I cursed these legs I walked on

We are fans of Department of Eagles (featuring Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen). We are also both fans of Marcel Dzama, who, with Patrick Daughters (the brain behind the Two Weeks video) directed the video for Department of Eagles’s song “No One Does It Like You.”

The new work, which premiered recently at the Museum of Modern Art, is animated by Dzama’s alternately sweet and dark preoccupations.  A clash between Eastern Front snowman infantry and ninja ballerina terrorists, bearing AK-47s and baring thighs, forms the centerpiece of the video. All the visuals are familiar: the uniforms, the flags, the skirts and stockings, the rifles, the leafless clawlike trees, the bedsheet ghosts, amputations and arterial sprays. Steeped in a palette of blood red and cloudy root-beer neutrals, the frame full of eerie blurs and grainy textures, the whole thing feels pitched halfway between reverie and nightmare. A skewed meditation on death. An apocalyptic fairy-tale that, in weaving a childish innocence with tokens of the past and images of violence, stands up as quintessential Dzama.

Meet the soft-spoken artist. Below, you can catch some behind-the-scenes glances at the choreography and costumes. Blue-screen tricks and handmade props abound.

intimate, bittersweet style

marceldzama_studio_smallMarcel Dzama’s studio space. Vanity Fair.  December 2006

After leaving college, I like many of my friends have found it hard to continue doing our own work. Whether it is lack of space, materials, time, etc. there are many reasons that may interfere with the development of our art and craft. For me, it’s all of the above as well as the lingering thought that what I will make is not good enough, not serious enough, not thought out enough…. Well the fact is, I don’t have to present this in front of faculty, I’m not on a crazy deadline so what am I so afraid of? Like I tell my kids, you gotta make “bad” art to make good art. You have to start somewhere even if it’s a doodle.

So I’m excited that some of us are getting together to collaborate a little. Being assigned projects and having other people work along with you is a huge motivator. Hopefully we can continue to do this and get others to join in. I tore out this magazine page awhile ago (horrible, horrible tearing skills. I must of been impatient) and to me, it captures beautifully the spirit of making. Go create!