White Christmas by Chilly Gonzales Animated in Stop Motion by Paul Arne Meyer
At this time of the year, we enjoy finding creative gems that reinvent the traditional iconography and propose a fresh way of looking at the holiday season. And one of such efforts recently came under our radar, when we saw White Christmas by Chilly Gonzales, a stop-motion animation made by German artist Paul Arne Meyer featuring a dance performance by Denis Kuhnert.
As a former master student of classical painting in the class of professor Tilo Baumgärtel, over the years Meyer developed an interest in what can be seen next to the actual picture. Looking past the main image, his focus was on colorful edges, loose marks, sketches, traces of preliminary drawings, and leftover colors that do not appear in the actual painting. This approach eventually navigated him towards animating the traces of the creative process into a new storyline, both capturing the different steps of his method and constructing a richer narrative around the original image. "I paint individual scenes hundreds of times, move, glue, change objects. and photograph every change," Meyer told us about his process through which he first created the first video for Onomatopoetika by Malakoff Kowalski in 2019 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTzX8JpykP8) "What's exciting is not only the documented process and the resulting movement but also the object that remains in the end."
It turns out that White Christmas is his 3d collaboration with the Grammy-winning Canadian musician, songwriter, and producer. The first two videos on the same subject visualized The Banister Bough (feat. Leslie Feist) and Snow Is Falling In Manhatten (feat. Jarvis Cocker), both featured on Chilly Gonzales' Christmas album A Very Chilly Christmas from 2020. The two elaborately designed, detailed music videos, are meant to be putting the music in the center while telling a completely independent yet compatible visual story. "I never work with a storyboard or a fixed storyline. I prefer to be inspired by the song as a musician or work towards or against the vocals. This makes it hard to find musicians who will get involved with such an approach because nobody knows what will come out in the end," the artist explained, suggesting how precious this ongoing collaboration really is. —Sasha Bogojev