Category Archives: visiting artist

Visiting Parsons

photo by @angelafanche

On Nov 5th (Thurs), I was invited to give an artist talk for the juniors who are taking 3D Core Lab course in the illustration department at Parsons New School for Design.

It was a treat to meet Liz Lomax who is one of the 3D core Lab course. Back in 2004, when I was a student at Parsons, she was teaching an elective, “3D illustration” course. The year I could have taken her class, Liz decided to take some time off from teaching due to her successful freelance career. Of course I was sad but she gave me some tips in photographing and which light kit to purchase, which I did a few years later and used a good chunk of 8 years.
After my talk, another instructor, David Bell showed me his dark, creepy, meticulous stop-motion film he’s been working on for some years, which totally inspired me.
My mentor, Wendy Popp also stopped by and it was so nice to see her after 5 years or so.

Somehow 10 years passed by since I graduated. I think Ru-from-2005 will be happy where I am at now, and I hope I will continue to experiment and explore for the next 10 years.

Thanks to Caty Bartholomew for inviting me back again. Parsons Illustration students are truly lucky to have all these teachers who are not only awesome educators, but also amazing artists.

Savannah Film Festival

photo by Marisa Ginger Tontaveetong

We attended Savannah Film Festival in Georgia USA for 2 days!
I can say that they treat filmmakers really well, with 3 meals & reception party every day.
The audience had a good energy with lots of students from Savannah College of Art & Design.
We also had a quick tour at SCAD’s animation department which blew our minds with their resources and equipments.

As I am unpacking my suitcase from Savannah, I started packing another bag to head up to NYC tomorrow. Oct/Nov is passing by so quick.

Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia in Tokyo JAPAN

Photo by Joseph Hsu
Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia in Tokyo, Japan just ended on Monday with a very glamorous award ceremony. Perhaps as gorgeous as Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Screening in Yokohama. Photo by Hiro Kuwahata

Ru walking down the red carpet glowing in pure white.

We wanted to take a picture with a travel mascot, Tabi-Mojya but a bit too shy so we’re a bit off.

Lunch Time Talk @MICA MFA Illustration

Over the weekend was an intensive animation workshop with the MFA Illustration students at Maryland Institute College of Art.
Monday was a full day of crit. (Although most students were half sleeping due to staying up all night animating. Sorry.)
In middle of that was a lunch time lecture in the Lazarus auditorium.

One of the talented students, Shreyas Krishnan made a lovely drawing of me. HOW NICE! I always draw people but I don’t get many people drawing me, so that made me extremely happy.

MFA Illustration was tweeting during the lecture and I only read them at 7pm, after I went home and did some work. Made me think…maybe it’s about time for me to get a smart phone so I can interact in “real time”.

RISD visit

Last week, we visited Rhode Island School of Design’s Film/Video/Animation department. Met with some seniors who are making interesting films, which were very inspiring. Later on, we gave a presentation to the animation seniors.

As shown in the Pickle Jar comic below, I did get stopped at the airport for carrying some clay, but it was quite an inspiring visit.
Amy Kravitz & Steven Subotnick are like our animation parents. They bring us to the starting point and enlighten us with wisdoms.

I gave a camera to Max, asking him to document our visit at RISD.
These are the pictures he took… which I am not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with them!?

Anibar @ Kosovo

ANIBAR animation festival in Peja, Kosovo, invited us to lead a 2 day workshop and give an artist presentation.

To be honest, I didn’t know much about Kosovo. I remember all the horrible news from the late 90s, but I didn’t know much. First, we had to look it up the map then googled Kosovo history. The war ended only 15 years ago- that’s so recent! How does a country (republic) that was destroyed so badly, recover in such a short time?
A car ride from Skopje, Macedonia into Peja, Kosovo explained that really well. Some areas had lots of grave stones, some areas were under construction and yet in other places, it felt like a thriving city. Apparently 75% of the population is under 25 years old. That means anyone around my age and above had fought in the war. This is something too difficult for me to imagine.

Geographically, Kosovo isn’t THAT far away. (My usual travel is from US to Japan is 14hours so anything within is not THAT far away.) But it’s difficult to get there, so we had many connecting flights.
A car ride from Baltimore —-> Washington D.C
A flight from Washington D.C —-> New York (JFK airport)
A flight from New York —-> Viena, Austria
A flight from Viena, Austria —-> Skopje, Macedonia
A car ride from Skopje, Macedonia —-> Peja, Kosovo

The two organizers of the festival are very young. Rron and Vullnet started the festival when they were 17-18 years old. Now it’s their 5th edition. Remembering how I was at 17 year old, I can only be impressed by their “go-get-it” attitude.
Albanians are warm and welcoming. With their open arms, we quickly felt comfortable with the Anibar family and all the guests. Trips to a local monastery, a hike to the mountains and dinners that festival organized helped us become very friendly to each other.

Visit to a Serbian Orthodox Monastery.

Monastery of the Patriarchate

Some of the guests.
Max, Jani Zhonda (Greece / Albania) , Yann Jouette (France), Izabela Plucinska , me, Jani’s lovely wife.
Igor Prassel from Animateka (Slovenia), Eva Pavlovicova from Fest Anca (Slovakia), Ana Nedeljkovic (Slovenia), Nancy Phelps (USA/Belgium), Olga Bobrowska Michal Bobrowski from StopTrick Festival (Poland).

Visit to the Mountains

Martinus & Julia from Estonia enjoying the warm weather.

Visit to the Market

Albanians LOVE weddings. The hotel we were staying at, hosted at least 2 weddings every night. Even in the open-air market, we saw a lot of traditional and modern wedding dresses.
Some were traditional with modern touch, like this one.

Ok, let’s zoom in.

The festival had an open call a few weeks before the workshop. We had good amount of people interested in the workshop but sadly we had to shrink it down to 15 people. In 2 days, groups of 3-4 participants developed trailer ideas for the 6th edition of Anibar. There’s no animation school in Kosovo so the participants who had experiences in animation were self-taught. There was so much we wanted to cover, but 6 hours is not a lot of time.

We started with some ice-breaker games.

photo by Shqipe

We acted using archetypes and then did some improv to get into characters, consider clarity / silhouette and think about story-telling.

After some physical exercises, we showed some sample festival trailers and started working!

A review half way through the workshop.

Participants worked until the last minute.

photo by Anibar

We had the festival organizers join the presentation. They were happy with all of them. We’re hoping we can do another workshop to produce the trailer for Anibar 6th.

Here’s my favorite drawing. One of the participants, Nol, explained to me about borders around Kosovo. We draw a map of Yugoslavia then drew what Serbia wanted, Albania wanted, Greece wanted. Then what the actual border became today.
I think it explains a lot about this area.

Our return trip was exactly 49 hours long.
A car ride from Peja, Kosovo —->Skopje, Macedonia
A flight Skopje, Macedonia —-> Ljubljana, Slovenia (12 hours layover so we explored the city, thanks to Igor!)
A flight from Ljubljana, Slovenia —-> Munich, Germany (14 hours layover so we slept in a hotel)
A flight from Munich, Germany —-> Washington D.C
A car ride in rush hour from Washington D.C to Baltimore

Thank you Anibar! We had a great time!
I highly recommend all animation filmmakers to submit your films and visit.

Slovenia blog post & Comic coming soon :)