A Moment in Italy

April 4, 2021   /  

Name: Abigail Fisk
Major: Studio Art
Advisor: Dr. Bridget Milligan, Dr. Tracy Cosgriff, Dr. Marina Mangubi

Best Animation Award

For centuries, art has been used not just to portray images, but to inspire feelings in those who observe it. Animation as a medium is most commonly used to tell a story, as sequences of multiple images and scenes are ideal for crafting a narrative. Animation is often considered to lack artistic integrity, as it is often viewed as entertainment for children rather than fine art. Yet animation, as any other form or artistic media, can provide just as much depth as more traditional forms of art.

This is a short animated film that is approximately three minutes in length, set in the city of Florence and in the Tuscan countryside. While this animation has a simple story to follow, most of the focus is placed upon the creation of an atmosphere. The simple story of this animation is an exploration of that atmosphere within Italy, following a blank slate type of character, both in the city and the countryside. However, this character also has her own motivations and emotions, as she is in many ways a stand in for me as the artist, and her actions drive the flow of events, allowing the audience to witness a variety of atmospheric locations.

The semester I spent in Italy was very important to both my artistic and personal growth, and I am excited to share a small part of that experience with the audience. The simple, everyday actions of the main character are actions that I engaged in at various points during my time spent in Italy, but the experience of being in an entirely new place made those actions far more meaningful. I hope that this work might resonate with other people who have gone outside of their comfort zone and found themselves changed through the act of traveling, and I hope that in the future I will be able to create more artworks that resonate with viewers.

Abigail will be online to field comments on April 16:
2-4pm EDT (PST 11am-1pm, Africa/Europe: evening)

61 thoughts on “A Moment in Italy”

  1. A beautiful and evocative animation, Abby! Your vision gave me such nostalgia – a testament to the great details of your piece! Congratulations!!!

  2. Truly fantastic. The birds, her hair in the breeze, the train ride and panorama view from the window — absolutely stunning.

    1. Thank you very much. I spent a lot of time on the small details of the animation. I’m glad you enjoy those elements.

  3. This was such a lovely project. I was immediately taken back to Florence, and the special quality of light that is ever present there. Truly remarkable work! Congratulations.

    1. Thank you. Light seems to be a very important aspect of capturing the atmosphere of Tuscany. I’m glad you enjoyed my work.

  4. Abby, this is just beautiful! Great work! Do you plan to continue animating?

    1. Thank you. I would like create future animations, although I do not have any ideas for what to create yet.

  5. Wow! It must took a long time to create the movement in the animation. How does that exactly work? How did you make the animated character walk and show the movement of hair? I hope to see more of your for creation. Best of luck!

    1. Thank you. Each frame of the animation was draw separately by hand. It’s important to think about the movement of the body at each moment. It can be a difficult process to capture correctly.

  6. This is wonderful! The motion is so fluid and the painted scenery is stunning! I was really immersed in watching the character go about her life. Good job 🙂

  7. This really evoked feelings of my summer abroad in Ireland. I often felt a calm, content sense of loneliness, and I think this animation really embodied that. I especially loved the scene of the girl with the birds. Great job, your art is beautiful!

    1. Thank you. I think this sort of travel experience can be felt when traveling to any place so far removed from your home. I’m glad I was able to evoke that feeling.

  8. Congratulations, Abby, for making such a delicate piece of artwork! Watching it in the pandemic reminds me of all the beautiful and precious moments in my life! Thank you so much for making this great anime!

    1. Thank you. In these difficult times, I think things that bring joy are of great importance.

  9. What a beautiful animated video, Abby! It reminds me of my own semester abroad in Salamanca, Spain, many, many years ago. There is nothing quite like the breathtaking experience of being in an entirely new country and culture – and you captured it so well! ¡Felicidades!

    1. Thank you Professor! I’m glad I could evoke that feeling in my work, my hope was that it could resonate with many people’s travel experiences.

  10. Lovely! I know the stones of those pavements and walls and you captured them beautifully. I especially like the sense of quiet your animation portrays. What a great way to recognize the power of places.

    1. Thank you so much! I think capturing these places as they are was a key part of evoking the atmosphere I wanted to create.

  11. Congratulations Abby,
    Thank you for letting us travel not just with you but through your eyes…peacefully, quietly, observantly experiencing a sense of place with all of our senses. Amazing and thoughtful animation and painting!!

    1. Thank you very much Jodi! I’m glad I could convey those feelings in my animation.

  12. Breathtaking! You capturing the moment of flipping through the sketchbook (the artist capturing a moment) was particularly wonderful, though so were the smaller moments that deeply resonated.

