I am autistic and was non-verbal in early childhood, and I used drawing to communicate my thoughts and the world around me. Naturally, this led to my desire to learn the world of art and pursue animation as a career.
For me, animation is a great medium and a language tool to express ideas and stories. My grad film ‘Wawel Dragon’, a stop motion epic based on a classic Polish folktale, is my first adaptation, as I usually create original works. What drew me to adapt this tale was its great story, the fantastic cast of characters, the grand historical and cultural landscape of Kraków, and the wanderlust for magic and adventure that I and perhaps many others were longing for during lockdown. The choice to use stop motion was to capture the gorgeous landscapes with magic realism and puppetry that has been utilised by European countries in their storytelling for centuries, including folktale.
I remembered my trips to Poland melancholically as I planned how to portray the tale faithfully. ‘Wawel Dragon’ is a famous traditional folktale; however, outside of Europe, people are unaware of this timeless tale. I aimed to visually tell the story, with an accompanying original score, to create a universal language that most will understand. The designs were distinct and diverse from each other, almost caricature in nature.
The puppets, sets, special effects, lighting, animating, editing; were all accomplished in my bedroom, which I turned into a studio because of the lockdown. I was lucky that I had the freedom and the support from my friends and family to make this film possible.
‘Regeneration’ is a 2D rostrum mixed media cut-out animation, a technique popularized by Terry Gilliam. The cut-outs capture the photos of famous London buildings, as well as the chaos of a jumbled mess clustered together. It was a dark comedy, satirical look into the practice of gentrifying historic buildings in London, which affects our daily lives from dreadful sound pollution to homelessness and humanity and the environment. I was inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s and Buster Keaton’s visual language and satire that criticise the dehumanisation from commercialism, technology and, in this case, modern architecture. At festivals, the film has been praised for its accurate portrayal of London, the sound design, and the absurdist epic world of buildings with arms and legs.
‘Strange’ is a mixed media short, with hand-drawn 2D digital frame by frame animation with a personal sketchbook aesthetic. It is an autobiographical piece about myself as an autistic person, a light-hearted comedy and a love letter to my friends. Films like Stand By Me, The Goonies, Breakfast Club, and the art style inspired by the Peanuts comics influenced this animation. ‘Strange’ is an award-winning film and currently distributed in places like Toronto and New York.
The showreel demonstrates a variety of animation styles from my completed projects.
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