Associate Professor Damian Gascoigne is a digital technology academic and an award-winning animation director, installation artist and illustrator. He is course director for the new Bachelor of Design Animation degree at UTS.
Previously he was senior lecturer in Animation on the BA Illustration & Animation degree at Kingston University in London. Damian recently completed a Master in Animation at Kingston University, which focused on the development of hybrid visual languages for 3D Animation.
His films fuse hand-drawn animation with 2D and 3D digital technology to create a uniquely personal aesthetic. His work explores themes around the real and fictitious relationships that we build, the complexity of our interactions, and the way these bump against the promise of the modern world.
His professional career spans more than 20 years, and his award-winning work is exhibited in galleries and animation festivals around the world. Over this time he has created a significant body of short films, commercials, and animation installations for gallery spaces.
Gascoigne, D. 2013, 'Casino Royale', Illustrator.
Damian Gascoigne 114682 2013002465 CASINO ROYALE August 2013 J1 CASINO ROYALE is a series of forty black and white line illustrations commissioned by Random House Publishing UK for the 60th Anniversary edition of Ian Flemings first Bond novel, Casino Royale. The minimal, hand drawn illustrations produced for this prestigious commission are extensions of explorations around image making in my own practice. Research themes around the reduction of visual information and gestural mark making underpin the creative outcome. The aim of this work is to communicate the continuing importance of the simple and stripped back image, and to highlight the enduring relevance of drawing in the digital age. This work sits within a strong tradition of black and white line illustration in the UK, which developed through Punch magazine with artists such as George Cruikshank and John Tenniel and continues today through illustrators such as Quentin Blake and Ralph Steadman. There has been a recent resurgence of interest in drawing though organisations such as the Drawing Centre in New York and the Drawing Room in London. These bodies actively support the practice of drawing as an essential creative activity, and work to curate and represent drawing within contemporary visual practice. This project contributes to research around the continued relevance of hand drawing in the digital age. The rise of digital technology has challenged artists to think again about why they use traditional materials. The temptations of digital perfection have led my current practice in a counter direction, in which I am exploring the possibilities of the loosely controlled mark. I work with brush and rice paper which encourages this process, echoing the use of gesture and speed within Asian calligraphy, and its emphasis on the decisive stroke. This prestigious commission resulted in the production of a limited edition book, made in collaboration between Random House Vintage Classics and Bentley M...
Animation commission for projection mapping onto Maritime Museum rooftop. Commemorating 400 year anniversary of Dirk Hartog landing in Western Australia
In August 2011 I was commissioned by Bang Said the Gun poetry collective and Channel Four Television to create an animation based on the poem Parable by Kate Tempest. The resulting short film was broadcast as part of the Channel 4 Random Acts arts strand on August 22nd 2011. Parable was subsequently added to the Random Acts website, where it went on to become the second most viewed film of the 260 originally commissioned pieces. The hand drawn animation for Parable explored conventions in aesthetics for animation, deliberately referencing cute cartoon characters, and then subverting audience expectations by imbuing these archetypes with sinister purpose. The final animation was intercut with footage of Kate Tempest performing Parable live at a popular poetry event, as she railed against the nihilistic consumerism of modern life in England. This work was designed to echo the anarchic spirit and stylised movement of the early black and white animations produced by the Fleischer Studios in New York between 1921-1942. In cartoons such as Betty Boop and Popeye Fleischer explored adult themes with adult characters before the Hays Code in 1934 stripped them of much of their power. This piece sits within a wider research question for me, which relates to ways in which hand drawn and digital animation work together. My current practice is involved in finding ways to challenge the geometric, perfection-oriented digital environment. The production process for the animation comprised of sequences of action made without using traditional methods of registration. This meant that characters did not stay in one place, or remain the same size and shape. The resulting shift of positions and volumes was employed intentionally to add a raw and unpredictable quality to the work. By abandoning a level of control in my animation and then feeding this material into the computer I am actively disputing the way in which digital software dictates forms of movement.
