Phantasmagoria is an exploration of serigraph prints that exceed the confines of a 2-dimensional plane. My childhood interests of art, cinema, and optical illusions resurfaced to create a series of six interactive, animated prints that come to life with the help of the viewer’s touch. The combination of art as a form of entertainment and spectacle is an important quality of my work that is deeply inspired by pre-cinematic history; namely optical and “persistence of vision” toys. Though these toys are not normally considered forms of fine art, they are completely relevant in the world of printmaking. They are also important predecessors to the creation of cinema. Even in the age of advanced technology, these illusions of motion have stood the test of time and continue to amaze viewers with their simplistic design but visually complex result.
Though there are several optical toys that lead to the creation of film, the form of animation that I was specifically interested in researching is called ombro-cinema. This technique is creating by taking a piece of paper and a roll of acetate(or in this case, plexiglass) with black, vertical lines printed on it. The paper has a limited-frame animation, and the acetate/plexiglass layer acts as a shutter system as it moves across the paper, bringing the image to life. This type of interactive animation is still being explored in modern children’s books, as well as various art installations.