Everyday the animation world welcomes artists that oppose to the idea of realistic representations and propose alternative ways of commenting on contemporary sociopolitical issues and delineating fiction characters and settings.
Therefore, it is nothing but coincidental that I choose to write about Jan Joost Verhoef (you may also know him as “Lazy Bear”) right after my interview with David O’Reilly. I would like to see a great resemblance between the work of these two artists, in terms of dealing with the concept of dystopian societies, administrating abstract scenarios and the overall imagery brilliance.
However, Verhoef takes it a step further, embracing the mixed-media technique, both in his animations and his illustrations. In most of his works, the floating strokes and the big palette of gradient tones result to genuine compositions in an ambience of coherency and honest darkness. It would not be an overstatement to say that by experimenting with various media, Verhoef has managed to create a new dialect, a “personal scripture” that conveys his own outlook on the issues he chooses to portray.
In “Plunge” he, quite successfully, manages to engage 3D and sketched elements in a fruitful dialogue, producing a riveting short film. From the color variety to the big amount of visual information, the narration is based on perplexed scenery and meticulous camera moves. His fluency on narrating extends to his illustrations such as in “Eleven Years of Winter” and “Leroy” which, even though still, unfold intriguing stories while, at the same time, each picture can stand alone creating separately a unique story.
Another beloved Verhoef’s project is the short “EYE”, an animation created in collaboration with Stichting Nieuwe Helden. The story is set in a monotonic environment composed of isometric geometries which Verhoef randomly distorts, blurring the lines between the script and the graphics. Although it is based on exclusively 3D design, he skillfully pulls it off, introducing the audience to a low-poly reality.