Women in Black is a an animated title sequence for a BBC 2 documentary series which explores the role of the `Abaya or veil in contemporary Muslim societies. I was commissioned to produce a 30 second animation illustrating the journey of UK born, Yemeni presenter Amani Zain as she travelled the world investigating customs and traditions relating to Islamic dress codes for women. This hand drawn digital animation piece emerged from my commercial animation practice at Picasso Pictures in London, and focused on the use of animated transformations to create a constantly moving tableau. The use of metamorphosis has a long history in drawn animation, exploiting the `frame by frame nature of the drawn sequences, a process that allows for considerable latitude in visual continuity. The design research process for this piece was driven by the content of the documentaries, with their portrayal of ordinary womens lives in Muslim countries. This material was rich in detail and subtle difference and allowed me to develop a number of linked visual themes through the sequence. This project contributes to research around animation as an appropriate medium for discussing complex social issues. Recent animations such as `Dance with Bashir and `Persepolis have applied a new perspective to Middle Eastern documentary subjects, drawing new audiences into debates around history and culture. The significance of this research is that it furthers discussion around cultural identity and choice for women in Islamic societies. The title sequence animation was the first point of entry to the documentary series, as such it had to both encapsulate ideas and engage the audience, representing the key themes of identity and diversity for women in Islamic societies.
Damian Gascoigne 114682 2013002473 SWEET AIR/STILL FAST August 2013 J1 SWEET AIR, exhibition of line drawings, (NG pop up Gallery, Chippendale, Sydney) August 22 to September 13 2013. This exhibition was comprised of a selection of 150 line drawings. These images form part of a larger series of 400 themed drawings covering a period of four years from 2010-2013. These loosely connected images acted as an oblique visual diary in which events and ideas were documented and worked through as they emerged. The work comprises of black and white line drawings on paper, with key visual motifs and icons developed through multiple iterations. The overarching theme in my current practice is the development of a personal visual lexicon; playful pictographic symbols to represent both ordinary and life-changing experiences. The use of line, pattern and hatching relates to the draughtsmanship of artists such as Saul Steinberg and Paul Klee. Steinbergs use of repetition in architectural detail and characters is referenced here, as is Klees use of systematic drawing to suggest grids, staves and graphic spaces. The black and white line drawing sits within a long British tradition, stretching from William Hogarth, through Thomas Rowlandson and James Gillray, to Ralph Steadman, Quentin Blake and Gerald Scarfe, in which the pared down image and gestural line are key considerations. In contemporary art the work also references the notation of the mundane and the everyday in the line drawings of Tracey Emin, Henrick Drescher and David Shrigley. The series of works aim to address questions relating to drawing as a form of communication, and also as a physical, tactile process. The work explores ideas around cumulative communication- asking whether multiple versions of the same drawing can tell us more about a subject than one single image. The work also plays with notions around what constitutes good drawing, subverting accuracy and realistic representation, and exploring mess and m...
Muso Soup is a short animation film, which combines hand drawing and 3D computer animation. The work represented a significant change of direction in my practice, moving away from traditional hand drawn animation and working with 3D software. Muso Soup premiered at the Bristol Encounters Animation Festival in 2011, nominated in the Best Short Film category, and has subsequently been shown in competition at the Stuttgart Animation Festival 2012, Prix Ars Electronica 2012 in Taiwan and at the Sydney International Animation festival. Muso Soup builds upon more than twenty years of experience as a 2D animation director. The research questions addressed in this project relate to the development of hybrid aesthetics for 3D animation. Computer animation is still a relatively new discipline, starting with John Lasseters The Adventures of Andre and Wally B in 1984. The prescribed look and movement of much computer animation reflects a visual culture in which design has primarily been dictated by the software, and it is this default digital aesthetic that I have sought to challenge with this film. This research contributes to the discussion around developing new aesthetics for computer animation. Muso Soup sits alongside the work of practitioners such as David OReilly, Chris Landreth and Wendy Tilby, artists who are engaged in exploring alternative visual and movement languages for computer animation. Their work shares common themes around challenging the `perfection tendency in digital animation, the search for accidents and mistakes, and the evidence of the hand made mark. This character animation piece has opened up rich new territory for my practice. Insights gained during this process have led to the instigation of a project based PhD, to further research into relationships between drawing and digital practice. This is still relatively new territory for practice based research, as computer animation has tended to displace drawn animation over recent years, and ...
Gascoigne, D & Peter Hollo, 'Four Shore', Superlux, Customs House.
Animation installation projection mapped onto the spiral staircase at Customs House Sydney.