Hanky Panky Cakey

title_dirtythirty

What we have here is literal food porn.

When a friend of mine requests a cake that looks like a 70’s glittery leopard shagpile rug for her 30th birthday, that is what they will darn-well get. My superpal Hazel did exactly this, and my other superpal Sarah and I rose to the occasion, delving into the unknown world of fondant to craft this dream into a reality.

We also thought it appropriate to add a scantily clad woman into the mix in the spirit of dirty thirty.

Quit yer lion!

cheetah

Did you say “GIMME MORE STOP MOTION ANIMATION, POR FAVOR!”?

Can do.

Tropfest, the largest short film festival in le worlde is holding a 6-second #tropvine competition prior to opening for entries for the real deal… and there’s $5k on the line.

Yes please.

After the wild success* of the Winning Formula title sequence which saw Klaus and I become professional** stop motion animators, I thought I should give the method another crack. We found an appropriate dad joke, I printed and cut out a bunch of animals, took a ton of photos, recorded Klaus and myself doing the dialogue then edited it down and… Voila!

If you’d like to see an HD version of the video, click here.

* We really liked it.

** Yeah, you heard. Professional.

UPDATE: My Vine has been honoured as a part of the [official selection] for the #tropvine festival (aka the worlds shortest short film festival!) Woohoo! See all you legends at the festival this coming Wednesday 12 August in Potts point!

UPDATE UPDATE: YOU GUYS, I WON!?

Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

moon_meets_mountains

When Klaus and I were being dragged along like a bag of oranges behind a speedboat (?) by Sydney rental market search we had embarked upon, we decided to get into some zen activities to balance ourselves out.

So we painted.

But first, we built our canvas out of timber, then blackwashed it…. then we painted. Then glued and added some of that gloriously floaty GOLD LEAF (like the classy bastards that we are), then varnished it all.

We reckon it’s a picture of the moon.

We did finally find a place (thanks for asking), and as it’s a rental, we can’t put any holes in the wall. So it sits on the mantlepiece, which turns out to be more trendy than hanging it up anyway. So what I’m trying to tell you, is that we are somewhat on point in this instance.

Check out le processé:

You may have noticed this piece in the most recent fVogue “It Girl” video with Andrea Andrësen

Nice Rack

IMG_7955b

While Klaus and I searched for our castle on the northern beaches of Sydney, we knew that there was one piece of furniture that was required above all else … A surfboard rack. (as we were being given a spectacular array of hand-me-downs of pretty much every other thing you need in a house – thanks fam)

So when we finally did lock down our bitchin’ beachside haven, our first stop was the hardware store, then straight back to my mum’s place to rip the bandsaw, drill press and various other power tools.

What a waste of a gloriously big and flat timber surface, I thought. So I chucked a painting on it, inspired by Klaus’ favourite mural in San Francisco which I reckon speaks the language of the ocean. Great to have a bit o’ Bay Area memorabilia supporting the shred sticks.

I used acrylic paints for the colour, then chucked a gloss over it, then drew the outlines with a dark brown acrylic paint pen (that Kramer gave me for my birthday – thanks pal) and left it matte for a bit of texture. Froth city.

Stop Motion Potion for an Animation Sensation!

claudia_pickering_pru_vindin_winning_formula_bear

In an interesting turn of events, I will have my first two feature length films completed within two weeks of each other… Although they were shot twenty months apart.

If the first film, “Winning Formula” (writer/producer) were a human, it would be in preschool by now. Probably painting macaroni necklaces, collecting cicada shells to stick in other children’s hair and singing the Good Ship Lollipop while masterfully tapping its foot to the teachers’ amusement. Or not. But probably – because there’s a ton of me emotionally jammed into that film in every aspect and I really did love those damn cicada shells with their clingy little claws and shiny little bulb eyes as a kid. The second film, “Frisky” (writer/director/producer) would know virtually nothing beyond the realm of it’s own mother’s bosom.

But hey, Winning Formula‘s pretty decent. Well decent in its quality, with a smattering of indecency in its content. (wiggle wiggle wiggle)

One of the many notches in my belt was punched by the series of animators brought onboard to tackle the title sequence and graphics throughout the film. I seemed to have a knack for hiring people with an ability to vanish. Slippery little suckers.

