We couldn’t sit down with Erick, but he did provided answers to our Q&A about his animated film Heart, his art and his career.
Heart will be screened at the San Diego Asian Film Festival on Oct. 23rd @ 2:30PM. For more information visit the website: SDAFF
1. Have you always been interested in being an animator and what parts of the process are most interesting for you?
Yes, I have to say that I fell in love with animation after watching Disney animated films for the first time when I was barely able to talk. Growing up with animation and then studying art and film, I soon realized the definition of animation is way beyond my understanding. Now I believe animation is definitely one of the strong art forms because it combines a variety of different mediums. What’s interesting is that animation uses the language of film, but also is an extension of the still image in illustration and fine art. This aspect still keeps me excited about using animation to express my story and communicate with the viewers.
2. You are an animator, filmmaker, illustrator, painter and photographer. Are these natural extensions of each other for you or are they separate and distinct forms of creativity?
No matter how it’s expressed, everything is all interconnected and telling one big story. It’s always about documenting my thoughts and feelings on life and the medium is just there to support them. It all depends on how an idea was originally formulated when first coming to mind, for example, sometimes it could have the most impact when it’s described as a still image and sometimes it needs a certain time lapse to be fully explained. In short, I don’t see any boundaries in art form, not just painting or film, but also even in music or literature. Of course, they all require specific different skill sets, but I think it’s pointless to categorize and separate them. At least, that’s how I approach art. Creating something that blurs these boundaries would be my long run goal.
3. Although IMDB only lists your current animated short film “Heart” it is your tenth. Since you have received so many awards for your work readers will want to know if your other films are available to view. Where can people see your animated work?
Some of the films are now online but mostly they can be seen through the film festivals and the gallery shows around the world. I always update the screening schedule and location on my website and blog (www.erickoh.com). Also I’m currently working with a distribution company to put some of my major films on iTunes in order to share them with the broader audience.
4. Tell us what “Heart” is about and where the idea for your film came from.
One day I was watching news about political issues and started asking myself why we are destroying one another. Human history shows that life is full of conflicts and struggle. Heart is an 8 minute animated short containing no dialogue. It tells the story of abstract creatures who battle over a heart which symbolizes various differing values in life such as religion, wealth, love, natural resources and so on. In the end, their mixture of desire and greed over the heart leads to their destruction. However, the end is very open ended because it asks the question, ‘what if we approached things differently’. This film doesn’t contain any answers, instead it’s a huge question directed to everyone .
5. What are your long term goals and upcoming projects (How To Eat Your Apple)?
I’ll always do my best to keep sincerely recording my life and share the inspiration with people. In the end, I’d like to create a certain genre and area where artist and viewers can freely communicate with each other where there isn’t too much concern about the method and mediums. I’m currently working on two distinctly different projects, Pixar’s next feature film Brave (2012) as an animator and How To Eat Your Apple, my next independent short film, only a minute long, which is an extension of my personal experiment in merging film language and fine art and I hope the audience can find something interesting and refreshing. It will premiere via my website by the end of this year as well as displayed in my solo exhibition with my other illustration pieces next May in Los Angeles.