When people ask me how I define art, I tell them that it’s a form of communication. I believe the most effective form of artistic communication is storytelling because characters illustrate the intended moral or lesson through their actions and experiences.
When I start a story, I always have a theme in mind that I want to illustrate, and I typically try to start with the setting for two reasons. The first is that the setting represents the lesson and the conflict. In my pitch for the short story From Dust to Trust, the setting takes place in a small desert town which gives a feeling of long-standing comfort. The second reason I like to make settings first is that where you have a world, you have environments, which give way to cultures, which then host characters. Characters are the vehicles on which the story rides. In From Dust to Trust, death is personified as a fox for its silent and thieving nature, and I had this idea before I knew what the environment should look like. Ultimately, I am not always concerned with the order these aspects are conceptualized in so long as the thing I want to communicate is embodied in the final product. My best work has come out of organic chaos.
I choose to animate my stories because I am a spiritual person, and animation is a very spiritual thing. Digital media has very few limitations that can’t be worked around. As long as you have the software, the time, and the determination, there’s nothing you can’t create. It’s like materializing something out of thin air. Some people might think this creates a distance from the viewer, but I think the intangibility makes it more accessible. You don’t feel a story with your hands, you feel it with your soul.
My message varies from work to work, but my spirituality affects the viewers who I tend to focus on. Recently I’ve started studying Kabbalah, and one of the central themes in this philosophy is the importance of seeking unity. We live in a divided world, and that’s why my current work, Thicker Than Water, focuses on overcoming uncertainty and forging bonds with outsiders. The message I want to communicate in my art is one of unity. I want to teach people that we are all better off in harmony, and the best way I can show this principle is through animation.