    1. Thank you. I really enjoyed working on the sketchbook in particular. It was very reminiscent of my own experiences.

  13. Wonderful and evocative! Such great details — I love the moment when she is in a dark alley or covered area and the pigeons are up under the eaves. It reminds me of those little moments I’ve had when traveling that just can’t be captured by a camera (either because of dim lighting or because it is transient or other reasons), and the way that I try to embed them in my memory — but the animation captures the moment wonderfully.

    1. Thank you. I felt those little moments were important to capture, those are often what stuck with me in my travels.

  14. I enjoyed the crispness of the sound effects and how they enhanced and complemented the beautiful images. Congratulations!

  15. I’m so glad I got to see your animation in Ebert! I kept hearing the footsteps from the animation and assumed someone was walking across the room so I found myself walking over to the monitor where it was showing. I must have watched it 10+ times while setting up my own show and every time I saw it I found a new aspect that drew me in. Awesome work Abby!

    1. Thank you. I put a lot of detail into each frame, so I’m glad that repeated watches bring out more things to enjoy.

  16. I am an independent counselor enjoying my “tour” of the Wooster IS group today. Your animation was beautiful, Abigail. I especially loved how you created backdrops that resembled paintings rather than depicting them to look like the foreground animation. Wonderful memories of central Italia, the Arno; loved the contrast between sparkling 21st-century rapidos and centuries-old landscape. Thank you for sharing–and have a great life!

    1. Thank you so much! Italy is a beautiful place with a distinctive atmosphere. I’m glad I was able to portray that.

  17. Abby, this is such a beautiful work of art. I love the shadows, movements, sounds, and the way you captured the emotion. I enjoyed the various ways you used the sketchbook to show your artist soul. And the colors are amazing! What a happy reminder of my visit while you were in Italy—Florence and Siena (right?). I love that Seraphina showed up (and Aubergine :o). I’m so happy for your amazing accomplishment!

    1. Thanks Mom. The second location is meant to be San Gimignano (The one you can’t pronounce). I’m glad you enjoy it. Love you!

  18. This is amazing! You have really captured the general peace and essence of studying and traveling in Tuscany from abroad. Really impressive work! And if Madonna Hettinger agrees with you, you know you did well! I am excited to see what you create next!

    1. Thank you very much. The atmosphere was the most important to me in this project, so I’m glad I was able to convey it accurately.

  19. Your animation is beautiful, and congratulations on your award! It is definitely well deserved!

  20. I absolutely love the atmosphere you’ve created and the story this piece tells. It’s been fun to see how your art and animation have developed over the past few years. Good job and congratulations!

  21. What a wonderful way to share your journey with us – it takes me back to my trip to Italy! I especially loved the sketchbook scenes where you showed us what you were working on.

    1. Thank you. I’m glad my animation resonated with your own experiences in Italy. The sketchbook scene is a part I am particularly proud of.

  22. Well, you’ve ruined me for watching anything else on my little TV. Nope, the show I’m watching isn’t as emotionally gripping as your film. Nope, this one doesn’t have the gorgeous, pastoral scenery, moments of quiet introspection and tender movement that yours does. Nope, Jason Bourne III: One More Guy to Punch has far too few pigeons not to mention a total lack of fluffy cats (you get the idea).

    Abby, I truly, truly loved it!!!!! (over 9,000 explanation points)

  23. Hi, Abigail, Congratulations on a lovely animated IS project! I was particularly interested in the details of the sounds–even putting her purse strap over her head.

    How many frames did you have to produce?

    Watching this brings back happy memories of trips with my daughters, including one who is a COW Alum (’13) and has been living in New Zealand for 5 years. Like her, I am confident that your COW experience has prepared you for wonderful things.

    Best wishes!

    1. Thank you. I tried to add sounds whenever appropriate. I don’t know the exact number of frames as some of them are repeated, but it’s around 500 or so. Lots and lots!
      It seems my animation has resonated with a lot of people’s travel experiences. I’m glad that my animation was able to capture those feelings.

  24. A truly wonderful project that took me back to walking those streets and seeing those views. A great way to finish out my work week.
    Amazing animation. I would love to see more of your work!

    1. Thank you very much! I’m glad I was able to capture these beautiful locations.

  25. Abigail, this is amazing and beautiful. I love the meaning of the landscape drawing at the end. Would you be open to helping with future College animation projects? Such cool work.

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