Sarah Han Oct 5, 2011, Midnight
Mel Prest Mel Prest Mel Prest
Mel Prest Mel Prest Mel Prest
Maybe it was from watching a lot of Gumby and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer as a kid, but I have a real soft spot in my heart for stop-motion animation. One of the coolest things about stop-motion is how almost anyone who has the patience and a camera can tell a story (look up stop-motion animation on Youtube for proof), and usually even the crudest stop-motion looks pretty cool!
Sarah Klein, a visual artist who resides in the Sunset, shares my feelings about stop-motion, but by ten fold. She created Stop & Go, a curated festival of stop-animation. For Sarah, these shows are about more than just illuminating process. "I am drawn to that in my own work and look for that when I curate the show. I want to see a handmade quality to the animations even if the piece is heavily computer processed."
Sarah first came upon the medium in 2004, as a means to work with some audiotapes she found in a thrift store. The tapes featured tracks of a man practicing his retirement speech, playing guitar, and partying with friends and family at Thanksgiving and New Years Eve celebrations. She took these audio snippets and created animations around them, telling her version of his story and titling it "Lost Everything But My Name."
But it wasn't until 2008, when she was invited by Electric Works Gallery to curate a program of her choice, that Stop & Go came to life. She culled together a selection of stop-motion animations specifically made by visual artists who were experimenting with the technique. The show was a success, and she was able to find other venues to screen it. Eventually, she realized she had a festival on her hands! This second program, called Stop & Go Rides Again, was just shown in Europe. And after its run in San Francisco, she'll take it to more screenings in the U.S. before retiring the program and starting on the third installment, called Stop & Go 3-D, which will screen in 2012. Sarah explains "When the show is on tour it is wonderful to see how the audiences in each city react to the screening program. It can vary quite a lot... I like it when I see a piece find its audience."
The animation above, a collaboration by two artists, Owen Gatley and Luke Jinks called "A Record of Life," appears in this year's program.

Stop & Go Rides Again will play in San Francisco, starting tomorrow, Oct. 6, through Nov. 5 at Z Space. The program features a new series of stop-motion animations by 25 contemporary visual artists and filmmakers from around the world. We San Franciscans will be privy to a special addition to the program — Bay Area contributors Paz de la Calzada, Andy Vogt, Kathy Aoki, and Mel Prest will present site-specific large-scale works, workshops, and performances. Find out more about specific dates and events at

Images (from top left, clockwise): "Stacie," by Mel Prest; "Beard Troupee, Gone Tomorrow" by Reed Anderson and Daniel Davidson; "Candle," by Evelien Lohbeck; "It's Not the Tea It's Who You Drink It With," by Lizzie Black, Alessandra Ausenda and Anna Maria Murphy; "How to Install the Sculpture," by Tucker Nichols; "Tenderloin Dreamscapes," by Paz de la Calzada and Michael Rauner
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