halloween

Showing 3 posts tagged halloween

"Poet of animation" Norman McLaren’s Spook Sport (1939), set to Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse macabre (1874), which has a fascinating back story:

It started out in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano with a French text by the poet Henri Cazalis, which is based on an old French superstition. In 1874, the composer expanded and reworked the piece into a tone poem, replacing the vocal line with a solo violin….

According to legend, “Death” appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death calls forth the dead from their graves to dance their dance of death for him while he plays his fiddle (here represented by a solo violin). His skeletons dance for him until the rooster crows at dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year. 

You can find our favorite McLaren here: Boogie Doodle (1948), or check out Oskar Fischinger’s Optical Poem.

Ray Villafane's day job is as a action-figure character sculptor. But every Halloween brings out a completely new side of his sculpting work. This video from The Wall Street Journal show’s Ray’s seasonal profession as a happily obsessive pumpkin carver. His 3D pumpkins have been featured on The Food Network and have decorated the White House. From WSJ.com

It can take him 12 hours to carve a pumpkin. Over time, he said, “the actual process is easier, but the ideas are harder.” When he gets blocked, he often starts making bold cuts, digging into the pumpkin aggressively in hopes of seeing something he couldn’t find before. It’s a risk: If he breaks through to the middle, the pumpkin is ruined. Another habit when he’s stymied: lying on a lounge chair by his backyard pool and looking up at the stars.

Inspiration! For a real time look at Ray Villafane’s work, watch this video of him carving the basics of a simple face: