Programme: Animation - BA (Hons)

Year: 2012

The Bombay Bicycle Club collaborator tells us about the magic of bringing the inanimate to life.

Tell us about yourself

My name’s Anna Ginsburg and I’m from Kentish Town in Northwest London. After completing a Foundation course at Camberwell College of Arts, I studied Animation at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) from 2009 to 2012. Since leaving Edinburgh, I have returned to London and now have a studio in East London (Dalston Kingsland).

Tell us about your creative practice?

I specialise in predominantly traditional animation, stop-motion and hand-drawn. I have also directed some live-action music videos with animated elements. I particularly love the music video as a medium. There is nothing more satisfying than a sensitive visualisation of a song; when the audio and visual come together perfectly.

Animated documentary also excites me, as it's the place where the real and the fantastical meet. I think this mixture can evoke a huge emotional response, as audiences are often more able to empathise with animated characters / abstract hand-rendered visualisations than real people.

I've been directing mainly animated projects in London for two years since graduating from ECA in 2012. I'm represented, as a Director, by an animation production company called Sherbet, but I mostly work freelance, alone or as part of a small team in my studio.

"The highs are what keep me going. The feeling of seeing something move in the way you imaged it. Seeing the imagery with sound for the first time. Witnessing people's reaction to my work."

Anna Ginsburg, 2012 Animation - BA (Hons)

Why do you do what you do?

I find animation hugely satisfying; the magic of giving an inanimate model or drawing ‘life’ never gets old. I also feel animation is the perfect culmination of all the disciplines I love; drawing, sculpture, film, photography, creative writing, story-telling, music and pop culture.

What is your inspiration?

I find many contemporary animators working in the industry a constant source of inspiration: Mikey Please + Dan Ojari; The Moth collective; Ainslie Henderson + Will Anderson (my wonderfully talented ECA peers); Becky + Joe; Megaforce.

I find the early work of Spike Jonzes inspirationally joyful and light hearted. Jonzes made a vast number of music videos in the 90s which all make you happy to be alive.

Lynne Ramsay's work, particularly Ratcatcher and We Need to Talk About Kevin, appeal directly to the senses and awaken new depths in our audio-visual imagination. Her use of imagery and sound together can be overwhelming at times. Her use of texture, composition, colour, music and sound is tremendously powerful and sensorially rich.

Also, pop culture in general keeps me excited and wanting to keep pushing the realms of what’s possible, in terms of live visuals at shows and music video. Beyoncé's live performance, her use and interaction with animated projects. Every Missy Elliot's she ever did, I’ve returned to endlessly. Fly lotus's, TKA twig's and M.I.A's commitment to visuals in tours and music video.

David Hockney's early works, especially his prints, are always a starting point for me when designing the story board for a drawn project.

What keeps you going?

The highs are what keep me going. The feeling of seeing something move in the way you imaged it. Seeing the imagery with sound for the first time. Witnessing people's reaction to my work. Encouraging emails, messages and comments for people who don't know me and have enjoyed my work in some way. Listening to stories and podcasts while I work, as animation is mind-numbingly dull the majority of the time. Aubergines. Cheese.

Why did you choose to study at ECA?

Edinburgh is beautiful and has a lovely pace. It's like exhaling when you get off the train at Waverley. As soon as I arrived, I knew I'd be happy there. I loved the old building and the Sculpture Court at ECA; just walking through it every day made me feel part of something important and beautiful. The Animation course is one of the only ones in the UK which included traditional aspects of animation, when I visited in 2009. I don't know if that's still the case. 

What did you like about ECA?

The stop-motion space and facilities. My peers in animation, who were a daily source of inspiration, and the wonderful designers and artists in other disciplines. 

What have been your biggest achievements since you graduated?

My continued working relationship with the band, Bombay Bicycle Club, has led to my proudest moments since graduating. My first large scale, live-action production for their single Luna was a high point. With a crew of 55, a 30 foot crane, team GB synchronised swimmers with fireworks attached to their heads - one of the greatest days of my life thus far.

Also seeing my hand-drawn tour visuals for Bombay's world tour, So Long See You Tomorrow, on the second biggest stage at Glastonbury was a career highlight. These visuals have just been nominated for a Knight of Illumination award (if you win, you get a big sword!?). Meeting and working with a lot of my animation idols, including Moth, Mikey Please and Joseph Mann, has been really great too.  

What advice would you give someone wanting to study, and have a career in, your area of expertise?

Work very, very hard. Be patient: animation is repetitive and sadistic, as well as therapeutic and immensely satisfying. Contact all the people you respect and ask to help them in a direct and concise way. Use your time in education to make exactly what you want and experiment, as you may not get that opportunity again. Take opportunities with ferocity, when they come. Enjoy yourself and be playful.  

Are you interested in studying Animation - BA (Hons) at Edinburgh College of Art?