A few months ago we profiled Darren Pearson, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and light painting artist. In talking about his process, Pearson revealed that he has to function simultaneously as a photographer, painter, anthropologist, paleontologist, and adventurer, amongst other things. At the time, he was deep into a very time-consuming project: moving his light paintings beyond .gifs and into the realm of true animation.
Ultimately, it took Pearson one year to shoot and animate what is a mind-bending one-minute video of an illuminated skeleton skating, walking, break-dancing, and otherwise moving through various urban and rural landscapes. With the footage merged with the sound editing and mixing of Ryan and Brennan Gerle, as well as the music of Gangplans’ “Bust The Way You Were (feat. Unravel),” Pearson’s labor of love reaches sublime heights of imagination.
As Pearson told me, the project started out as an experiment in animating his light paintings through .gifs. “After animating a few skeletons doing some break-dancing moves, I decided to try and make them skateboard,” said Pearson, who is a skateboarder himself. “I knew where all the movements should be and how each trick should look.”
Pearson said that the process required extreme concentration. After a day spent drawing each frame one-by-one, he’d end up with a half-second clip that took three hours to produce. Pearson filmed all over Los Angeles, as well as in parts of San Diego, Yosemite, and Austin, Texas. “In Yosemite, a bear followed me for a bit after I shot the initial pan in the forest (right after title sequence),” said. “That was unnerving.”
“I envisioned a video that would be unlike anything I'd seen before,” said Pearson. “And that's what kept me going even if it's only a minute long.”
Below, Pearson premieres a brief behind-the-scenes exclusive for The Creators Project:
As you can see, Pearson painstakingly paints with real life, in real time, rather than adding in special effects later.
Next up on Pearson’s plate is a collaboration with his girlfriend on a clothing label called Danger Brand, which he says will feature some “interesting characters” and media.
Check out more of Pearson’s light paintings at his Darius Twin website.