“what is art?” #16 – Kelly Gallagher and animation

Animation is a type of art that challenges the beholder to define what it is and what it can be. A majority of individuals claim animation is the art that can be mostly found within Pixar, Anime, Cartoon Network, etc. However, animation is an art that fits a wide array of moving image styles. Yesterday I dropped in on the foundation 4D Studio course lecture to find out more from the young and wise artist, Kelly Gallagher

Based in Syracuse, New York, Gallagher is an experimental filmmaker who focuses on pushing the boundaries of the term “animator”. Gallagher creates her pieces with cut out collages, 16mm found/”confiscated” footage, 16mm clear leader, oil paint, etc. She finds it more joyful to create her work with her hands rather than digitally. In her lecture, she explained her initial interest in animation was based on its visible labor. She enjoys how animations display the long and challenging process and how it proves the investment of an artist to portray that story. Gallagher additionally enjoys the production of creating work with low technology materials. She attempts “to call attention to form and accessible practices for filmmakers” by using readily available tools to prove that anyone can create art and a discussion just like her. She even talked to us college students about how she uses a 10+ year old Nikon camera and a DIY rig/animation set up to create her widely known films. It was exciting to hear this news because today I feel like we are constantly being pressured into buying new technology to be the best artist we can be. However, in actuality, Gallagher challenges this idea and proves what we create isn’t defined by those products but in turn how we use them to our advantage. 

Kelly Gallagher addresses political questions and issues as well as stories of resistance through her animation. She looks to explore how to use film as a tool “to re-open, re-discuss, re-discover forgotten or untold histories” and use it as a means of confrontation. She believes she can create an impact with her thrilling visuals and get more to be involved with the topics she brings to light. One of my favorite moments Gallagher shared with us is when she told us her art is inspired by “love+rage”. Love for the art. Rage for the fire inside of her that wants to share these hidden stories. 

Kelly Gallagher is an extraordinary creator and brilliant speaker. After the lecture, you could see the eyes lit with a curiosity about what animation can be. Gallagher’s work challenges the way we see what animation is and also inspires others to investigate further how they can make their own. Animation itself pushes boundaries of its terminology and is an example of how art labels can be widely interpreted and not limited to the conventional kind. 

For more information on Kelly Gallagher visit her website or vimeo page!





sophomore studying Art & Design looking to start a conversation this semester about what art is, what it may be, what it can be, etc., in hopes to expand people's knowledge on how art consumes our lives

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