Stunning Animation Collaboration

Dena Cooper and Gary Mayes collaborated on this superb animation.

Dena's elegant & delicate illustrations have been brought to life by the talented Gary Mayes, the video draws you in with its detailed artwork and dynamic animation, letting us explore the world of Dena's artwork with movement and a stylish sound track.

We spoke to Dena and Gary about the inspiration behind the piece.

What was your inspiration behind the piece?

Dena: I was inspired to create new artwork after looking at Gary’s whimsical animations. I love the way he can reimagine artwork, giving it a new life and purpose. 

Gary: Following previous collaborative animations with other illustrators, Dena’s work prompted me to think about an approach that expanded on her beautiful realistic fashion imagery. The detailed and sensitive work of her figures, faces, chic clothes, flowers and glass elements, inspired me to consider the drama of light and shadow and to create scenes that combined subjects and elements from different illustrations. I also felt that the soundtrack music needed to reflect Dena’s sensitivity and the drama that I was looking for in the animation.

Tell us about the theme of the project.

Gary: Initially, the intention was to focus on the fashion centres of New York, London, Paris and Milan. However, when looking through Dena’s portfolio, I could see the potential of broadening the theme to embrace the luxurious quality of her illustrations, like the Dior perfume bottle for example, while retaining the cosmopolitan centres at the core of the animation. The Dior bottle provided the pathway to Paris and the shower of flowers. The city locations then formed the backdrop to the fashion clad figures, as if on a set of a show.

Dena:There’s a combination of street style, cityscapes, and portraiture celebrating fashion illustration and the many forms it can take.

Could you tell us a bit more about the process of working with each other - what you each did?

Dena:We took time to review each others’ work to help inspire a way to work together. The subject of fashion illustration paired so well with Gary’s understanding of movement.

Gary: Dena sent me a few initial illustrations based around the idea of the fashion centres and I then identified images that I thought might lend themselves to an approach that I had started to think about. Once I had received all the high res Photoshop files, i created a working storyboard to work out the sequence of images. Dena’s fies allowed me to assemble the elements I needed and in turn created a set of layered images to work with. These took the form of one for each city, as set of flowers with separate petals, and a set of layers containing separated elements like the lipstick objects and jewels.

What things did you discuss together?

Gary: We discussed the theme and the approach that I might take, that of light and shade, together with the flavour of the music. I’m always conscious of another artist’s sensibility about their own work and how they might feel about it being reinterpreted within animation. I wanted to be sure that the introduction of light and shadow into Dena’s work would sit well with her. During the process of developing the animation, I sent Dena a preview of the first 20 seconds and was delighted to hear that she loved what I had done and couldn’t wait for more! 

Dena: We discussed a few different directions. Ultimately, I created new landscape scenes in which Gary added other elements to illustrate fashion in the city.

What did you enjoyed about working on this?

Dena: I loved being surprised with how Gary reimagined my work. It was hard to wait to see what he would do but the wait was so worth it.

Gary: As soon as I started to work with Dena’s realistic illustrations, I knew that they would offer up lots of creative possibilities; the ideas evolved very easily as the images themselves suggested ways of working with them. Working with another artist’s imagery allows me to think beyond my own illustrative capabilities. Dena’s work provided me with beautiful content and the opportunity to explore combinations, setting and how to use them imaginatively to create an atmospheric and emotional piece. I was aiming for something dreamlike, and Dena’s illustrations gave me the perfect subjects.

To view the stunning animation visit Dena or Gary's portoflio HERE and HERE



dena cooper
gary mayes
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