This week we’re celebrating one of those music videos that meets the song it illustrates in its artistic adeptness, by an animator/musician duo who are veterans to the blog. The video for Giangrande’s alt-folk song “Paper Plane,” was animated by Gianluca Maruotti, with paper-cut illustrations by Felicita Sala.

A tight, paper cut-out piece with the sweetly crafted visual aesthetic of old children’s book illustrations, we caught up with Maruotti in the usual digital fashion these days and he filled us in on the process. “Paper Plane is a stop motion animated music clip, created entirely out of paper (cut out animation). I made this video for a song by talented Italian musician and friend, Massimo Giangrande.

“I had complete creative freedom, and I decided to focus more on the aesthetic and less on the plot. So I created a very simple storyline and a concept that was independent from the lyrics: The clip follows the restless search of a ginger bearded man looking for a loved one. His journey leads him underwater, and even into space. Unfortunately, at the same time, his loved one is looking for him along the same path. They would never meet unless he gives up his quest.”

Maruotti’s choice of paper for this stop motion animation was an easy one for several reasons. “First of all,” he told us, “it was inspired by the same name of the song. Then I was interested in animating Felicita Sala’s drawings which I found simple, child-like but at the same time deep and emotional, and I thought they would fit perfectly with the lightness and nostalgia of the project.

“The main problem I had to face, as often happens, was timing. So, while Felicita was creating all the illustrations of the characters and settings, I started to animate–and that worked pretty well. Opting for paper was in fact also a way to tackle the timing problem. I figured that animating paper would have been less problematic than animating plasticine or other media.

“The only challenging problem I encountered was how to keep the joints and all the elements together. I tried different ways but none of them were convincing, both aesthetically and technically. Then we thought about Blu Tack, which is a sticky reusable paste. So we could keep the pieces together firmly but also move them with no effort and eventually replace them easily.”

We’re fast becoming regular devotees of the work, so we asked Maruotti what we could expect next: “I think my next project will be led by the aesthetic rather than the storytelling. I’d love to just follow the possibilities that the media (may that be paper, plasticine or other) offers and emphasize them.”

For a more in-depth look at the team’s process, check out this behind the scenes footage:

music: Giangrande
album: Beauty at Closing Time
director and animator: Gianluca Maruotti
post/edit: Gabriele Maruotti
producer: Mondocane
made with Dragonframe
© 2018