November 3, 2014
Asavari Kumar is a freelance designer/animator based in Los Angeles, CA. Her work is primarily character driven with a unique, playful and pliable graphic style. After completing her bachelors in Animation Film Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, she went on to pursue an MFA in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts.
Her thesis project, Parallel, is a video installation and a short animation film that attempts to explore the multiple possible outcomes of the same situation at key points in an individual’s life. It investigates the effect of taking each path (among many) on the individual, while exploring the possibility of the simultaneous existence of multiple realities.
The Story goes like this …
The story is a linear but parallel narrative which puts the protagonist Nova through three obstacles. Every decision that she makes gives rise to another parallel reality where she is transformed.
Each parallel stream is a different version of the same story. There are three versions in all. In the first, Nova succeeds in navigating the first two obstacles. She becomes complacent and decides to not complete the third obstacle. In the second version, Nova experiences one failure which transforms her partially, but she perseveres and pushes forward. In the last version, Nova fails the first two obstacles and transforms into the worst, most monstrous version of herself, and becomes obsessed with destroying everything in her path.
Asavari here tries to play with the idea of intersecting realities so the three versions of Nova meet towards the end of the piece. The half monster version escapes while the other two chase each other and remain perpetually stuck in the confines of the dream world. It is less of a traditional plot and more of an exploration of her somewhat abstract ideas and personal beliefs about how that delicate balance between good and bad experiences, success and failure needs to be maintained to move forward.
We spoke to Asavari after seeing her work and here’s what she had to say about Parallel.
Does the project reflect your personal thoughts and experiences in your life, or is it an outsider’s perspective to life in general?
Parallel was definitely born out of my own personal experiences although I can say safely that my outlook towards and philosophies on life have been shaped by people around me (teachers, friends, artists, colleagues etc.). Due to Parallel’s subject matter, I found that I had a lot of interesting conversations with people about their own personal rules of dealing with life. Many of them had similar questions and internal debates and were excited to see a piece that externalised this dialogue. Using a personal art project as a way to analyse what’s going on in your own head helps you develop a strange kind of objectivity and creates a platform to have a discourse about personal ideas – without feeling too exposed.
Why did you choose to depict “alien” or unnatural characters and environments?
In the context of the story, the character is in a dream world – almost inside of her head but she doesn’t know that. Unless we have a lucid dream we accept the strangeness of the dream as real and logical. I wanted to play with this idea – each of the 3 obstacles that the character navigates represents a personal challenge or a significant life event. I wanted to give each of the obstacles attributes that would make them real and believable but still take enough liberties with the design to make it seem dreamlike.
What was the inception of the project based on?
While searching for visual design inspiration for this piece I was looking for interesting shapes in nature and ended up looking at a lot of macro photography. I also found the colours of a lot of underwater flora and fauna fascinating. When I put together my mood board, it had this organic yet sci-fi feel, which I felt reflected the essence of the project. The piece was initially conceptualised just as an installation where a digital projection would be wrapped around a physical object to create an illusion of the animation suspended in real 3d space. I wanted to merge the physical and digital ‘realms’ in a sense and collapse two parallel ‘realities’ onto each other.
What drove the aesthetic decisions in your frames and characters?
The sculpture I built for the dream world (which I visualized as a slice of space-time) was shaped like a staircase so it made sense for the worlds mapped on it to be very geometric. The look complemented my simple design style pretty well since I didn’t want to create anything elaborate. The low poly look for the characters was both an aesthetic choice and for ease of production. The size of the actual projection even while using a short throw projector would be pretty small so I concentrated on making identifiable silhouettes as opposed to minute details on the characters and environments.
For our non-animator readers, can you tell us about the process of making an animation film like this?
The steps usually followed are concept, script, storyboard, visual development and design, animatic (timing the storyboards and estimating how long each shot takes), animation, compositing and music – more or less in that order. My own process is anything but traditional. I usually follow all the steps but in a completely different order and often go back and forth and change things as the idea develops.
That is not possible to do when working in a studio environment. Most places have their own production pipeline in place, which the artists have to follow.
For the entire preproduction and early concept work for Parallel click here.
Who are your artistic/graphic/musical inspirations?
There are so many! I frequently peruse the creators project blog for exciting projects. I also find indie games to be a huge source of inspiration. Off the top of my head – some of the artists/art collectives I like are – Nathan Jurevicius, Pictoplasma, FriendsWithYou and Zeitguised. I spend a fair amount of time online and come across new and inspiring artists everyday. Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to Nobrow press, which is a stunning independent print publication that serves as a platform for graphic art, Illustration and art comics.
What are you up to currently?
I am constantly on the lookout for fun projects and inspiring artists to collaborate with. During my down time I’ve been working on pitching an interactive game with a talented artist friend. I’m also very excited about my latest personal project titled Art Lovelies which is an online zine featuring weekly interviews by amazing independent female artists/designers, that believe in having autonomy over the production and distribution of their personal work.
Asavari’s Parallel has been currently entered in multiple festivals and competitions, such as the Animation sensation film festival (5th -7th September, 2014) & Mosaic film experience (7th – 8th November, 2014 ) because of which she can’t share the full video publicly just yet. We wish her the best of luck for her upcoming juries.скидки сушиЗаём за несколько минутKyoorius is a bi-monthly print magazine on visual communications. Subscribe here. For buying a single copy (or any of the previous issues), write to us at email@example.com. You can order the issue from Tadpole, get the digital copy from Magzter and also buy it from bookstores near you. For any feedback on the magazine or to submit your work, do drop in a mail to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.