Young Mother Nature

Young Mother Nature


Film Synopsis

Young Mother Nature is based on audio recordings with my daughter Lea, and explores the process children use to discover the world by transforming it with their imaginations. I found the imaginative play of my daughter to be one of the enduring mysteries of being a parent and also one of its greatest joys. This animation offered me the chance to capture and preserve an artifact of her personality and creative expression. It also was an opportunity to capture our relationship as father and daughter, through the playful exchanges we shared as we took a walk in the park. By examining her imaginative transformations, I was also able to better understand my own creative processes and use this knowledge to inform my work. In Young Mother Nature I try to celebrate her process of creativity and help the viewer share this experience of discovery through play.

Project Team

Graduate Researcher – MFA Thesis Project
Steve Conroy
 - Completed in 2011

Faculty Advisors
Alan Price, committee chair
Maria Palazzi, committee member
Dr. Amy Shuman, committee member

Production Notes

While Young Mother Nature is an computer-generated animation, my goal was to have it evoke the world of children's art and art made for children. I wanted the environment of the animation to feel as if Lea had built a physical representation of the stories she was creating. Thick hand painted textures, some scanned from paintings created by Lea, scribbled pencil eyes and the lumpy art houses attempt to convey to joy of children exploring paint, drawn lines and clay. The 2D cutout vegetation and pop-up structures recall the illustrations of Eric Carle and children's popup books. Young Mother Nature was created using Maya and After Effects software.

A parent and child walk through a colorful cartoon forest
Cartoon ants, a squirrel, and a dog occupy a cartoon paper-cutout environment

Director's Bio

Stephen Conroy received his MFA from the Digital Animation and Interactive Media program in the Design Department of The Ohio State University in 2011. Young Mother Nature is one of two thesis films which explore using animation to capture the imaginative play of children. Steve also received a BFA in Art and Technology from The Ohio State University and, many years earlier had received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University. Steve is currently an independent animator living in Columbus, Ohio.

View more of Stephen’s work on his website.

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