There are some questions in life that seem obvious, and “Should I call my ex?” is right up there. No. No, you shouldn’t. But Venezuelan artist Carlín Díaz wants you to think again. His latest animation, commissioned by WePresent, is a trippy meditation on love, loss and happiness.
Narrated by artist Peter Shire, the film may not answer the question, but it does provide an amazingly memorable dive into Carlín’s visual brilliance.
This idea was born from the feeling of breaking up with the person you think is going to be your life companion. I was in this relationship for seven years.
The video is about that feeling of regret you have after you break-up, and loneliness, and emptiness. You’re trying to fill the emptiness with something or someone – you start partying, probably taking drugs, to forget about the reality. Or you’re calling the person you met at the party last night. The film is about trying to fill this emptiness with something or someone, but in the end your ex is still there. In the end you are trapped.
Either that feeling finally disappears, or you take this energy and transform it into something you believe will be beautiful. That’s how the idea was born. I could take that feeling of emptiness and see it as a positive thing – create something and probably get over it. Actually I think that’s what art is about. You can transform your reality through art.
The film is about trying to fill this emptiness with something or someone
I’m always seeing things brighter. When I was in Venezuela, I used to party a lot and the idea of making art wasn’t crossing my mind. The only thing I was sure about was that I really liked colorful and dreamlike universes.
So I used to take psychotropics to see life in that way. But then I realized when the effects have worn off, you are kind of disappointed, because you realize everything is fake. So one of my intentions is to create this dreamlike world, to make it real, so whenever I want to see bright colors, they are just there.
It’s kind of a mix between a racoon and a human being. When I was working on my first short film, I met the girl of my dreams, and then I found this beautiful picture of racoons. I got hypnotized by that picture – they are all super charming and at the same time mature and mysterious. The shape of the face, it’s kind of a mask.
Then I realized I was making characters in an andrygonous way. I pushed it a little bit more, make it more inter-sex. I wanted to make this character so that you couldn’t tell if it’s a man or a woman. I want people to feel charmed by a human being, without asking themselves if it’s a man or a woman. That can change people’s perception, even if it’s just one percent.
The first stage is the story. I was writing the possibilities of what the voiceover could be and then the images. I was playing with different composition of each frame, which one will be more expressive.
I wanted a voice that would make a lot of contrast with this character, so I wanted a mature voice, kind of melancholic. I was thinking about many options until one day I got an email from La Luz de Jesus Gallery Director, Matthew, who said I should meet Peter Shire, an amazing artist from the Memphis Group design movement.
I found a video of Peter talking about his work, and from the moment it started, I was like wow, that's the voice.
The most difficult thing was to make possible the idea I had in my mind. I think that's the most challenging thing, every brain has its universe, its own way of perceiving dreams and sounds and images. You can’t control the way people perceive things.
Making animation is a super-long process and it requires a lot of concentration. You don’t make it with your hands, and sometimes it’s less present to be in front of the computer for eight hours a day. I’m sure my back didn’t like it!
I had finished my last animation in November 2016, a video clip for Kakkmaddafakka’s song Lilac. The process took six months and I knew that some time would pass before I made another animation.
After I was done, I decided to chill a little bit, and make some paintings and collages. But in the end, I realised the worlds are complementary. You’re trying to produce a sensation, a massage in the brain.
I was always looking for this sensation when I was younger in Venezuela. I remember once after a party, I left all my friends and put Pink Floyd on at top volume. It was like heaven, you know? Like pleasure in a bottle. I felt the massage in my brain and that’s exactly the feeling I want to translate. Your head is rolling backwards, you listen to the Roger Waters guitar and you close your eyes… That’s what I call the massage in the brain.