Astonishing Animation & Interview with Morgan Gruer

Me and Morgan in Bologna, Italy.

Me and Morgan in Bologna, Italy.

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Morgan studying and sketching the Borghese Gallery in Rome.

Over 91,000 views! 

That’s how many times Morgan’s animated video, Reflections, has been viewed (so far) since it was featured as a Vimeo Staff Pick. I’m so proud of Morgan, a Pratt Institute student and my talented, ambitious daughter.

The Creator’s Project on Vice.com featured Reflections. Nathaniel Ainley had this to say:

The ephemeral nature of love is captured on-screen in a stunning 2D animation built from a collection of 1,100 individual drawings. Reflections is the expressive, impressive abstract short, and it follows a fleeting relationship between a young couple.

As the the video begins to build the girl starts to question whether the man ever existed or if it was all in her head. Her deliberation is expressed through a series of arm swinging interpretive dance accompanied with explosive graphics and patterns.

Reflections was directed, animated, and edited by Morgan Gruer, a multidisciplinary graphic designer and illustrator who’s done work for heavy hitters like Celine Dion and Gatorade.

In this particular film, the Brooklyn-based artist is careful about her use of color, telling the bulk of the story through gray and black lines. Since color is used so sparingly, however, when it appears, it makes that much more of an impact.

Cheryl Eddy of io9 on the website Gizmodo.com titled her article about the video “Lush 2D Animated Film Reflections Examines the Many Stages of Heartbreak.”

Morgan shares thoughts about her work and insights into the process.

BE:  What was the initial inspiration for Reflections?

MG:  I saw the music video for Breakbot’s song “Baby, I’m Yours,” which is composed entirely of watercolors, and wanted to create something like it. Concept-wise, I was reflecting upon all of my past relationships.

BE:  What themes did you have in mind as you worked on your piece?

MG:  One of the main themes is independence; at the end of the animation the main character walks away alone but stronger.

BE:  Can you explain a little about your process? For example, do you plan it all ahead of time or does it develop as you go along?

MG:  I wrote out the story line and asked some friends to write the music for me loosely based on the concept. Even though the story came before the music, I left the musicians room to express my story line. The plot had an overall beginning, middle and end, but I worked out the in-between parts and loose threads while I was working.

BE:  How did you keep track of 1100 separate digital drawings?

MG:  I compiled each digital drawing in the Timeline Tab of Photo Shop, making it easy to label layers and keep track of everything. I established the frame rate ahead of time.

BE:  How long did the project take you from start to finish?

MG:  Reflections took four months from concept to creation, although I was working on it alongside other projects.

BE:  How do you feel about the finished video?

MG:  I am mostly happy with it, but still see things I would have fixed. At some point, you have to call it done because there are always things you could edit. An artist is always her own worst critic and sees things that need tweaking.

BE:  Are you surprised by the attention its gotten?

MG:  It’s great to get positive feedback and nice to receive validation on a project that hadn’t seen the light of day. It’s exciting that other people relate to my work and appreciate its aesthetic.

Hon, if you haven’t watched it yet, here’s another link to Reflections.

 

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