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Experimental Animation

Season Cheng

Season Cheng (b. 1994) is an animation filmmaker who was born in London and raised in Hong Kong. He has too many surreal stories sitting in his mind waiting for him to visualize them.

Being a picture maker, Season's interest in formal aesthetics has driven his research and experiments in geometry, pictorial space and matter. His concerns about the different plasticities of pictorial processes and room for the artist’s hand have formed his minimal visual language and expanded approach.

Degree Details

School of Communication

Experimental Animation

A Picasso bifurcated portrait, the Penrose stairs, the inside and outside of a line carved on a Japanese woodblock; what is the hidden link behind them? The ‘life’, ‘warmth’, ‘humanity’ of a hand-drawn picture: what do we mean when we use these words?

“A great painter can’t make an uninteresting mark,” said Hockney. The simple dots made on a Picasso figure, every dot is doing the ‘same thing’ differently. In animation, if an orb is being ‘boiled’, the animator will have to draw the same orb differently multiple times. So how can one orb perfectly be depicted in more than one ways? Do we see only 50 percent of a sphere with two eyes? Can a picture exist without the notion of human looking?

Making a picture is sometimes like making a map. To describe a curved object on a flat one with complete fidelity is a geometric impossibility. But the incomplete solutions are infinite. Season investigates that extra dimension at the gap between painting and computer generated imagery in the context of expanded graphic language and cinematic aesthetics.

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Every stylized picture comes with consequences. Season's pictorial process intends to neutralize and preserve plasticities.
Every stylized picture comes with consequences. Season's pictorial process intends to neutralize and preserve plasticities.

Spacecraft — A man falls in love with a painting and demands surgery to turn him flat. Done with Season's signature reduced graphic with bold colour.

Recipient of the 2021 Passion Prize

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Moving Mural, Homage to Hockney (2021)
Moving Mural, Homage to Hockney (2021)

If photorealistic imagery is true to life, why do we still cling on the lines and volumes groped out by the human hand? The ‘life’, ‘warmth’, ‘humanity’ of hand-drawn pictures: what do we mean when we use these words? What is the difference between an aircraft in a Miyazaki’s film and an aircraft drawn tracing an exact 3D model? Is it possible to inquire the logical structure of such property? Could we spell this out to a computer in geometric terms?

The wobbling abstract ground enables the multiple viewpoints in the same space.
The wobbling abstract ground enables the multiple viewpoints in the same space.
Multifunction notion in projective geometry — A cylinder turns into a cone. A pillar changes its perspective in context.

The mundane photo-indexical representation of the contemporary image culture has put picture making into the virtual construct. But painters have always known about the gestural dimension; the physical properties such as gloss, transparency and topography could provide the rudimentary rule for a planar sign system that is interactive, multi-layered and time-based.

Any picture is someone ‘looking’ at something; it is to do with someone who made the choices (mise-en-scène, timing, exposure, etc.). A cone is a Cubist structure-preserving map of ‘walking around a cylinder’ at different points and time. It depends on the framing, identity and context.

Filmmaking, no matter what you do, is deciding where the edges are and organizing the abstract in them.
Filmmaking, no matter what you do, is deciding where the edges are and organizing the abstract in them.
Altering the edges and abstract — combining the spirit of Cubism with mathematical ‘precision’

Any picture is an anthropomorphic embedding. Season believes the visual power of ‘unique frames/frame-by-frame’ is based on the same premise of Cubism: that one thing shall be depicted in more than one way to reflect the multi-vision nature of pictures that are made by and for human.

Because of the self-evident flatness, the semiotic elements in ‘2D’ aesthetic are always potentially multifunctional and directional (e.g., any line that has two edges can be considered analogous to Cubist two-in-one faces), contradicting ‘3D’ projective geometry originated from the law of optics that conceals the evidence of human participations. The ‘imperfections’ and roughness are serving the geometric mean to access a fragmented illusionistic complexity.

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With the premise, Season tries to manufacture the ‘imperfections’ through an almost scientific scope and experiments the mathematical possibilities of bridging them into one, extending the room for the artist. Which he believes is the spirit of drawing, living on and changing form, in the age of computer-generated imagery.



Thank you for coming! Please enjoy the beautiful works by my classmates as well.