Stopmotion Explosion

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Feature: Hoedown from Rodeo

Eleanor Stewart is a freelance animator and paper artist based out of Scotland. She created this noteworthy stop motion short for her final year at the Glasgow School of Art several years ago, where she was awarded the Bram Stoker Medal for most imaginative work. Her animations have since screened internationally—sometimes accompanied by live orchestras!

Her nostalgic animation below features the Hoe-Down movement from the Rodeo ballet scored by celebrated American composer Aaron Copland. Aged sheet music lends a timeless quality to the page-turning scenes, in which cutouts and three-dimensional models leap off the page. The result is a brilliant homage to romanticized cowboy/western culture.

Hoedown from Rodeo

To exaggerate foreground elements or to communicate distance, the silhouettes are cut out bigger or smaller, in addition to their placement on the surface of the page. Progress on the road to the rodeo is depicted by two techniques: the horse crossing the open book, and by terrain elements "falling behind" the rider and his mount.

Notice how the score informs the detailed choreography. Bursts of music are cleverly used as gunshots, a stampeding herd, or to punctuate a drastic change in scenery. Different themes emerge for the cowboy's journey, the outlaw gunfight, and the edgy excitement of town contrasted with a desolate, pioneer countryside...complete with rolling tumbleweed.

To learn more about Eleanor's artistic endeavors, you can visit her official website: www.eleanorstewart.co.uk