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Why color co-ordination matters


Importance of having a sense of color
Jules Engel Film-maker
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It is beautiful, I mean, that that UPA [United Productions of America] a large presence. And again, you see, this is what's so weird about it, is where did that came from? I could say many things, but none of them would be really right. It just came and when I looked at other art works, naturally, the early Kandinsky's or looking at Kandinsky's, mostly Mondrian, was very simple but all primary colors, it's not… it's no big deal. But Kandinsky's was very... lot of complex, lot of problems and a lot of action on the canvas. And he was working with color. And you're aware of that. But not where you want to copy a Kandinsky or anything like that. But it turns you around, you know, in a way that you have no choice. And when you've made those turns, you know, it comes naturally. It doesn't come with... you're not forcing anything, it just comes naturally. I really don't have any way of talking about color because something horrendous happened that changed it all. It just came slowly and it was there all the time and then it's just a question for putting it on the paper. You see it but... Some people have a color sense and some people don't have any color sense, they just don't. It's like you either have body rhythm or you don't have body rhythm, it's the same thing with color, you know? And just recently a very dear friend of mine, very good animator and idea... you know, all that stuff is good. But everything is black and white, everything he was drawing, because he had problem with color. Now, what are you going to tell the man? How do you change that? I had one book and I had it for a long time. Pages after pages of colors and combinations of colors, so before he went back to Germany, I gave him that book. Because he could go… If he can make himself look into the damn thing and when he does his work, look into that book and find colors and say, this with that or you know... then he can, I think he can improve. But, to a large extent, you either have a color sense or you don't have a color sense. And you can work at it and work at it and get better. But it's like rhythm, you either have rhythm or you don't have rhythm. And color is the same thing. But with color you can borrow, you can borrow from other paintings. You look at other paintings and say, 'Oh, look at the color stuff, this is good, I can use that'. You can do that. Maybe with that you can grow, you can grow. But don't think it's going to come out of you if it's not already there. If it's not already there, then go for the books and look at this painter's work. Paul Klee is good. Paul Klee is, oh my God, he's a terrific colorist. And borrow, borrow, borrow.

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: Wassily Kandinsky

Duration: 3 minutes, 38 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008