Interview: Winston Hacking

First the basic introduction – can you tell who are you, where are you coming from and what are you doing?

I am a filmmaker/animator and collage artist from Canada. Right now I am working on an animation mix-tape of sorts, an anthology of different pieces that explore my subconscious. Right now the title is “Electric Eye Wash” and it should be out by next summer and it will have an amazing soundtrack.

How did you start to do collages? And then, how did you start to animate your collages?

I lived with a bunch of talented collage artists 10 years ago – they did posters for noise/punk shows, tape/album releases etc. I liked how accessible it was for someone like me who lacks drawing/painting skills. I began to see the potential of adding movement to my collages just by having previous experience puppeteering things and using a green screen. I decided that I didn’t have patience for stop-motion so I came up with a way to create the illusion of animation through puppeteering paper against green screen.

What your art and collaging means to you?

It is mostly a distraction/ brain exercise to keep me somewhat focused during the day. I always call it a puzzle that only I know how to put together, but for whatever reason I know when all the pieces are in place.

I saw Andy Shauf’s The Magician music video you animated. I was blown away by the video’s beautiful storytelling and melancholic tone. When you start to work a new animation project, how do you approach your subject? How much do you plan it upfront?

I don’t think there is a shred of storytelling in there, but perhaps you created your own narrative and found your own connections between images – I always find that fascinating. I do little planning, if a collaborator wants to see where I am headed I will make some collages, but for the most part I am trying to do work that comes together shot by shot, changing on a whim depending on my mood or what ideas pop into my head. I am shooting each collage element separately and then collaging each element in after effects and adobe premiere, so my work is collage the whole way through. To storyboard everything would be the antithesis of the sporadic nature of my collage.

What connection do you have to your work? Do you want your viewers to understand or know why you made them?

I don’t think about the imagery I select, again I am trying to let the subconscious make the decisions. I am usually more interested in what others take away from the work, or what it conjures up in their own mind.

How much do you process your artworks while not actually working them?

I keep a notepad and I am constantly writing down observations – for example a piece of a sign flapping in the wind will spark an idea, that sort of thing. I am always paying attention to the way things move.

What influences you as an artist? And how do things influence you?

The same guys I lived with ages ago and other people from Toronto who are collage artists are definitely people I pull inspiration from. Andrew Zukerman, Mangopeeler, Michael Comeau, Seth Scriver all top notch collage artists and animators.

What are your favorite source materials? How do you find them?

The goodwill bin warehouse – I have said too much! I have friends in Japan (Daijiro Hama) that occasionally mail me some amazing material.

You have done a lot of music-related animations, what would be your dream project?

I guess this is where people usually say a collaboration with one of their idols, but honestly I feel fortunate to have worked freely on many commissioned projects. My dream projects have nothing to do with collage animation – probably running some sort of sculpture garden / mini put out in the countryside.

If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?


Winston Hacking around the internet: