“Young Novice in Woodland Temple” is a stop-motion animation installation setting within the theme of contemporary high fantasy, staged with a functional stop-motion animation puppet of a young character of female gender, holding a weapon in hand. The project is meant to allow viewers to experience what would be a behind-the-scenes of an actual stop-motion animation production piece. The puppet character is staged facing the entrance of the Frog Temple, posed with sword in hand, their weapon meant to be a symbol of power, as this character is alone on their quest within this dark, woodland forest. The Frog Temple, though ancient and daunting in the middle of this woodland forest, is meant to add a bit of childlike wonder and magical lore to the theme of scenery, as frogs are used as a symbol of mischievous cuteness within this project.
The style of my puppet character is dressed in functional, heavy layered winter clothing within Medieval-inspired fashion, as is common within the theme of high fantasy stories. By building off contemporary forms of character representations, my project is aimed to portray a fabricated puppet design featuring characteristic qualities which deviate away from traditional gender-based roles and stereotypes in order to allow for a more broadened range of character representations, specifically, for female characters. To accomplish this, my character’s design displays more of a focus on clothing and costume functionality (appropriate for the elements of the forest) over unnecessary “gender based” exaggerated features and accessories- such as skirts, bows and accentuated breast plates, for example. My project’s focus is not in opposition to other forms of representations, but more about broadening the overall range and aiming away from gender-specific representations, in order to show that gendered characters don’t always have to dress in a particular way just due to being M/F/X gender. The specific style choices of my puppet character are overall based on personal taste, and essentially represents a character design that I could have wanted to resonated with at a younger age.
I aim to create work that is visually and conceptually fun, playful and appealing; Anything that really brings me back to that pure sense of childhood joy and wonder. I would definitely say my love for cartoons and animations heavily inspire my own character designs in puppet fabrication. My style is inspired by content of shows and comics like Jeff Smith’s BONE, Calvin & Hobbs, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and artist Gary Baseman, whose artwork is displayed in the board game, Cranium. These inspirations have influenced my simplistic, light-hearted, cartoon-led style to come to life in the form of puppet fabrication.
I’ve always had a strong passion for fantasy and was constantly enamored by the beauty of nature growing up. Getting lost in fantasy always allowed my mind to wander outside the confines of my own ordinary world, by seeing my own reality in its own enchanting way, allowing for the best kind of escape. I am excited by themes of fantasy regarding natural elements, strong and heroic females, adventure, mystic beasts, magic and lore. I aim to create work that is visually and conceptually fun, fantasy-themed, kid-friendly and wholesomely appealing. The driving force behind my work is to create content that brings me back to that pure sense of childhood joy and wonder. I would definitely say my love for fantasy books, comics, cartoons and other forms of media heavily inspire my own style of character designs in puppet fabrication. My style is inspired by a mix of content such as shows like Adventure Time, Hilda, Steven Universe, and Jeff Smith’s BONE comics. Such inspirations have influenced my simplistic, light-hearted, cartoon-styled themes come to life in the form of puppet fabrication.