An interview with Chloe Rodham
Chloe Rodham is a stop motion animator based in Newcastle. Chloe first started working with Moving Parts Arts in 2019 when they were picked from a national callout to produce the Stop Motion Animation Commission that year. We were so thrilled to find such a talented and unique animator on our doorstep! For 2021 we brought Chloe back to transform Rachael Horner's 'Tyne Rising' poster into a cinematic stop motion animation. Read on below to find out more...
Laura Firby, our 2021 Events Producer Intern, caught up with Chloe Rodham to find out about her work and her journey into stop motion animation...
Have you always been drawn to animation where did your love for the art form begin?
I’ve always been creative - loving to make and draw - but I started experimenting with animation at school. In graphics I was set a brief to make a film poster but I remember really wanting to make a trailer for it too so I had a go, and from there I was hooked. It was only using a cardboard moth dangling on a piece of thread but it started it all off. I like the way that animation is a combination of all kinds of different art practices. You can use so many techniques to create a story, from drawing to photography and model making.
Where did you learn, train and develop your skills as an animator, what has been your journey?
I went to UCA in Farnham and it was absolutely fantastic. The tutors were so inspiring and it was great to have the chance to make your own films with guidance. I’ve never stopped learning though, with each project I feel like I learn new skills! I went freelance after graduating in 2010. I started teaching animation 5 years ago too - it is great to encourage the next generation of animators.
What work or artist has most inspired you?
It is very hard to pick one work or artist, I’m inspired by lots of things all the time. I remember being very inspired by the first Lloyds TSB ads that broke away from the black horse theme - the characters and world studio created was beautiful and it felt very different to the other ads on TV at the time. I think with animation it is very useful to be inspired by all kinds of different things. I find nature inspiring too, it is very easy to get sucked into spending a lot of time looking at a screen but its so important to get out and about and see how things look and move in reality!
Can you tell us about your process, what is your starting point, what mediums do you like to use, how do you collaborate?
This really depends on what the project is as the workflow always seems to be a little different. Sometimes clients might have a really clear idea in mind and other times I need to experiment a little before coming back with a concept. I work in different styles and techniques of animation - sometimes I’m working digitally in After Effects and with other projects I’m using stop motion techniques, I also like blending the two together. It is great to start making as soon as possible on a project, when you get the materials in your hands and begin crafting it immediately starts bringing it to life even before you animate anything. I’d build a wire armature first to allow the puppet to be positionable before I start building out the body structure. I think making the puppets is my favourite part of the process - you get really attached to them and imagine they have a personality!!
You have created work for Moving Parts: Newcastle Puppetry Festival before as the 2019 Stop Motion Commission holder, how did you find this experience?
I was so excited when I heard I’d been commissioned to create something for the festival. The piece was really great to make because I was able to collaborate with Rachel Horner on the character concepts and Caroline Hardaker on the story concept. Even though we weren’t actually physically working together, each of our ideas fed into the film which I think made it much stronger as a piece than if it was just me working on it. It is always interesting to see your work screened and see how people react to it. It is so great to have a festival like Moving Parts in Newcastle, I’m always pleased to see arts and culture events in the North as London often gets all the limelight but there is plenty of interesting creativity going on all over! Being part of the festival has helped me get more work because I met so many interesting people at the festival. I’ve been able to work on projects since like making a projected backdrop on an opera about women in folklore and I’d love to work on more pieces in the theatrical sector.
'Logo Man Eats The Moon' - Moving Parts Stop Motion Animation Commission 2019
by Chloe Rodham
And this year you created the animation for Tyne Rising, what inspired you in making this piece, are you excited to see the show?
Rachel’s artwork is beautiful so it was lovely to bring this to life. I grew up near Whitley Bay so the coast has always been one of my favourite places to be. While I was working digitally I tried to keep it with a papery feel in the way it was animated so that it didn’t start too far from the original poster. I particularly enjoyed animating the jellyfish swimming along. I think the show is going to be great, which reminds me I still need to get online and get a ticket!!!
'Tyne Rising' animation 2021, artwork by Rachael Horner, animation by Chloe Rodham
Why would you encourage someone to checkout the 2021 festival? I was absolutely delighted when I found out about the festival - I’m so glad I did. More people definitely need to know it exists and I do try to tell as many people as possible! There is something for everyone to get involved with whether you want to learn a new skill or see something a little unusual, it is very accessible. I feel like as an adult our childlike joy of magic is reawakened through puppetry and animation.