LeftLion – Em Green talks about this fabric world
Hi Em! You won a Young Creative Award in 2020 for Animation and Digital Media. Can you tell us about your project?
Sure! I won the award for a one-minute animated short titled This world of fabric, which I created in my final year of my BA in Graphic Design at NTU. This was initially in response to a brief set of the RSA Student Design Awards, which offered students a selection of speeches and asked them to put together a film to go along with it. I chose a speech that focused on fast fashion and its impact on the planet. I wanted to create a story that would evoke emotion in the audience and illustrate the message of the speech, so I came up with the concept of a fabric world inhabited by fabric people. They use the fabric of the earth to create their clothing by literally cutting the ground. I felt this would be a great metaphor to represent our use of materials and resources to create our clothes in the real world.
I wanted the movie to have a really tactile feel, so I decided to use digital scans of fabric textures to create the characters, and an actual fabric quilt for the environment, which I sewed myself .
Since then, you got a job at Tinmouse Animation Studio. What’s it like to work in the animation industry?
Awesome! I love my job and the fact that I work for a studio with such a focus on the environment and social good. I’m really proud of where I work and that’s something I want to point out to anyone reading this. Of course, entering the industry can be tough due to fierce competition, but once you’ve gotten your foot in the door, don’t be afraid to try a few different places to find what works best for you. . I’ve worked in both a marketing agency and animation studios so far, and found that I personally prefer animation studios because of the inspiration I get from my fellow animators and the types of projects we work on.
I feel really lucky to be a professional animator and to be in the industry that I have dreamed of for years. It certainly hasn’t been a perfectly linear path – my first job after college was actually as a production assistant, albeit still in an animation studio; things like that are really useful for gaining experience in the environment while you develop your skills in your spare time.
For readers who may not know, can you describe your style? And what inspires him?
I don’t think I have a style of acting per se, but it’s something I’m proud of, and something that I think is incredibly important in the animation industry because you’ll often be asked to animate something that already exists or that someone on your team has designed.
I love trying different styles to see what I like. I recently explored the 1930s rubber animation style in my spare time, which was a lot of fun (I was very inspired by the Cuphead video game and animators such as Tony Babel), but now I would like to try something a little different . I tend to go back to 2D pieces, textual and mixed-media approaches, and character-driven work, because that’s where I started from. I love creating collage-like pieces or just giving things a bit of noise and grit whenever I can. I’m not the biggest fan of super clean stuff, I like a bit of jitter and gradients here and there.
A big telltale sign that a work is mine is if it includes inanimate objects with eyes, I seem to do it a lot!
I came up with a concept of a fabric world inhabited by fabric people. They use the fabric of the earth to create their clothing by literally cutting the ground. I felt this would be a great metaphor to represent our use of materials and resources to create our clothes in the real world.
I love your use of color. What do you love about creating such bright pieces?
I love the color! Although sometimes monotonous pieces can be beautiful, I tend to use a lot of bright colors in my work because I think they attract people more and make things more attractive. As a generally happy and optimistic person, I like to use color to convey happiness and excitement in my work, as long as the subject allows. A lot of my work is character-based, and color can say a lot about a character’s personality, so it’s useful when creating shorter pieces where world-building isn’t really an option. I also feel like as I work in a digital space where everything I do ends up on a screen, there are no real limits to the colors you can use like in print, so why not take advantage of it?
When did you first fall in love with this medium?
I’ve always been a huge consumer of animation, like most people; as a kid, i loved cartoons like Spongebob and when I was a teenager, I loved Japanese anime, but I was totally convinced that I would be a graphic designer until the end of my freshman year in college. As part of one of the last projects of the year, we were asked to create a short animation as a group, with a prompt of 3 or 4 words on a theme such as the weather. Until now, I had never created an animation before, but I immediately loved the project. We used one of our kitchens as a backdrop and created a stop motion piece centered around an egg struggling with its sanity. . Looking back on it now, the end product was a bit raw and ready, but that’s where I really found my passion for the medium.
After that, I incorporated animation into most college projects until my third year when I could choose the projects I wanted for my final portfolio. That’s when I gave it my all and got stuck in After Effects and other digital animation methods – that’s what I do now, all day, every day!
What are you expecting for the future? Is there anything we should watch out for?
I’m really looking forward to further honing my skills and getting more into the creative and animation direction (eventually!). The environment I find myself in right now is so supportive; I really feel like I have the time and space to explore new ways of doing things and I’m very well guided by my creative director, Tom. I also look forward to doing more with NTU; speaking at guest lectures, helping with portfolio reviews, and mentoring a few students through the Rise program. I really want to give back and help others get into the industry and find their passion, especially if it’s in animation.
As for upcoming work, most of what I do will be done through Tinmouse so you can see what I’m doing on their website and social media – I’m currently working on an animation for our new initiative called The Good Hour is all about using a little time each month to come up with ideas on how to be more eco-friendly, so watch out for that coming soon. I’m also getting into freelancing, but can’t share any details about that at this time, sorry!
And finally, the Young Creative Awards 2022 are now open. What would you say to anyone considering entering?
Do it! You could get great opportunities directly by winning an award or participating – like a placement, an interview, or invitations to speak at events like I did recently. There are, however, many other indirect benefits. Awards are a great topic to talk about in job interviews, but they also give you great confidence that what you’re doing is great because a lot of people think that too. Even if you don’t win, you can still get your name out there, and it would help you get used to getting feedback on your work and spreading it out in the real world rather than just on social media.
You can find This Fabric World on Em’s website. You can also email Em at [email protected] if you have any questions about the industry..