Ryan Larkin: Art and Animation

streetmusique-Ryan-LarkinBorn in Montreal, Canada in 1943, Ryan Larkin, grew up in Dorval, Quebec and studied with painter Arthur Lismer at the Ecole des beaux-arts de Montreal. The death of his brother in the 1950s affected Larkin, and he began drinking heavily in his teens.

Larkin began working at the National Film Board in 1961 where he was tutored by master animator Norman McLaren. Using new film techniques, he created the short “Syrinx” in 1965. In 1968 Larkin received an Academy Award nomination for his animated short “Walking”. In 1972 he created “Street Musique which was considered a masterpiece of animated movement.  Larkin won dozens of awards during his 14 years with the film board.

In 1977, Larkin suffered from a combination of creative block and alcohol and cocaine addiction.  He eventually left the NFB and began living on the streets of Montreal and panhandling. “I had difficulty handling my ego when I was famous. I’ve made a fool of myself.” Larkin once told an interviewer. “It was a psychological problem I had to deal with, and my first choice was to use drugs. “I had sexual proclivities, too – I was doing coke and getting hard-ons instead of what I should have been doing, which was making interesting, comical, beautiful animation films.”

Larkin was brought back into the spotlight as the subject of the film Ryan, a digitally animated tribute by  Chris Landreth that won the Academy Award for best animated short in 2005.  The film rejuvenated his career and he returned to animation by creating three short animated bumpers for MTV in December 2006.

Larkin died on February 14, 2007 of lung cancer in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec.  At the time of his death, he had been working on  “Spare Change”, a film about his experiences on the streets of Montreal.

To learn more, visit Larkin’s Official Website RyanBango.com. To see more of Larkin’s animations, visit the National Film Board online.


Sources: CBC, Canada.com

TED: Phil Hansen: The Art of the Imperfect

Artist Phil Hansen uses unique media (his torso, x-rays, a tricycle…) to create his version of meta-art, videos that document the creation process – showing that art is action, not just result. Phil is a finalist to give a full TED talk at the TED Conference 2013, so if you like this, please rate it on TED Talent Search.

You can also check out Phil at PhilInTheWhat.com and PhilInTheCircle.com.

TED Talks – Neil Harbisson: I Listen To Color

Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.

Neil Harbisson’s “eyeborg” allows him to hear colors, even those beyond the range of sight.

Theo Jansen: Kinetic Sculpture

From TED Talks – a great presentation from Dutch kinetic artist Theo Jansen who demonstrates his lifelike kinetic sculptures. “Jansen has been working for 16 years to create sculptures that move on their own in eerily lifelike ways. Each generation of his “Strandbeests” is subject to the forces of evolution, with successful forms moving forward into new designs. Jansen’s vision and long-term commitment to his wooden menagerie is as fascinating to observe as the beasts themselves.

His newest creatures walk without assistance on the beaches of Holland, powered by wind, captured by gossamer wings that flap and pump air into old lemonade bottles that in turn power the creatures’ many plastic spindly legs. The walking sculptures look alive as they move, each leg articulating in such a way that the body is steady and level. They even incorporate primitive logic gates that are used to reverse the machine’s direction if it senses dangerous water or loose sand where it might get stuck.”

To see more video of Jansen’s fascinating work, visit StrandBeest.com.