Bristol School of Animation Student Builds Micro World for Hull City of Culture

UWE Bristol School of Animation student Karolina Bielskytė works with the McGuire’s on their largest installation project to date for Hull City of Culture..

“Created by artists Davy and Kristin McGuire, Micropolis is an impressive world comprised of every conceivable amenity, from gyms to schools, hotels to street lamps and skyscrapers to kebab shops. Painstakingly created out of the rubbish we discard, it replicates everything you’d find in cities all over the world – just in glorious and detailed miniature.”

We caught up with Karolina to find out more…
1.     To start with it would be great to hear about your personal background and how that led to studying animation?
Art and making art have always been a big part of my life. Whilst studying at Kaunas High School of Art in my home country of Lithuania – drawing, painting, sculpture, textile, design, and ceramics were my daily activities. However, I realised that my ideas and knowledge often step over into fine art and I took a Theatre, Performance and Event Design course at the Birmingham City University. This course enabled me to embrace various aspects of performance related design, and to unify different techniques with my traditional art knowledge, and explore a broader range of concepts. I came to study for an MA in Animation at UWE after investigating the relationship between theatre design and technology and noticing that most of the modern theatre performances have a lot of animation involved in their productions. Projection and digital technologies are starting to have a more prevalent and consistent role not only within theatrical productions, but also in exhibitions and advertisement. So, my Animation studies allow me to explore different animation techniques and software, build depth and innovation into my original art and design foundations and most importantly deepen the knowledge of the creative industry and improve my practice to professional levels.
2.     How did you get involved with the McGuire’s Micropolis project? What interested you about their work?
A member of staff from UWE Bristol School of Animation was approached by the McGuire’s studio manager – they were looking for a couple of students that might be interested in an internship opportunity to work on the Micropolis project. My theatre design background and skills gained during the MA Animation course was the perfect fit for the multidisciplinary company that design unique visual experiences through art installations and theatrical projects. I was always passionate about interdisciplinary projects and the mix of different techniques and genres and found the McGuires work really fascinating.
3.    How did you contribute towards the project? What elements did you enjoy most?
I was working on Micropolis – a miniature city made out of cardboard and inhabited by micro-men that has been commissioned by Hull, UK City of Culture 2017. Because the company is run solely by Davy and Kristin it meant that I was involved in every aspect of the production. My duties included designing and making the installation, filming, editing, compositing etc. The project timescale, size, and location required very strong organisation and communication skills, a hands-on approach helped me to quickly develop new skills, broaden my knowledge and identify my strengths and weaknesses. I learned more about different technologies and video projection and that really expanded my creative possibilities. It has also helped me to review my own practice and has inspired my future projects. After the internship I was offered a part-time studio assistant position which is helping me to learn more about the administrative part of their studio as well as oversee their production workflow.
4.     Could you tell us a bit about Hull City of Culture and how Micropolis was part of it?
Micropolis was  part of ‘Land of Green Ginger’, Hull’s community engagement project that was taking place throughout the year of 2017. Land of Green Ginger was presented in the form of a series of ‘Acts of Wanton Wonder’, united under an overarching narrative. The projects were developed and delivered with artists who worked both independently and in collaboration to bring new kinds of art and culture into the neighbourhoods outside the city centre. The Grade II listed Victorian Springhead Pumping Station in Hull was opened to the public in October and over 13,000 people visited Micropolis to explore a bustling city in perfect miniature, built from all corners of ours.
5.     What projects would you like to work on in the future? 
Theatrical, multidisciplinary projects, art installations, projection mapping work, music videos, commercials and live shows. I am interested in mixing different art forms and combining my theatre and performance design knowledge with animation.

Micropolis, Photography by Chris Pepper Micropolis, Photography by Chris Pepper

Micropolis, Photography by Chris Pepper

Micropolis, Photography by Chris Pepper