vox populi

“Being active on social media is a way to relax”

The most interesting occupation is watching the world. There are very good exemplars: hidden, strange, original… I watch, take photos, paint, create collages, move the images, and finally produce a film.

Yes, the internet plays a big role in my life. I can even say that the internet is one of the best things in the world. How can you complain about the internet? Almost every day new pages open — about art, animation, museums…

Social networking sites are full of art; it’s just that you have to search to find it. See how many museums display their possessions openly online. I know there are museums that I will never physically be in (I have neither the mood for it nor the time or money), but I visit them virtually. And the images are of such high quality that you can study all the fragments in details. I won’t even talk about the literature that appeared online.

And if you don’t like something, you can always avoid it. You decide with whom to interact, what to see, and what to block. Close the pages and the people that bother you; open that which really interests you. The internet affords you this opportunity.

The internet is first a connection with people in my industry whom I know from various festivals. And that connection is simply necessary because there are films I can watch only with the access codes the filmmakers sent. I can’t imagine how it’s possible with my profession to live without the internet. 

I’ve always been surprised when my acquaintances have told me don’t share your works online. My good friend Sevan Naghash, for example, would say, it’s a pity. Honestly, I don’t understand what’s a pity. Keep them so I can do what? Many are digital collages created specifically for the internet. 

Films are creative works on a completely different plane, while making small drawings for sharing on Facebook is more so a game. A distracting and calming job…

For me, being active on social networking sites is a way to relax. Animation is the sort of work where breaks are needed. There comes a time when you find yourself at an impasse and you don’t know what to do. And if there isn’t a happy occupation like social media by your side, it’s very difficult.

I have no problem with copyright. How are they going to steal my images? Say that it’s their work? Eh… let them say so; everyone knows that it’s my work. Use them in other pieces? Let them use it, I would only be happy. 

What’s important are people. That is, those who see your work. Of course you don’t do it for them, you do it for yourself, but it’s very pleasant when they notice, appreciate, and comment on it. But it’s not only that…

I am thrilled that I can keep myself occupied. I do different series of collages; for example, “Spring Will Come.” But I don’t think I could do the same thing with the expectation of getting paid.

I am sure of one thing: if you start to chase money, the source of the images will close up. I don’t know what that’s connected to. Probably you change — and change significantly. 

The creators of the best animation films don’t have money. And it’s always been this way.

I have a good animator friend who during festival days would distribute DVDs of his film to everyone free of charge. When he was asked don’t the sponsors oppose this? he replied, for the filmmaker, it’s all the same, the festival is an opportunity for as many people as possible to see my work.

In general,  I believe that hackers are our friends. How can my work reach different corners of the world? Of course, thanks to the interwebs and hackers…

My foreign friends also see my films and images mainly online.

Now, the areas where animation is used have increased in advertising, in the news… everywhere. Though auteur animation is likewise produced, but that’s a separate thing, which is based only and only on talent and is not remunerated. 

Any auteur work is frankly egoistic. If you don’t do it for yourself, nothing will work out. Things that are done for a special purpose are unpleasant, and very quickly they reveal themselves. At the same moment you feel that the work is done for a specific audience or for money; that is, it is art that’s directed. 

There are artists who can paint in an already adopted style, and they paint that way for decades. I don’t understand how they don’t get bored.

I try to make my film not like the other at least technically. I realize that my signature style is noticed, but I change the level of complexity, so that it’s interesting for me in the first place. Otherwise, I would stop. I would die from boredom if I, say, constantly do a series on poetic collages. That won’t work. “Mumitrollen” is one thing; “Ballet” something completely different. All are different. 

Yes, I can be accused of having too many works. Just as are accused, for example, songwriters who sing everything they see. I can’t say that I paint everything I see, but I really do have a lot of works. And Tigran Hamasyan constantly writes music…

The internet helps me get requests for commissioned work. Say, for book design. They see [my work], like it, and get in touch with me. But I myself don’t take the initiative. If it happens, great; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. 

For me, the meaning is the cinema — it’s an integral part of my nature. When I’m working on a film, I forget everything, including even the internet.

We live in a century of images. For me, text has always had less meaning than the image. I’m a person of images. If the image doesn’t attract, I won’t read the text. Of course I’m not talking about books, but about the abundance of text today.

Generally, human memories began from images. There was no text; there were petroglyphs, which were more accessible and talented than the supposed text could be. For instance, it’s as though the cave paintings in France were done with a modern artist’s eye. 

I’m reading the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and see that it’s a legend with a completely innovative composition. The section that reads “I appeal to you…” is simply a miracle. It’s [like] a real scene from a film. This is one of those techniques when the main character appeals from the screen to the viewer individually and without intermediaries. 

I want to say that everything has already long been said. I believe that living is hard now because we know a lot of things. Also we’ve become oversaturated and tired from news. 

To tell you the truth, I rarely leave the house, and I connect to the internet from my room. It’s me, my work, the animals, the park…

Today, for example, a squirrel came, sat on the tree across from my window and began to look directly at me and speak to me. I gave him lavash bread, he didn’t eat it, continued to talk. Why the squirrel needed to make that contact is unknown. He probably had a need to communicate…

Everyone needs contact. And the internet is the place for people who are alone. If you’re online, you don’t feel so alone.

I think for everyone the internet is a big world. You just have to not lose the connection with reality. Who needs the internet if I didn’t have my dog, my cats, the yard, the earth…?

Naira Muradyan
Artist, animator

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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