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Youth Lagoon 'Raspberry Cane' by Stephen McNally

Luke Tierney - 30th Aug 2013

In an incredibly vivid world seemingly terrorised by curious monsters, Stephen McNally somehow manages to leave so much to the imagination. Even at over 6:30, you want more. Rarely does such cinematic animation get the chance to accent music so sweet, praise must go to Trevor Powers AKA Truth Lagoon for bringing in first time director Stephen McNally in what is a small triumph in individuality and experimentalism.

Being a first time director must be hard, yet scene after scene captivate allowing the music to sink in, neither audio or visual taking the lead but instead working together. Synergy you rarely see with two such powerful art styles. The distinct imagery is "shot" to confuse in already distorted scenes, and with little obvious narrative we can only hope this is the start of a series which lets the story unfold piece by piece. Chasing the dragon now has a whole new meaning. With little known about the new face on the block, we made a point of finding out a little more. Stephen McNally had this to say:


Stephen McNally: "Working with Trevor Powers / Youth Lagoon has been a fantastic experience. It’s great working with someone with a strong idea of what they want to convey, but who is also flexible and open to ideas of how we might go about it. It felt like a fun collaborative process, bouncing ideas back and forth.

"I love films, so a cinematic aesthetic often bleeds into my work. I tend to focus quite a bit on achieving the right atmosphere for a piece, getting the mood and the feeling to where I want it. Colour and lighting play a big part in this, as I work to get the palette to suit the spirit of the moment, while using lighting in a drawn illustration as if it were a film shot.

"I have a particular fascination with faces and this is reflected in my work. I am conscious of how faces show so much about our character and our lives, but can hide just as much. I enjoy drawing half remembered faces from memory; I like how they drift and distort from the source and become something interesting and different in their own right.

"I originally studied graphic design and illustration in Dublin, while teaching myself animation on the side. After graduating I landed a position as an animator / graphic designer in RTÉ (the Irish BBC equivalent) where I had opportunities to play with animation technique and form within a really quick turn around time, with the flexibility to experiment and learn on the job.

"With a growing urge to get into more narrative / longer form work, I enrolled in the Animation MA in the Royal College of Art in London. This has helped me start writing and animating short films, and to take on the occasional interesting commission when I could find the time."

* Check out Luke Tierney's blog, Word Is Cheap, or his Twitter @wordischeap, for more thoughts on his favourite music videos.

Luke Tierney - 30th Aug 2013


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