for animation, but it is the east coast’s quirky, weird equivalent to the west coast’s Portland. Art there is unafraid to be bold, independent, and challenging of the status quo; everything that mainstream art is not. It attracts a crowd that dares to be different and aspires to be something more than a cog in a machine at a large studio.

Some of the animated shorts on display were student works, while others were collaborations with artists in other cities. Yet they were all remarkably different from what you’d see on a TV screen. They had a sense of ‘life’ to them that exhibited a vibrancy and excitement. Even the shortest student films were alternately amusing and stylish. Better yet, they were all different from each other! There was no repetition or slovenly imitation! Every short was a feast for the eyes and gave pause for thought.

What all this served to do was to remind me (as I’m now reminding you) that great animation actually doesn’t reside on the screens we’re been brainwashed into believing they are. Mainstream animated features are not great animation; indie features are. Animated TV shows (even those on Netflix) are not pushing the envelope; shorts on the internet and elsewhere are.

So perhaps consider this a recommendation to check out what’s animated events are happening in your area. You might discover something you’d never see otherwise. And if you can’t make it to a major city, consider starting a screening event of your own; there’s no reason why not in this day and age.

4 Comments on “Great Animation in 2018 Lives at the Local Level

  1. Glad you got out of the house. Yes, if you are looking to Hollywood as some kind of place where creativity is championed, you’ll be disappointed. I live in the middle of it, and animation is a business here, pure and simple. Always was.

  2. Did you see that hand drawn surreal animation that they had at the American Visionary Art Museum during their food exhibit? I’m not sure if that’s still going on. I remember the pint sized main character gorging his way through blue tentacled food after he gets sucked in at the long table. I’m not sure if that exhibit is still ongoing but it was very interesting.

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