April 8, 2014
His short films have been accepted into Sundance twice.
He’s a member of the New York Times Op-Docs team.
His work appears regularly on Vanity Fair magazine online.
He does animation for major clients across the country
—and he lives on Whidbey.
Drew Christie, 29, runs the animation studio and store Kalakala Co. in Langley Village with his partner Amanda Moore. He’ll be at The Clyde Theatre in Langley at 1 p. m. on Sunday April 13 to share a selection of his favorite animations and answer your questions about where he gets his ideas and how he does his work.
Christie’s animated shorts run the gamut in style, theme, and technique. Some look like “Wanted” posters from the Old West; others have a more surreal bent. Subject matter? Whales, Mark Twain, musician JJ Cale, drones, proper etiquette for swinger’s parties and eels as a more historic Thanksgiving dinner—you just can’t predict where Drew’s pen will land. Here’s one of his favorites at https://vimeo.com/32711338
Christie was born and brought up in Issaquah back when coal-mining was still a focus of the town. He was only able to graduate from high school through the intervention of a teacher who made it possible for him to just do art all day. He won his first prize for a video at Bumbershoot when he was still in high school, before heading off to college at Evergreen, a hotbed for animators.
Christie’s been able to work as an animator and illustrator ever since he left college. His career took a big jump when Song of the Spindle was chosen for Sundance in 2012. A New York Times editor saw it and suggested he become a member of their online Op-Docs Team http://www.nytimes.com/video/op-docs/. That exposure led to his drawing and animating an online series for Vanity Fair magazine as well. A second film, Allergy to Originality was accepted at Sundance in 2014. Both films will be in the hour-long “Films & Filmmakers” event at The Clyde.
“We attribute this success to luck,” Moore insisted, but she added, “Drew is the hardest working and most prolific animator I know. I think the more obsessed you are, the more likely you are to be successful.”
All I want to do when I wake up is draw,” Drew said. “And I think it’s as important to have the storyteller gene as to be able to draw pictures. Lots of extremely talented animators don’t know how to tell a story.”
Christie uses a variety of old and new techniques in his work depending on the effects he wants and the time constraints of the job. Some animations are hand drawn directly into the computer frame by frame. Sometimes he draws on paper, scans his work, and uses various animation programs to get the effects he wants. Sometimes he cuts up drawings into sections like a puppet, scans them, and then makes them move on the computer. His work ends up not just in his own projects and online for the Times and Vanity Fair, but also as inserts in documentaries and in ads. He’s currently working on a series of films based on his book “Strange Americans: An Illustrated Collection of Weird People from American History.”
Christie and Moore moved to Langley for its thriving cultural community and the sense that they had more space to create there. Plus, Christie said, “I love islands. I feel like I appreciate people more on an island.” Their shop in downtown Langley is a place to watch his animations for free, take a workshop in animation or stock up on tea towels, tee-shirts, cards and artwork in Christie’s inimitable style.
More information about Drew Christie’s appearance at The Clyde Theatre on Sunday April 13 can be found at www.theclyde.net. Admission will be $7 or just $5 for those under 17 or over 65. The box office will open at 12:30 p.m. for the 1 p.m. show. No advance tickets will be sold.