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David Crump

David Crump

David Crump is a stop motion animation artist currently studying at the Royal College of Art.

His work is bold, honest and incredibly moving. We are happy to share some words and thoughts with you, but first you can watch his trailer for his RCA film ‘Wait in the Dark’.

Wait in the Dark (trailer)

RF: Hey Dave! Thanks for sharing your work with us 🙂 I think I speak for everyone when I say your work is incredibly brave, powerful and moving. I feel it would be good to discuss a bit about your process but maybe we could start with what led you to move into animation. Your work is very honest and open, how do you begin the creative process of choosing what to share with your audience.

Dave: The subjects I have explored so far have been close to my heart and have been about personal experiences, everything feels close and invasive to the viewer because the method and textures seem revealing and exposing, characters have often been naked, or torn away parts of them self literally. I try and weave a close line between what I let out and what I hold back, I think its best that way. If things were too specific or even more personal it may just have an opposite effect to the overall feeling and mood I’m trying to create.

Subject matters for my work are always driven by the textures and methods of animation, and will try new things to push the subject and emotional visceral feelings forward, to create a personal and intimate space. I’m still learning and make lots of mistakes all the time, so it’s a process to learn what fits right with each type of emotion and subject. 

RF: Do you make your films with the intention to be watched, or is it more the process of self expression that drives you.

Dave: I really feel the process of making films is very important too, it’s a way of dealing with my anxiety, and finding the method of stop motion was a process that unexpectedly helped calm me down when I was going through a really tough time in my life, the stop start quality and performative element to it is like a mantra over and over again you say it till it builds up into this piece of moving image.

I do make films with the intention of them being watched, but more of an intention for a sensation and a experience than a complete narrative structure with a start middle and end.  So it’s okay to dip in an out it, I just want people to feel something.

RF: Are there any artists, images or short films that have inspired you throughout the last few years?

Dave: I can’t say I’m the best with looking at animated work for inspiration, cause I often get intimidated and it scares me,  I get inspired about what animation can do its amazing!! The method of animation is very inspiring, and it saved me from a lot of anxiety so that in its self really helps keeps me motivated and inspired.

I get inspired by paint, and pastels, and textured pencil drawings, I always want to replicate these kind o textures in clay and stop motion. I want to create that kind of space, that like the surface of a canvas, or an old piece of paper with someone’s first experience with the whole spectrum of colourful oil pastels, or chalk. 

I get inspired by painters, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Jenny Saville, they all creep in and out of my work, and tap in and out in one way or another.

RF: You created several animated shorts whilst at the RCA, it would be great if you could give us a brief overview of them

Dave: This is a tough question, I guess I only feel Contortions is really complete


Dave: Contortions is the lip sync exercise I did at RCA, it turned into a bit of a beast due to just seeing everyone else’s fantastic work in this new environment in the first year and wanting to use all the facilities, and wanting to use stop motion which was not really what people were expecting for a lip sync task. I wanted it to be very influenced by Francis Bacon and the way he uses paint. I had thought of using his voice and I can’t believe I didn’t, but I’m not sure if we had the copyright, and I didn’t want it to be so on the nose as that, I was going to use one of his figures from his paintings directly but decided against, it, and just took the long neck that the figure had instead. Like most things with my work it began with a character and a face. Once I had found the audio, by Jonathan Blake, the word contortions stood out to me and it all went from there, it was done all straight ahead animation not much planning on what I was goanna do next I just went with how I felt on each day, and hoped for the best.

RF: Thanks a lot for your time Dave! Look forward to seeing you after all this madness is over 🙂