A sea of pulsating volcanoes mark the beginning of Alice Saey’s animated music video for Careful by Jo Goes Hunting.
It is a sign of things to come, and a wonderful array of scenes follow this, all linked in a near allegorical tale surrounding the misuse of natural resources. “On the borderless map of a magical planet, little beings pick, brush, weave, fish and collect elements from their natural environment to sustain their life as a group,” says Alice. “This essential balance turns to chaos once they misuse their findings to polish their individual appearance.”
The film provides a real visual spectacle, with multiple scenes playing at once within small circular sections of the screen, something that Alice says represents a “magnifying glass view.” When watching the film you find yourself studying one small section intently, only to realise that there is so much going on elsewhere too. This is because Alice doesn’t intend for the film to be digested in one viewing: “There’s only so much the eye can process at once; the video is meant to be watched several times.”
Alice, who is Franco-Scottish, is based in Rotterdam. Before moving into animation she tried her hand at a number of disciplines, including graphic design, painting and illustration. She explains to us that she “felt oddly underwhelmed by the finality of drawing. I’d think one image wasn’t enough – which is ridiculous since most of my inspirations are painters and illustrators.” With this in mind, there was only ever one medium for her: “I started gravitating around the most time-consuming medium ever. In animation, being able to play with drawing, time and sound felt so magical to me.”
Alice has quite a particular style that she tries to adhere to, doing away with three dimensions and depth in favour of a flat approach to space. She also tries to embrace imperfections in her work, something that she feels has been informed by her self-taught methods. “My visual style relies on line work drawn with brushes, and a taste for bold, non-naturalistic colours,” she explains. “I animate on paper, which makes the line unpredictable and vibrant. You can only be so perfect on paper; a big part of it is dealing with surprising accidents and building on them.”