“Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” (makeup post)

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared is a video short created by Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling of the London-based THIS IS IT Collective.  I found the video via a post on motionographer.com by Brandon Walter Irvine.  His post interviews the artists about their experiences and aims with the piece.

Post: http://motionographer.com/2011/08/12/black-swan-meets-sesame-street/

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scaredhttp://vimeo.com/27003856

Brandon Walter Irvine was spot-on in describing Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared as “Black Swan meets Sesame Street”.  The video features odd characters and a talking sketchbook in a room constructed primarily of felt.  The sketchbook urges the puppets to “get creative” and suggests ways to do this.  However, when one puppet begins to make a painting of a clown, the talking sketchbook responds, “Whoa there, friend. You might need to slow down!”  This reaction seems odd from such an enthusiastic sketchbook, and makes you start to wonder what exactly this weird video is about.  From this point on the video becomes increasingly odd and increasingly macabre, as the characters “get creative” with a chunk of viscera that resembles a heart.  It ends with the talking sketchbook saying, “Now let’s all agree to never be creative again.”

Talking Sketchbook!

Felt Room and Puppets

sketchbook disapproves

I was intrigued by the take on creativity that this piece presented.  Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared exhibited common and immature forms and sources of creativity (looking for shapes in the clouds) initially, and more unconventional and shocking forms of creativity near the end (mutilation of a hunk of meat).  This seems to reflect the flexibility and extremely broad definition of “creativity”.  The talking sketchbook’s limiting comments (“Green is not a creative color.”) evoked consideration of potentially arbitrary and unnecessary limitations that we place on our creative processes.  The title of the piece is also reminiscent of limitations and fears.

Getting Creative!

more (macabre) creativity

The transformations of the characters were also quite interesting.  At the beginning, the characters are puppets made of felt.  When they start to “get creative”, they become computer generated 3D characters.  Then they become life-like, each played by a masked and costumed person.  Finally, the characters return to their felt puppet forms at the end of the piece.  These transitions are very effective, with each form crafted convincingly and matching the present mood of the video.  I had never given much thought to integrating such disparate materials into a single piece, but Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared does so quite successfully.

3D characters!

LIfe-like characters

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