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A friend of mine who knows Graeme Patterson recently recommended that I check out his animation work. The recommendation happened when I was talking about my own plan to eventually move back to my parents farm and split my time between farming and running a small media studio on the farm. Graeme has created an animation/installation series based on a rural Canadian town called Woodrow, which was the basis for the recommendation. In the series, Graeme injects a playful attitude into rural vignettes that illustrate how one can enjoy a life that might otherwise be fairly dull. I feel this playfulness is best represented by the Pierre & Gerrard episodes.
Grudge Match is another of Graeme's works that I relate to as a result of my own personal history. It features two high school wrestlers facing off against each other in a gymnasium empty of fans and judges, although there are two score cards which autonomously update as each player scores points.
The Grudge Match animation is part of a larger installation artwork piece that includes an oversized bunk bed, which houses the gymnasium model that the animation was shot in. In the gallery version of the installation there is a visual scale shift between the scaled models on and the projection of the animation, which is at life size scale.
In this work, I see many tie-ins to my own life experience at a rural Canadian high school. There wasn't enough interest to get a wrestling club up and running when I petitioned for it at my high school, but I participated in other high school sports events where it felt like there was no audience and little interest. One could pull off a nifty move and the only person to notice was your opponent, who would be unlikely to appreciate it quite as much...
Now, let's move on to the high school and boyhood rivalry represented by the bunk beds of the installation. We have the competitive nature represented by the two Buffalo and Cougar mascot costumes, which hang off the bunk bed. The rivalry takes place in a diminutive set, a high school gymnasium, and yet the tale (the remembrance of the event - the projection of the event) is represented as a life size. I love that juxtaposition. Definitely speaks to way small events became huge in high school.
According to Graeme's website Grudge Match is "...part of a larger body of work based on past friendships, boyhood, communication, and an investigation of my generation. The completed series is planned to exhibit in 2013." I'd place Graeme's work right alongside Patrick Doyon's oscar nominated NFB film Sunday/Dimanche. To see the correlations for yourself check out the interview with Patrick on the NFB Blog and Patrick's Cartoon Brew interview.
John Ikuma posted a great interview with Graeme about his work in the Stop Motion Magazine. Check that out for a more in depth look at Graeme Patterson's work as well as to see some excellent pictures of Graeme's installations.
For a direct link to Graeme's work check out the Grame Patterson Website.