Interview with Jessie Brugger
Jessie Brugger is a multimedia artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BFA from Concordia University in Montreal in 2002 and her MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2010. She works in painting, drawing, sculpture, and stop-motion animation. Her short film “The Stained Glass Window” was recently awarded “Best In Animation” at the New York International Film Festival.
(Hyperallergic review: http://hyperallergic.com/90698/3-critics-pick-their-favorites-at-bushwicks-beat-nite/ )
Jessie, you work in a variety of mediums– painting, drawing, sculpting, and animation. Is there one that you primarily ‘identify’ with or started off with?
I have always identified myself as a painter. I started painting at a young age, as I fell in Love with Van Gogh and his use of color. Each medium I use I realize that I approach it as a painting. I sometimes think of my videos as time based paintings. I try to use the elements of paintings for video…composition, color, content, line. I do also though like the idea of not being tied to any medium, but primarily having a concept, and then choosing which medium would suit that concept best.
How did you get started in animation? Did you learn it in school or independently?
I graduated from the New York Academy of Art as a Painter. I started making maquettes to try and understand space two dimensionally. I then fell in love with making the maquettes. When I graduated from my Masters I didn’t have a studio, so I started to teach myself stop animation from tutorials online. I love the process of stop animation. I first started animating inanimate objects that I had made for my maquettes, then got into drawing stop motion animation. The idea of moving a still image excited me; there are no limits to what you can do with stop motion animation. I also liked that the process was very simple (very time consuming and intense) but a simple process.
How did your blog “One Minute Bee” come about? Posting 3 one-minute animations every week is very ambitious– has it become a part of your everyday studio practice/ritual? Is it a form of self-discipline?
I had a critique with a curator for an art gallery and the studio visit went very badly. Not because of my work, but because I was very unsure of how to talk about my work. I was having a hard day and I critiqued my work so badly in front of this man that I was so upset with myself after he left. I went home and decided I needed a strict schedule to follow in order to focus my direction, to create a challenge for myself that I would have to follow, and it wouldn’t matter if anyone liked it, but I was going to make sure I did it. It was very difficult. I did it for about two months and then I heard about the show that I just put up and realized I needed to focus my attention to making that successful, so I gave the One Minute Bee a break. I hope to pick up the momentum again next week and get it going again. That’s my plan. I think that being a track runner my whole life was a good way to set up a daily routine for my goals, and I am anxious to get back to a routine and the discipline of creating something different every day.
Your work shows in film festivals as well as gallery settings. What is the difference between showing work in both arenas? Are galleries open or resistant to showing animation work?
That’s a good question. I am learning that right now. I have shown at film festivals and I believe the gallery world is excited and happy about the different world, but I do believe they are very different. I enjoy the difference though. I would like to be successful in both, and hope to be. I Love crossing worlds, and I Love collaborating with people in each world, as well as crossing over to the music and dance world. There are too many creative and extremely talented people around me not to want to collaborate with them. I love that the film world has allowed me to do that more than the gallery world. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen in the gallery world, it’s just that I have not found how to make it happen for me, yet.
“Technical/geeky” questions now— what camera and editing software do you use? How long does a typical animation (photographing, editing) take to complete?
I use my g-11 Canon. I use Boinx i stop motion. I sometimes put things through after affects and I use final cut pro to finish editing the videos. Animations take anywhere from a day (one minute bee..sometimes) to a year.. I work on maquettes all the time, and change them around..so the videos change too. I have been working on a music video for a guy that I have remade about 10 times and it’s still not done…maybe it will never be, but I continue to work on it because I learn so much and Love the song.
You can see more of Jessie’s work on her website, www.jessiebrugger.net