A Pacific Northwest artist becomes infatuated with the process of laser engraving wood and hatches a plan for a stop motion animation featuring hundreds of engraved maple blocks that can later be mailed as rewards to his project’s Kickstarter donors.
Fans of the television show Portlandia may find themselves experiencing a false sense of deja vu. Remarkably, Nando Costa is not the invention of comedian Fred Armisen. He’s a real person, and two years ago, whilst living in Portland, he gleefully embarked on what proved to be a very ambitious and time-consuming project.
The sort of project a guy with his skills and experience could have knocked out in a couple of months had the chosen materials been magic markers or clay.
Two years and some 800 wood blocks later, The New America is finally available for viewing, all two minutes and 37 seconds of it. Costa describes the abstract storyline as “a union between concepts and experiments born during the Situationist movement and real life events experienced during the last few years in American society. Particularly the duality between the economic downturn and the shift in values and beliefs of many citizens.”
In other words, it’s unlikely to capture the public’s imagination in the same way as Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches Fire!
Responding to well wishers—many of whom backed the project on Kickstarter—Costa is gracious…and exhausted.
“It was a lot of hard work and stress,” he tells one admirer in the comments section of his vimeo channel, adding that more planning would go into any future efforts. Despite his successful Kickstarter campaign the project went way over budget, and his wife was not thrilled to be sharing her home with all those 8 x 4.5 inch maple panels. (A few of them are available for purchase on etsy, but it’s artist’s choice. Remember what happened when Bart Simpson stole his dad’s credit card to order a genuine Itchy and Scratchy animation cel off the Impulse Buying Network.)
For now, Costa is content to focus on a new job and settling into a new house after a recent move to Seattle. After that, perhaps an animation that would involve laser-cut paper, but that, he says, would require research.
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Ayun Halliday dreams of animating something or other with dry erase markers one of these days. Follow her @AyunHalliday
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