Mathias Poledna’s: Imitation of Life has over 5,000 handmade sketches, layouts, animation, and ink rendered frame by frame that to eventually lead into a short animation. It is a 35mm color film with optical sound and 35 mm frame enlargement. You can see he rendered this spectacular background with watercolor while the foreground is this simplistic and vibrant shapes. The cartoon is portrayed to be in the Biennale gardens and is about three minutes long of a donkey in a sailor suit having adventures in nature that mimics Disney’s cartoons.

Poledna’s subject matter is representational colorful, whimsical, child-like cartoon. Using watercolor in his work, it gives a sense of realness to the cartoon. Almost like it contradicts one another having a simplified cartoon combined with a lovely, rendered nature in the background. You can see in the image how Poledna carefully added a variety of values with watercolor that gives the cartoon depth. He managed to create textures, which is present if you look closely at the bark of the tree or the bushes in the back. The focal point is the brightly drawn cartoon quills that are not rendered much like the background but rather are outlined with bold black lines that draws your eyes right to it. The quills are drawn much more differently from the nature scene where Mathias made sure it demands attention.

Poledna wanted to recreate the artwork much like Disney’s cartoons. It is a fun and whimsical approach that intrigues people of all ages and suppose to be around the time of the Great Depression. This artwork is safe and causes no controversial issues but is culturally significant because everyone likes to be able to escape the real world and observe a world much happier than their own with no starvation, disease, depression, etc. It gives people a chance to think more optimistically and temporarily ignore the negativity. In fact, the watercolor background gives an impression of a soft look, like everything is safe. It is similar to the Rocco style period, where everything is perfect. It’s impressive for the 1930s to 1940s time period to have this type of technology to create a motion picture artwork come alive.

Overall, this artwork is what I consider to be good due to it’s beautifully contrast of rendered nature and simplistic cartoons. I’m drawn to the vibrant colors and whimsical atmosphere the artwork brings. It reminds me of simpler times when I was younger where there is no presence of stress, obligations, and life is to be enjoyable and carefree.



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    Erin Ferguson

    A senior at Lander University. Visual Arts major with an emphasis of Graphic Design. I'm excited to blog all my adventures that I will encounter in Italy!


    June 2013