A Skate Video Done in Watercolor, Frame by Frame


Matthew Box transforms ordinary skate footage by rendering each frame as  a watercolor painting, and then putting them all together in a flowing animation. Here, Box captures the unique style of Jason Dill, and shares his plans for the series in a brief interview below.

The Atlantic: What was the inspiration for the video? 

Matthew Box: I've always wanted to create an expressive skate film, but never had the ability or equipment to create one. I come from a do-it-yourself punk background through putting on alternative music shows. I always loved how the same D.I.Y. ethic exists in skateboarding. I decided to make my own skate video using paint and paper. Within skateboarding the emphasis on personal style is increasing. 

It's not just about the tricks you can do; it’s how you do them. I wanted to isolate the skateboarder from his surroundings, thus forcing the viewer to concentrate solely on the subtlety of movement. I chose Dill for the first episode because his style is very individual and recognizable. 

How did you develop this technique?

It’s an old animation technique called rotoscoping, but I didn't know that at the time though. It's essentially tracing over stills of footage. While I was experimenting with this technique I used different colors and really enjoyed how it had a psychedelic feel. That's when I came up with the name Acid Drops for the project. It was a lot of painting but I'm kind of an amateur insomniac. It gave me something to do when I couldn't sleep and it's quite addictive seeing something you've painted come to life.

What's next for you?

I want to do more Acid Drops episodes; I've got quite a few skateboarders I admire that I want to see in paint. I also want to delve into other moving image media such as music videos and short films. I'm also starting a skate-inspired art print and clothing label called Unreal-Estate soon.

For more work by Matthew Box, visit http://mattbox.co.uk/

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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