Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Joanna Quinn in conversation

On Wednesday the 28th of October, I dragged a few coursemates along to the Barbican for a discussion and screening by the legendary Joanna Quinn. I had previously seen Dreams and Desires at the Leeds International Film Festival in 2006, when it was first released, and was awestruck. I love how organic and yet unique her style is, and how it emphasises the frame-by-frame nature of hand drawn animation. The mark-making of her individual drawings are packed with expression, adding to the incredibly bouncy, yet truly believable, movement of her characters.
The films screened were 'Girls Night Out' (1986), 'Body Beautiful' (1990), 'Elles' (1992), 'Britannia' (1993), 'Wife of Bath' (1998), and 'Dreams and Desires - Family Ties' (2006). I was deeply affected by the poignant Britannia. Another of my favourites is Wife of Bath - apart from the stunningly soft aesthetic, I always enjoy a token of feminism! The talk was great fun and everyone's excited to hear that we haven't seen the last of Beryl, the ongoing protagonist of Quinn's independent films.
Quinn's newer work seems to be be more popular amongst my coursemates than her older films but no one can quite put their finger on the reason for this. Her newer work is certainly more polished and less messy in terms of form and movement but has a messier line quality. This newer style has a softer aesthetic and there is greater attention to detail, whereas Girls Night Out has quite a conventional style for animation. I think it also has something to do with how the narrative and timing are packaged together. Perhaps you can shed some light on our querie!
My coursemate, Kajal, had never seen Quinn's work before and is now a big fan. We both bolted to find a cashpoint after the event as we were afraid she might disappear before we could bag a couple of her beautiful flipbooks.
All evening, she was cracking jokes at herself. If I were as talented and successful as Joanna Quinn, I couldn't hope to be so honest and humble about my work!

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