I decided to do my second artist profile on Kirsten Lepore. Lepore is an American animator specifically known for her work done in stop motion. She also served in roles such as writer, storyboard artist, sound creator, and director in her various projects. Lepore has worked with many big names in the industry including, Google, Nestle, MTV, Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Silk, and more. She works mainly with clay however, she also works with other materials such as food, paper, household items, and even a “Guess Who?” game board. Lepore uses cameras, video and photo editing software, and other animation tools to create her projects. Looking at Disney and the Jim Henson Company in her youth, she was inspired by their animation styles. And when she graduated high school, she attended the Maryland Institute College of Fine Art, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in “experimental animation”. Lepore is most well known for her collaboration with Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, where she wrote, directed, and did the storyboard creation for a full stop motion episode. The episode even took home an Emmy and an Annie Award. She is also known for her short film called Hi Stranger, which stacked up millions of views online and was written, directed, and animated by Lepore.
Looking over Lepore’s art, I see a definite pattern of using a lot of her art to make her audience think, not only in terms of structure but also meaning. She seems to love inserting abstract ideas and concepts that most people would have to stop and take a moment to comprehend, even though she presents a lot of them as fun and colorful on the outside. Her pieces take people on different journeys, which I think is incredible. Some of her pieces can even make viewers uncomfortable. However, I think that adds a layer to her work and encourages her audience to interact with her pieces more. For example, many people share her videos and have started an online dialogue about her work.
SILK // OAT YEAH Oat Milk
This first piece is a series of commercial advertisements created for Silk’s Oat Milk. The purpose of these ads was to generate thought about oat milk being used in all the same ways as dairy milk. Lepore used comparisons to dunking cookies in milk, making smoothies, and eating cereal to get her audience thinking about how the idea of oat milk can be incorporated into their daily routine just as easily as regular milk. I thought it was interesting what parts she decided to make out of real food and what she kept in clay/ inedible materials.
Belvedere Vodka + Janelle Monae // Natural History Museum
This second piece was commissioned by Belvedere Vodka and Janelle Monae for their Beautiful Future Campaign. Lepore was challenged to create a piece along the theme of “a beautiful future.” Lepore took the challenge and ran with it. Resulting in an abstract and innovative conception of what the future could hold for humankind. She goes through the past, present, and what she thinks is the future for humans. It gives her audience a lot to think about and imagine. For example, what would a future for humans look like? What does the rest of our own futures look like? What will we be remembered for? The design and development of different characters from cavepeople to present-day humans, to more advanced alien-like humans, to brains, and finally, consciousness is astounding.
The third piece I choose was a short film called “Hi Stranger” for the Late Night Work Club’s new collection of short films, Strangers. Lepore said, “My inspiration for the piece was to create pillow talk between me and the audience because that was not anything I’d ever seen done before with a stop-motion character.” She managed to get the world talking with this piece featuring a simply designed character that makes viewers feel strangely uncomfortable and soothed at the same time. This piece supported dialogue across the globe and helped Kristen reach a much broader and more mainstream audience with her art.
Variety’s 2017 10 Animators to Watch
Belvedere |A Beautiful Future Campaign
Short Pick Of The Day: ‘Natural History Museum’ by Kirsten Lepore
Kirsten Lepore (Wiki)
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