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Thursday,December 12,2019
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To infinity and beyond!20 Years of Animation: Pixar Exhibition in Seoul

 I love animations as much as I love movies.  I have been always thought that a well-made animation can compete with movies.  In animation, there are moral lessons, satires on our society and a warm sensation.  I also like Japanese animation which uses pretty colors and images and I like Dreamworks' animation because they are really funny with their jokes and parodies.  But the ones that I love the most are Pixar's animations.  Its animations always make me feel warm and surprise me with their stories and imagination.
  The Pixar animation studio which is called 'dream factory', is a pioneer of 3D animation and has been creating computer animation for over 20 years.  Pixar has lead audience to its imaginary world with its animations including: Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E. They have brought their globe-trotting exhibition to Seoul in time for their 20th anniversary.  Before arriving in Seoul, the Pixar exhibition traveled to New York to be displayed at the Museum of Modern Art(MoMA) and five other countries.  It is a really good opportunity to see secrets of Pixar animation and its magical imaginary world.  Are you ready to be enchanted with Pixar studio's wonderland?

Dream Factory: Pixar studio
  If we call 2D animation as 'pencil' animation, we would call 21st century's 3D animation as 'computer animation'.  Many people think that computer animations are driven primarily by technology and created through a clicking of the mouse.  They also think it does not need as much artistic work as 2D animation.  This is totally wrong.  "Computer don't create computer animation anymore than a pencil creates pencil animation.  What creates computer animation is artists," said John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar.  As he said, artists at Pixar try hard to produce an animation.  Technology is only a tool.  All Pixar films are driven by a story and art.  To create a complete story for one film, it takes at least four years.  For example, it took about 9 years to make Finding Nemo. This explains how much care they put into the story itself.  The story is supported by the art of animation.  They often work with traditional mediums such as pen, pencil, pastel and collage so that they can wrestle, modify and redraw their ideas.  To make each film, artists at Pixar concentrate their energies and fall in love with the story and characters which they have created.  They do research and make observations, and then with a great deal trouble, each story and character comes to life.  For instance, they searched and sketched Paris' streets, even its allies and sewerages, to describe the background of the animation Ratatouille.  Moreover all the producers and artists at Pixar had to learn cooking to describe in fully detail each cooking scene in the film.  For the animation Bug's Life they spent long days observing bugs in the back yard through bug cam to express the bug's world and life accurately.  And they went scuba diving together with marine botanists to understand the experience of underwater life when they produced Finding Nemo.
 Due to their effort and passion, the audience can be touched and sympathize with Pixar animations and enjoy it even if they know that the world in the animations are fiction. Their passion, imagination and hard-working is what makes Pixar a pioneer in computer animation for over 20 years and make it possible to entertain both children and adults.

Animation turned into Art.
This exhibition focuses on Pixar animation and its artists.  It aims to shed light on the Pixar artists behind the development of the striking 3D techniques.  The artists create their arts which are the basis for the animation's story, background and characters.  More than 650 rough sketches, sculptures and storyboards by the 80 artists working on Pixar animation are on display.  I expected to see lots of kids but not adults.  I was surprised to see that there were many students who are studying animation and many couples, foreigners and adults who are also interested in animation at the exhibition.
  Visitors can see early works of the Luxo lamp which is the face of pixar and its early animation.  Rough sketches of Woody, a 3D animated character in Toy Story is also interesting.  People can see how the characters looked like before their debut on the screen. I could see traces of erased pencil marks on the rough sketches and traces of glue from their collage.  It was really impressive and I could feel Pixar artists' passion. 
I really liked the sketch which is called 'Baby Rat Model Packet'.  These sketches show how the main character Remy grows up in the movie Ratatouille.  There was an interesting sketch describes 10 boys used to choose the right character for the 'dentist patient' in Finding Nemo.
 The most interesting painting was 'Sullivan fur pattern studies'.  Pixar artists examined a number of designs and applied a wide range of colors and textures to create Sullivan which is the main character in Monsters Inc.  I could feel how much the Pixar artists are trying hard to develop each character with backgrounds even for the lesser characters.  Also visitors should not miss a huge wall with all the extra fish that appeared in Finding Nemo.  There are a number of colorful fish each special and named. 
 There are so many eye-catching paintings, sketches, sculptures, color script and so on.  I could see truly art gallery-worthy works like large paintings on canvas depicting a feel for a scene of a movie.  They were so beautiful and creative that I wanted to have one.  Nothing in a 3D animation goes untouched by human hands.  You really get the feeling of being at the Pixar studio.


 The 21st century is the world of imagination and creativity.  In that respect, this Pixar exhibition inspires us both with imagination and creativity.  It also means a lot that the exhibition which is on the subject of animation, is being held on a world scale.  It means people have recognized Pixar animation as art.  I regard Pixar's artists and producers with respect and I hope Pixar dazzles Korea and world.  I look forward to their infinite imagination and beyond.

Lee Min-jeong  serendipity@dongguk.edu

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