Bachelor of Design in Animation (Hons), 2016
Designer, Animator and Director
UTS Young Alumni Award 2017
Although animator Jake Duczynski only recently graduated, he has long known about the beautiful synergy between Aboriginal culture and animation in the art of storytelling.
“Both use vivid imagery (paintings), sound (song) and kinetic energy (dance). Animation is the best way to translate and share this culture. One of the biggest changes in the industry is funding for Indigenous projects in an attempt to preserve what little culture remains after years of oppression.”
In the brief period since completing his studies, Jake has already begun to make an indelible impression on the Australian artscape, with his animation commemorating the 25th anniversary of the landmark Mabo High Court decision to be projected onto the outer skin of Sydney’s Maritime Museum this year.
No artist should forget the story or integrity of the art. With so much of our work online, you’re exposed to the best animators in the world – it keeps you humble and hungry.
This follows Jake and his small team at SBS winning the 2016 Walkley Award for Multimedia Storytelling and the award for Best Responsive Website at the SXSW Festival in Texas for their interactive animated Indigenous language app, My Grandmother’s Lingo. This unique animation immerses users in the story of a young Aboriginal woman from Ngukurr in the Northern Territory who is trying to save her native lingo (“Marra”) by learning from the dying elders in her community.
Jake believes interactive stories bridge imagination and reality, appeal to our curiosity, and enable us to share history. He credits the inspiration of his strong, loving family network for motivating him to reach wider audiences. Witnessing many of his relatives overcoming adversity has encouraged Jake to tell real life stories that provoke thought. Jake sees the challenges inherent in this, particularly in an animation industry that gives primacy to commerce over art.
“Like in many other fields, time is money – and so often production quality suffers because of this. There are plenty of animators and companies that are happy to churn out imitated garbage. They cash grab and forget about the story they’re telling or the integrity of the art itself.”
Animation is built on honesty, he explains. “No artist should forget about the story they’re telling or integrity of the art. With so much of our work online, you’re exposed to the best animators in the world – it keeps you humble and hungry.”
He thanks Deborah Szapiro, UTS lecturer and animator, for encouraging him to use animation to open minds, to be bold, and to understand there is no success in half measures.
“I’m eternally grateful to the animation tutors at UTS. They’re a mob who grew up respecting the traditional art form and the grind it takes to succeed. It’s what the course is built on, and why it’s breeding successful animators.”