Clay that blows you away

By - Sep 10th, 2009 03:15 pm


A contemplative Wells in Door County. Photo courtesy of Katherine Immel

A contemplative Wells in Door County. Photo, courtesy of Katherine Immel.

Milwaukee Art Museum’s theme of “Art Lives Here” can be truly inspirational, not only for the museum itself, but for the people who live here. But what happens when art and artistry become one? Is it possible for the artist to live within his art?

Isaiah Wells thinks so. A UWM film student, Isaiah wanted to build something with a WOW factor — a masterpiece, something he could be proud to put in his portfolio. In his animation class last semester, he constructed a five-minute clay animation short film, Blow Ye Winds. The story begins in the famous whaling town of New Bedford, MA,  where a group of sailors hear news about whaling for blubber and are fitted to board a clipper ship and set out to sea.

But as the deadline for Isaiah’s project grew near, his original plan slightly changed due to desperation.  “I literally co-existed with the set of ‘Blow Ye Winds,’ which took over my dining room and living room floor for an entire semester,” he states. Keep in mind that this project was for one class. With a 15-hour course load and a full-time job occupying much of his time, all Isaiah really hoped for was to finish the arduous project and move on. But something magical happens when an artist lives with their art for some time.

On the set, also known as Isaiah's living room. Photo courtesy of Isaiah Wells

On the set, also known as Isaiah's living room. Photo, courtesy of Isaiah Wells.

Isaiah got inspired. With the encouragement of his UWM animation professor Tim Decker, he decided to submit his film for review in the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.

“People can love it or hate it, take something from it or leave it, become inspired by it or not; regardless of their experience with Blow Ye Winds, I have extended out to them an opportunity for their own personal relationship with my piece,” he theorizes.

As a reward for putting his work on the line, Isaiah learned that his piece was accepted into the festival. “I can’t explain it exactly because it was such a monumental feeling. I would say, imagine something that you would want to be recognized for, some instance where you have vigorously dedicated time, effort and heart. It felt like that.”

With the short film festival quickly approaching, Isaiah now sees that his once-lagging project may just catapult his career to heights unknown.

Isaiah Wells’ animation, Blow Ye Winds will premiere on Saturday, September 12 at 1 p.m. at the Lubar Auditorium in the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The clay cast of Blow Ye Winds. Photo courtesy of Isaiah Wells.

The clay cast of Blow Ye Winds. Photo, courtesy of Isaiah Wells.

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