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Importance of having a sense of color


Abstract art
Jules Engel Film-maker
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People can say all kinds of things but it either comes out of your gut or if it doesn't, then it's a problem. And I heard people who've been doing people, landscapes and then they say, 'I changed over to abstraction'. No, you can't do that. It has to be there, you know? And it's there from the very beginning. And when people say, 'I changed over to abstraction'... Like somebody, I knew somebody who did it recently because he couldn't sell the portraits, stuff like that. So now he's painting abstractions. It doesn't work that way, because there's nothing you can do about it, if the person wants to make the change, they make the change. But it is something that's just there and you don't have to reach out for it, it's just there. Because I remember when I did my first, so-called abstracts, small pieces, you know? And I had no desire to draw people. That is a problem with the universities. You go there and then you have a class, you have to go and draw the figures, the figures standing up there. It didn't… it just never appealed to me, that's about the second thing, I had enough of that and then I stopped doing that. But no one told you what to do and what not to do. It's something that comes from whatever experience. And that experience with me goes back to high school, you know? So it's either there or it's not there. What happens, as you grow older, it gets refined, it gets better, it has more arms, it has more legs, whatever, you know, it's in motion... the work is in motion, yeah. But it would be very difficult to say, I did that because I saw this. And that... no, it wasn't anything that you saw or anything that you ate, it just… it just comes and there it is, you know?

The late Hungarian-American film-maker Jules Engel is best known for his contribution to the field of animation. His work includes the dance sequences in Walt Disney's 'Fantasia' and the creation of 'Mr Magoo'. His films and lithographs are housed in museums all over the world and have won many awards.

Listeners: Tamara Tracz Bill Moritz

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

William Moritz received his doctorate from USC and pursues parallel careers as filmmaker and writer. His forty-four experimental and animation films have been screened at museums in Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo, among others. He published widely on Oskar Fischinger, James Whitney, Bruce Conner, the Fleischers and 200 pages of animation history for an AbsolutVodka website. He wrote chapters for the "Oxford History of Cinema", appeared in several television documentaries, curated art exhibits and received a lifetime achievement trophy from the Netherlands Royal Academy for his work with visual music. He has served on film festival juries and received an American Film Institute filmmaking grant. His poetry and plays are also performed and published. He is a leading expert of Oskar Fischinger and recently published a biography of him. He teaches at The California Institute of the Arts.

Tags: art, abstract, painting, film, animation, cinematography

Duration: 2 minutes, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008