The Art Within Animation

This speech was written by Jo G10 as part of an English assignment.

So you all know me, I can draw. It’s not a surprise. But you’re probably wondering why I’m standing here today, defending art once again? Well, let’s talk about animation. We’ve seen some phenomenal ones in theatres. And believe me, you’ve at least seen anime. And I’ll assure you, you’ve seen stuff from Cartoon Network! Animation is all over the place! That’s amazing! But here’s the deal. Have you ever wondered: Is animation, art? I do, and maybe some of you would agree. And maybe people here probably think otherwise. So here’s the problem:

Animation is disregarded as an art form, but why?

First, let’s discuss the “art style” of animation. You would be more likely to see animations with a more exaggerated style compared to fine arts. Big eyes, body shapes feel more geometric, vice versa. That’s the appeal of the character design in more Western cartoons. But then, you’ll see people online, in media, who criticize it, calling it the “CalArts” style. It’s a pretty shady term. They use it to accuse cartoons with similar character designs you would more often than not see in cartoons. They say that it’s not art. Then how, exactly, is the development of a character design through geometric shapes and colors any different from modern arts?

People also think the style in cartoons are childish. How, exactly, are they childish? Sure, they may appeal to children audiences, but that doesn’t mean it’s childish, and not art. Its purpose is to appeal to certain audiences through those usages of geometric shapes in characters. This, alongside the “CalArts” excuse, is unreasonable. Appeal and style is part of art. It’s not childish. Anime too!

Heck, this even applies to 3D films as well! Because we’ve been “blinded” by other studios using 3D to appeal to younger audiences, the films for more adult audiences fail to reach them resulting from the mindset of “3D ARE FOR KIDS”. That’s not how it should be! There’s art going on! It’s not that hard to see that the view of the medium shouldn’t be skewed by the target audience to determine whether or not it’s art.

Now, what about the animation?

You’ve watched so many cartoons, and there’s going to be a 100% chance of it having more than one moving frame. How does, apparently, that animated part, discredit it as art? Well, it’s pretty obvious: people choose to ignore the most important aspect in cartoons and judge it based on the style. Tell me: why do we think that? Why do we leave it? If there’s just too many people who think animation is a childish medium for the style, then we’re seriously, crucially, absolutely misunderstood.

Let me just say: the development of animation has more art aspects you guys will ever expect. There are just so much more elements, principles, and concepts of art applied compared to like, Van Gogh! You have backgrounds and color keys, that’s color theory and composition. You have characters, that’s shapes, lines, dynamic, and rhythm. You have animation, and that’s everything in the book. Animation is an optical illusion. But it’s presented as eye candy. It’s art!

It’s capable of presenting self-expression through context. Animation is no different. Not at all! So think, decide, and conclude for yourself, now that I’ve defended it, is animation, art?

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