Houston Animators (and Two of Art Attack's 100 Creatives) Team Up for Webcast

In the course of Art Attack's 100 Creatives series, we've had but two animators. Sophia Vassilakidis is a Houston native recently home from Canada who has made her mark locally by animating some of the truly disturbing music that Two Star Symphony has been putting out lately. Their album Titus Andronicus was like watching the corpse of David Lynch twitch at the end of a violin string.

Meanwhile, Ibis Fernandez has stayed right here in Houston, though he too dreams of moving to America's hat in order to further his animation career. Fernandez won over the Art Attack staff when we learned he'd worked on Freakazoid, maybe the most unsung of Saturday morning cartoons. He's also an author and software designer promoting tools to help the self-employed animator.

After meeting in our digital pages, the two have now decided to host a live Webcast called Tradigital Animator every Monday. The name is no doubt a joke by the two, who made it very clear when we interviewed them both that they had no desire to work in 3D animating, and instead preferred the beauty of traditional ink and pen.

The show is an extension of Flashfilmmaker.com, Fernandez's Web site featuring animation news, reviews, tutorials and other tools for those interested in the craft. At its height, the Web site received over a million hits on a daily basis, but its popularity has been in decline for several years.

"For a while now, I've been thinking of a way to generate interest in the community again, and wanting to get into Webcasting, following the lead of groups like Twit.tv and revision3.org," Fernandez tells Art Attack. "With this project, most of all, I'm looking to gain experience in producing live interactive content as well as distributing via all the latest channels such as mobile device market places. Eventually I'd like to create a network of Webcasts on a variety of topics including politics, thrifty living, science, tech and immigration."

Fernandez had been seeking a co-host for quite some time with no luck. When he read about the many things he and Vassilakidis had in common in the practice of their art, he contacted her to offer her the position.

"I didn't want to look like a complete moron just talking to himself," Fernandez says jokingly.

Though the two currently have no plans to collaborate artistically beyond the Webcast, both hope that bringing more attention to the art form will garner some more interest in independent animation. Vassilakidis is slated for more video from Two Star Symphony, one of Houston's more enduringly popular acts.

Meanwhile, Fernandez is also continuing to find work. He is currently in talks with another son of Houston for a joining of voices. Jonathan Caouette, the award-winning director of Tarnation who famously went to the Cannes Film Festival with a movie that cost less than $300 to make using iMac software, has been speaking with Fernandez about working with him on segments in his latest film. Fernandez has also been approached by several local musicians interested in animated music videos.

Independent animation is a tough row to hoe, but more and more power is being put in the hands of people to shape their own destinies. Not only is Tradigital Animator being used to showcase the skills of its two talented founders, it's also a tool for others to expand the scope and reach of their work. Houston's animation community may currently be small, but here's hoping we'll see it grow.

Tradigital Animation airs Mondays at 6 PM.

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