Andreas Karaoulanis:  The innocent joy of spontaneous messing around

by David Koblesky

In a continued effort to support the various communities and voices within the NFT space comes another crosspost. This post originally appeared here.

Andreas Karaoulanis has been making some joyful animations that you can see, and buy, on hic et nunc.  The piece below, which he calls ‘Kinikilig’ is a great example of what he is doing. 

Andreas Karaoulanis is a veteran animator as you can see in his CV, and I can tell by looking at his work.  He uses After Effects, and his command of the tool is such that these works, which are complex and made of many layers with many different speeds and effects, are simply him ‘messing around’.  This is what comes out of knowing a tool for years.  It becomes part of you and you can use the tool effortlessly, the way an experienced musician plays their instrument.

These works are similar in a general way to Helena Sarin’s recent work which I wrote about a few posts back.  They are motion paintings that feel somewhat in the vein of Abstract Expressionism and/or Collage.  They are rough and look hand made (more on that below) and are grounded in one basic visual layout, which is animated.  But there is not ‘one’ visual layout.  Because this is motion art, it is all fluid and there is no beginning and no end.  They are short, maybe 10-15 seconds, and the work is what unfolds over time as you watch it.  But it has the characteristic of a painting in the sense of there being one coherent set of imagery that changes.  Making a still gives you no sense of what the art really is.

How this one coherent set of motion imagery is determined is a spontaneous decision making process by the artist.  I am sure that when Jackson Pollock started to throw paint around he had an idea of what he wanted to do, but in the act of doing it new ideas emerged and in the end it became something new.  That is what this work feels like:  Andreas adds a shape, then another, then another, then animates them a bit, changing it, adding another shape, etc.  In then end when he felt at one moment that is was right.  

This has nothing to do with narrative.  It has to do with what feels right in those 10-15 seconds and how the motion and imagery work together.  Andreas is a pure instinctual animator in the way he creates the motion.  Things appear and disappear and move a little bit here and a little bit there, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes jagged.  In the end it all feels right.  And it is enjoyable to watch for as many times as you want…3, 4, 7, 10, who is counting?  And since there is no beginning and end who can tell?  It just is there moving in front of you.

I love the rough quality of the imagery.  It looks hand drawn, but I am guessing he just created it all inside of After Effects.  After Effects is a deep tool and all this imagery can easily be created inside of it.  That is part of what makes it spontaneous: he did not need to draw something on paper and then scan it and import it and so on, which can be slow and tedious and prevent the kind of ‘messing around’ that Andreas mentions on the title of his hic et nunc page.

Seeing work like this makes me feel that I am seeing what someone like Joseph Cornell or Man Ray or Robert Motherwell or Jasper Johns or whoever would have made if they had After Effects.  Or not.  Because they were static artists, and Andreas Karaoulanis is a new kind of artist, a Motion Artist.  An artist who thinks in motion.


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