Adam Beckett (1950-1979), Infinite Animator

Beckett_webI met Adam Beckett at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) in 1971.  He was a talented artist, animator and possessed an eccentric “larger than life” personality.  His work was clearly influenced by 1960s & 1970s counter-culture and erotica.  His output was prodigious considering his brief lifespan (1950-1979) and he was also legendary for his astonishing skills with the animation camera and optical printer, employing techniques which led many to believe he used a computer (which he absolutely did not).  The Iota Center along with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have worked diligently to restore his significant works, which are available in DVD format.  The main part of  “Sausage City” (everything excluding the opening and ending credits) was created using 48 drawings, which were repeated as a loop.  However, on each repetition, Beckett would add more detail to the drawings, so that you can actually see the complex loop evolve.  Given the elaborate detail of the drawings, many days, weeks, months (who knows?) were required to complete the cycle, along with many trips to the animation camera, all while holding off on processing the film until completion.  At least, this is what I remember Beckett telling me!