Art, Article of the Day, Film

Before digital motion graphics, there was Oskar Fischinger

AN OPTICAL POEM (1938)

As I merged into investigating more about the process Mr. Fischinger (well known for being the first in inventing abstract musical animations) went through to accomplish the genius behind An Optical Poem, it turns out he found himself in unemployment, condemned to create films like this on his own. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer never called him back after he delivered this animation, and although Walt-Disney saw for his consultancy on Fantasia, he was uncredited. Probably out of frustration, 5 films later Mr. Fischinger became an oil painter only. I only wonder how different this is from today’s employability of motion graphics artists…

Here is a more detailed fragment of the history behind this piece, copied from tcm.com :

Oskar Fischinger’s contract with MGM contained an option for the studio to commission the animator for more films, but a financial dispute put a quick end to any such notion. Citing high overhead costs, the studio said that An Optical Poem did not earn a profit at the box-office. Given the low budget that Fischinger was paid to begin with, the lack of profit participation meant that the artist made no money whatsoever from the film. Moritz wrote that Fischinger went to the studio and confronted an accountant, who “…threatened to smash Oskar with a typewriter that he raised above his head. Oskar began to defend himself, and he was arrested and jailed on ‘assault and battery’ charges.” The artist was exonerated, but certainly the incident did little to help him get more mainstream assignments in Hollywood.

The process is somehow explained from paragraphs three to five.

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