You know when you’re at a restaurant and you’re so hungry you briefly consider ordering everything on the menu? And when you finally decide you become part bobbing Meerkat/part human every time the waiter walks even remotely in your direction? Then, finally, your meal arrives and you know you’ve made the right choice: it’s beautiful, it’s the reason why there’s Instagram, it’s a work of art, it’s almost too good to eat.
This encapsulates everything I was feeling when I arrived at PLY in Manchester’s Northern Quarter after a long day at work. But I wasn’t meeting friends and I wasn’t there for the set menu. Strictly speaking, I wasn’t even there for food. Instead, I tripped along to PLY, a bright new bar and restaurant, to take part in an animation workshop led by New York-based artist Andrew Salomone.
An experimental artist who works with traditional art and craft processes informed by technology, Salomone is a dab hand at animation. On the evening I went, the workshop launched Ravenous Apparitions, a bespoke pizza-based installation (yes, you read that correctly) and eight week exhibition at PLY. The Pizzoetrope project makes ingenious use of record decks and strobe lighting to create an optical illusion of motion – think a zoetrope meets contemporary cool.
Once through the doors, I was greeted with a funky cocktail compliments of sponsor Absolut Vodka and was seated at my ‘work station’. There were a few people already beavering away, head down cutting shapes with mounds of felt in front of them. Salomone came over to welcome the new arrivals and explained what we had to do. Using the slip mats made of felt, we had a chance to create our own animation for the decks hidden away in a dark room. Salomone advised us on how to create the most effective but efficient looking animations, and offered cookie cutters as stencils (among them palm trees, rockets and babies) although we were free to create our own shapes. And we were off.
A few minutes and two cocktails later (I wondered how the combination of scissors and alcohol would fare) I finished my animation of a red running fox against a blue background. Then we took to the decks to give it a spin (see what I did there), and by jove it worked! As I extended my hand to thank Salomone for his brilliant insight and enjoyable workshop, he stopped me short and said: “You still need to make one on a pizza.”
Back at my workstation, I returned to Meerkat stance until a pizza base arrived, then proceeded to create another animation, this time fashioning shapes out of peppers. It was tricky and looked almost too good to eat…almost.
This workshop was a delicious taster of Salomone’s two installations at PLY. The first saw Salomone building a pizza using polymer clay and another made out of disco record sleeve cut-outs. These Pizzoetrope installations will rotate continuously on the decks for the rest of the month. Do you fancy grabbing a pizza tonight? I know a place.
By Kate Morris
Where: PLY, Northern Quarter, Manchester
When: until August 30, 2015