In the lead up to Melbourne Now, a number of artists are making new works that engage with the NGV Collection. Arlo Mountford is one such artist who has been working closely with curators, cataloguers and registration staff, undertaking research for a new animation. Mountford is well known for digital animations that playfully re-interpret various moments in art history, and in Walking the line (2013), a new work made especially for Melbourne Now, Mountford brings to life various works in the NGV Collection.
JD: Walking the line is a new work that takes the viewer on journey through iconic works in the NGV Collection. How did you choose particular artworks to work with for this new animation?
AM: The works are chosen using a few rough guides, but the first is seeing if there is a line crossing this work in one way or another that the characters can interact with, I find this simple rule allows the selection process to be less constrained by historical and conceptual contexts. Having said this there are certainly favourites and historically significant works that have been chosen, sometimes these are more significant to the NGV and Australian Art History, and other times the more international Art Canon.
JD: How do you go about transforming 2D images and bringing them to life through animation? Can you describe your process?
AM: Once a line has been chosen from the work this area is drawn using a tablet and computer. Elements of the work are separated out into layers in the drawing process which later allows the characters to move through them. Some of the sculptural works are built using 3D software and then returned to the 2D world for the characters to interact with.
JD: How important is sound to your work? What role will it play in this new work?
AM: Sound is integral to the works. Conceptually it is dealt with in the same way as the appropriated imagery and is developed as the animation develops – the animation is made in approximately 30 second segments which are then rendered and placed in the timeline so that sound ideas can be applied before the next segment. This allows the sound to inform the process as the work develops. In Walking the Line the sound creates a link between the two elements of the work, as the characters call and respond to one another.