So after my third attempt at desperately shackling one down like a dateless sixteen year old on the eve of the year ten formal (that’s prom, America), I realised that none had really nailed the aesthetic we were looking for anyway.

In December of 2014, as I had just cast Frisky to be shot less than a month later, I decided once more to take the proverbial bull by the horns or balls or wherever one grabs a bull to seize control over its unpredictable nature. I was going to make a stop motion animation.

Fortunately, while I was back in Australia in October, Pru and I had filmed each other acting out the Winning Formula Title Sequence Script against a green screen (AKA a piece of green fabric my mum plans to sew into a dress that we pinned to the curtains in my mum’s bedroom), just in case the animator needed the reference images, which is what I used to create the polaroids. It’s all about looking after your future self, even if you don’t directly mean to.

There we were, Klaus and I, a couple of days before Christmas, at his parents’ house in Ohio, with no animation experience, just giving it a red hot crack. I had photoshopped some polaroids of the two protagonists, Liz and Tilda, marauding across the United States and ordered a few maps off Amazon. So between 9pm and 1am, with a giant block of styrofoam, an old cork board, a tripod (that we returned to Walmart the next day), some map pins and a brief discussion, we did it.

Our night sounded like this: “Hold. Click. Move. Hold. Click. Move.”, and looked a lot like this:

IMG_7371

But by sundown the next day, the spoils of our evening efforts and my hasty editing looked like this:

Massive thank you to The Greencarts for their legendary track, “Ride or Die”.

Stay tuned for the Winning Formula trailer – we had our special advanced screening in Los Angeles last night! And keep ’em peeled for more info on Frisky – to be screened in a couple of weeks in San Francisco! YEW!

Great Willy Wonka Wall of China Town

IMG_5457a

Just on the edge of China Town in San Fantastic-rancisco is a tech co-op space called The Vault. It’s underground, it’s full of computer-bound entrepreneurs, and it’s on the old site of the famous Ghirardelli chocolate factory (circa 1863). That’s right, this one’s an antique.

As nobody in the space seemed to have the foggiest idea of the place’s historical significance, the community manager (SO MANY STARTUP WORDS) decided an old advertisement for the chocolate factory would be the perfect fit for the reception area’s mural. Only problem was that I’d never actually done any text on a mural – ever… And as this was more of a ‘replicate and exaggerate’ sort of job, I needed to be a little more planned/precise/particular about how I would get this thing up on a wall, rather than just freestyling it as I usually do. It was also to be on a grey wall and using only black paint, unlike my standard bright colours – so I managed to pull the ‘artist’ card and bargain a bit of gold into the equation too.

The whole thing was rather a trendy sounding idea.

So I did a bit of photoshop work to see how it could be placed, fused the advertisement with some doodles from an old Ghirardelli sign that I liked, projected it on the wall, slapped some masking tape on the straight line edges, and got hectic with the black paint. When I say hectic, I mean as precise as possible. (Neck pain for days. I’m fine now though, thanks Klaus for the amateur chiropractic work.)

I did have to take some liberties with the text as the blocky resolution of the projector proved to be only adequate for a rough guide. Anyway, once it was all done, I had intended on gold leafing just the shadow of the heading (as planned, and shown in red on the projection). Needless to say, that freestyling side of me came out in the eleventh hour, and significantly more gold leaf ended up getting chucked on the wall. Which I’m stoked about, because not only does gold leaf look like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, it is also just basically extremely epic.

I have been breathing out gold leaf dust flecks ever since, like a mythical creature. Note to future users of gold leaf: probably wear a respiratory filter unless you plan to attend some sort of dungeons and dragons convention every day for the rest of your life.

Puppetry Portraits

Image

In my life, I have managed to surround myself with a group of exceptionally great-looking people. How they all ended up so impressively disfigured when I attempted to recreate them as puppets is beyond me and honestly an art in itself.

The intriguing part is that Katie, my pal with whom I crafted these magnificently ugly creations, is a skilled beautician and makeup artist and does in fact professionally make people look better than they usually would. Turns out felting and feather-work is a whole other can of worms.

Yep. We made finger puppets for our pals this Chrissy and good heavens they were a hit. Complete with a little bell on each one to keep things sounding festive when they were inevitably jiggled about.

(It should be noted that I had written several ‘finger’ gags in this post that I have tastefully edited out for the benefit of my family. I am partially saddened by this but proud to be displaying such self-restraint.)

La Collection...