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KUED's online series exploring creativity

Michael Edwards, Animator

Michael Edwards began his career in Fine Arts with a focus on drawing, eventually evolving his drawings into the medium of animation. He is largely influenced by Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, Russian Suprematism, Buddhism, and Existential philosophy, particularly the work of Franz Kafka and Albert Camus.

“It wasn’t until very recently that I’ve been able to bridge the gap between my art and my animation. What was frustrating in my early work is that my drawings were more my art than my animation… I felt that they were more skilled. My films were sort of disappointing because I had to make an easier drawing so I could animate it. Now it's more of an equal relationship.”

Michael believes animation is at it’s best when it’s not trying to replicate reality. His goal is to have the art speak for itself rather than attached to, or representing, personal constructs. For Michael, because animation is purely movement, it can go wherever it wants. For this reason he is continually exploring the idea of art being in and of itself, while also an extension of the self, the creator.

“I’m not always trying to take something I’ve experienced… and trying to evoke it in an abstraction. I think that if you sufficiently immerse yourself in the formalism of the medium then it will eventually become something that evokes something of itself without necessarily relying on my own experience.” He explains, “That’s when I create my best work, is when I’m not limited by trying to express something.”

His process usually involves starting from a drawing and generating an animated loop of that drawing. After adding sounds to the loop the imagery becomes evocative. These initial loops become the engine parts that move the film forward.

“I rely on this abstraction process to propel itself forward, and then I sort of depart from the loop structure when I feel like I know where it wants to go, that’s when interesting things can happen.”

Michael currently teaches animation at the University of Utah. He completed his BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, and received his MFA in Film and Media Arts from the University of Utah. 

To see more of Michael’s work visit his webpage Charming Lunatic and his Vimeo page.

Producer and Editor

Stéphane Glynn