New Animated Film About Vincent Van Gogh Will Be Made Out of 65,000 Van Gogh-Style Paintings: Watch the Trailer and Making-Of Video

One of Aki­ra Kurosawa’s last films, 1990’s Dreams, saw the Japan­ese mas­ter stretch­ing out into more per­son­al ter­ri­to­ry. A col­lec­tion of short pieces based on the director’s dreams, one of these episodes, “Crows,” shows us a young Kuro­sawa sur­ro­gate who wan­ders from a gallery of Van Gogh’s paint­ings and into the French coun­try­side Van Gogh paint­ed. The addi­tion of Mar­tin Scors­ese as a vol­u­ble, Brook­lyn-accent­ed Van Gogh adds a quirky touch, but there’s some­thing a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing about the move from the paint­ings to their ref­er­ent. When peo­ple ask, after all, “what must it have been like to have seen the world through Vin­cent van Gogh’s eyes?” they seem to assume the painter saw real­i­ty in same the swirling, writhing, riotous­ly-col­ored motion as his paint­ings.

It’s true the belea­guered Dutch artist had prob­lems with his vision, due to lead poi­son­ing and tem­po­ral lobe epilep­sy. But what we real­ly want to expe­ri­ence is see­ing the world not as Van Gogh saw it but as he paint­ed it. And as we shared last year, we’ll soon have a chance thanks to an incred­i­ble ani­mat­ed fea­ture film project called Lov­ing Vin­cent by Doro­ta Kobiela and High Welch­man. “Every frame of Lov­ing Vin­cent will be an oil paint­ing on can­vas, cre­at­ed with the same tech­niques Van Gogh used over a cen­tu­ry ago.” The film­mak­ers have since released an offi­cial trail­er for the film, which you can see at the top of the post, and a mak­ing-of short, which you can watch just above. The artists we see hard at work in stu­dios in Greece made a total of 65,000 indi­vid­ual oil paint­ings for the film, in col­or and black-and-white, many of which you can see—and purchase—at the Lov­ing Vin­cent web­site.

The painters drew their inspi­ra­tion from live action per­for­mances by actors like Dou­glas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, and Aidan Turn­er, which were then dig­i­tal­ly enhanced with com­put­er ani­mat­ed “ele­ments such as birds, hors­es, clouds and blow­ing leaves.” The 125 “paint­ing ani­ma­tors,” as the film’s site calls them, trans­formed “this ref­er­ence mate­r­i­al into Vin­cent van Gogh’s paint­ing style,” then re-cre­at­ed “the move­ment of the shot through ani­mat­ing each brush­stroke.” It’s a phe­nom­e­nal achieve­ment that painter Piotr Domini­ak above says gave him “goose­bumps” when he saw it. The hand­ful of painters inter­viewed above—from all over Europe—are pas­sion­ate about Van Gogh. Few of them are pro­fes­sion­al artists. Domini­ak worked as a cook before join­ing the project. Sarah Cam­pos worked as a Span­ish teacher, and Waldek Wesolows­ki restored old cars.

From start to fin­ish, Lov­ing Vin­cent has—like its subject’s body of work—been a labor of love (watch a behind-the-scenes short above). But this one came togeth­er on the inter­net. The film­mak­ers began fund­ing with a Kick­starter cam­paign sev­er­al years ago, and most of the artists were recruit­ed through their web­site. Giv­en the incred­i­ble results in what we’ve seen so far, we can expect to enter Van Gogh’s cre­ative vision in a way we could only dream about before. Learn much more about the project at the impres­sive Lov­ing Vin­cent web­site.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch the Trail­er for a “Ful­ly Paint­ed” Van Gogh Film: Fea­tures 12 Oil Paint­ings Per Sec­ond by 100+ Painters

Mar­tin Scors­ese Plays Vin­cent Van Gogh in a Short, Sur­re­al Film by Aki­ra Kuro­sawa

Vin­cent van Gogh Vis­its a Mod­ern Muse­um & Gets to See His Artis­tic Lega­cy: A Touch­ing Scene from Doc­tor Who

Down­load Hun­dreds of Van Gogh Paint­ings, Sketch­es & Let­ters in High Res­o­lu­tion

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Mag­nif­i­cent every­thing about this artist it is mag­i­cal super­nat­ur­al one of a kind.

  • JK says:

    Amaz­ing! I just found this arti­cle by hap­pen­stance while look­ing up Vin­cent Van Gogh and this film looks absolute­ly beau­ti­ful. Van Gogh is one of my favorites artists and to see a film about his life is some­thing to look for­ward to. But on top of that, the film being ani­mat­ed in the style of Van Gogh’s paint­ings? Tru­ly cre­ative and inno­v­a­tive way to pro­tray this film about Van Gogh, look­ing for­ward to the release!!

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