Drawing from the architecture of the M+ Museum in Hong Kong, filmmaker Tsz-wing Ho’s short form-based animation & More depicts the building as not just a defined institution but as an ever-flowing, abstract object. Watching Tsz-wing’s work unfold, we witness a deconstruction of shape and form, breaking down the literal understanding of architecture into something more conceptual. One of my favourite aspects of the film is that, whilst much of the animation has a smooth, relaxing feel, there’s a tactile scratchiness embedded into the imagery too which gives the piece a more personal sensibility. Tsz-wing Ho joins DN once more, after our conversation at the end of last year about her general creative practice, to discuss the making of & More and the challenge she faced in breaking down the engineering of the M+ Museum into something much more loose and hypothetical.

What was the genesis for & More as a project?

& More is a 2D digital animation completed for my group assignment during college study. We chose the M+ museum building as the theme of our animation as it is the largest museum of modern and contemporary visual culture in Hong Kong which is also the new landmark in the West Kowloon Cultural District.

In order to get a grasp of the museum’s look and shape did you visit and take sketches or photos?

When we were creating the film, the M+ museum building was closed because of the outbreak of COVID-19. Therefore, we were unable to visit the interior design of the museum. Instead, we collected information on the internet for the characteristics of interior design inside the museum. We also conducted the site visit and took photo records of external architectural elements of the museum building, for example, the bamboo-like tiled facade and the concrete materials.

We perceive a museum as more than just a museum, we look at it as an object itself.

What elements from that examination ended up impacting the form of your animation the most?

We chose the most outstanding three characteristic aspects of the M+ architectural design which are the shape of the M+ building, the bamboo tiled facade and the spiral staircase. The features of the M+ building are simplified and transformed into geometric shapes such as cylinders, cuboids and spheres making those objects animated conveniently and effectively. After several experiments, we combined those elements to construct a visual narrative that continues to develop downward. Also, the animation is made in monochrome which is the main color tone we found in the M+ museum.

Did your perspective on the museum change whilst you were animating?

While we were drawing and animating the shape of the M+ building, we figured out the theme. The film aims to challenge the fundamental definition of a museum. We perceive a museum as more than just a museum, we look at it as an object itself. So we consider the relationship between objects and their nature in our material world. Everything begins with simple elements. For example, the M+ building is formed by cuboids at the beginning of our film.

What software did you create the film in and how long were you working on it for?

The project is completed in Photoshop, Procreate and After Effects. It took three months to complete. We drew objects in Procreate and Photoshop. Then, we applied the concrete texture that we took photos of the stairs and walls in the M+ museum on the drawn elements. Inserting those elements into After Effects for editing to synchronize with sound and finalizing the work.

Thanks to the inconsistency brought by scratchy textures, everything is unique in my creations.

What drew you to draw the shapes and forms of the film with a tactile, almost scratchy texture?

I love drawing objects with scratchy textures because it feels like a hand-drawn style, unlike computer-generated graphics that only bring us neat lines and perfect shapes. Thanks to the inconsistency brought by scratchy textures, everything is unique in my creations. Therefore, I use scratchy textures to highlight the uniqueness of the hand-drawn style which is the imperfection of hand-drawn objects. It makes the animation feel more alive and natural.

What do you enjoy about creating animation and abstract art in general?

I love expressing my feelings and thoughts through making art. Colors and shapes are my language to communicate with people. It builds a connection between me and my audience. Also, I love exploring the possibilities and beauties of abstract art by doing the experiments with different combinations of colors and objects. The experiments usually bring me unpredicted results.

You last mentioned to us that you were working on a five-minute animation about a mysterious galaxy, how’s that coming along? Are you working on anything else?

The animation is finished and titled SHAPES. It has been screened at several film festivals like Anifilm 2024. The animation was awarded the Special Mention under the category of Experimental competition at the 19th Athens Animfest 2024. I am grateful for this honor. Apart from making my new film, I am still a freelance 2D animator working on concert visuals and commercials. I am open to any opportunity and willing to collaborate with other artists and musicians.

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