Sunday, interview od the day
Lucie Dvořáková Talks about Hens, Animation, and Illustration
Lucie Dvořáková graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (AAAD) in 1984 with her graduation film The Hen. And even though she later turned to children’s illustration, she looks back on her animation roots fondly and doesn’t rule out she might yet return to animating. After all, she believes that illustration and animation have much in common. We have included her film in the screening block Forgotten Czech Female Directors.
What led you to study at the AAAD?
Both my parents were artists, so it was really a natural choice for me right from the start. When I was little, I would make and illustrate my own books and always put my name “Lucie Šedivá” on them along with “SNDK” (laugh) because the abbreviation was on all the children’s books we had at home. Later, when I was applying to the AAAD after graduating from the Václav Hollar College and Secondary School of Fine Arts, I found out that the illustration studio back then was focusing on realistic, socially-engaged art, which I didn’t want to do. I saw much more appeal in the animation studio, led by Miloslav Jágr, who focused more on children’s illustration, which was closely related to animation in that both were characterized by simplification and stylization. But to be honest, I was quite worried that I would have to animate (laugh).
How did you come up with the story of a hen who wants to be a great artist?
We couldn’t really choose the subjects of our works ourselves because the projects had to be consulted with and approved by people from Krátký film Praha, which co-financed our graduation films. I always liked stories by Miloš Macourek and I knew there have already been several student films based on them. And I really liked the story, which was set in a gallery and allowed me to try out a whole bunch of “isms”… I had no idea it would turn out to be prophetic and pretty much tell the story of my life (laugh).
What do you mean by that?
Well, the hen has to abandon her plan to use her egg as a work of art when a chicken hatches from it. I was pregnant when I graduated and gave birth to my daughter shortly after. All of a sudden, it was much more practical for me to work as a freelance illustrator in the evenings than to start a long-term animation project with several people, who would depend on me.
Have you noticed anything that illustration and animation have in common?
Absolutely. When I’m preparing illustrations, I always see them in my mind more as a film. A series of illustration often has to have some predetermined topic or a link, and a beginning and an end. So, even though illustrations are essentially static, illustrators can definitely benefit from animation training.
Aren’t You Tempted to Return to Animation?
I really do miss animating sometimes. Or more precisely, I miss not working alone and having someone to consult with. It’s nice when you can illustrate by yourself with no one meddling in your work, but after working like that for 35 years, you kind of wish someone would meddle a bit from time to time (laugh).