Montréal Serai editor Claudia Itzkowich visited Amanda Woolrich in her studio to prepare this piece.
An etching press presides over Amanda Woolrich’s apartment/art studio in Mexico City. Next to it hangs Amanda’s camera, looking down from a rustic iron structure as she plays around with her paper and mica marionettes: one leg 3 mm up, one tail 2 mm to the left, click. Again. And again.
In order for her “articulated”1 linocut figures to move on the screen, she needs to shoot between 12 and 14 positions per second, a technique that has been in use since at least 1932, with Berthold Bartosch’s animated film, L’idée. And that is the backdrop to the animations she has become known for (or some of them, at least), as the range of techniques she relies on includes watercolour, 2D digital drawing, and many others.c
Her “school” of animation art verges on the anarchic. Her mentor, Tania de León, along with some of the animation artists she admires—Raimund Krumme, Regina Pessoa, Montréal-based Theodore Ushev—and other professors like Alejandro Pérez Cruz, Daniel Manzano and Roberto Carrillo all have one belief in common: animation techniques need to keep evolving, creativity is the norm, and anything goes. This creed explains the diversity of Woolrich’s work: for the music score of one of her films, she provided the composer with a long strip of paper dotted with numbers and colours (ink and watercolour over Japanese paper—an art piece by itself), indicating the intensity she needed for the different moments. For Aquí y allá / Here and there (forthcoming), another black-and-white film starring a stately skeleton, she choreographed and filmed a relative of hers who is a professional actress (Paloma Woolrich), gracing her animated character with an exceptional fluidity of movement.