Artist’s Choice: Joshua Mosley
May 14, 2014

A man hits a ball with a small racket

Joshua Mosley, Jeu de Paume, 2014. Video, color, sound; 3 minutes. Collection of the artist

On April 12, Biennial artist Joshua Mosley led an Artist’s Choice Workshop for kids and families. Known for his vivid portrayals of historical subjects, Mosley’s three-minute video in the exhibition includes stop motion animation techniques. It contains over four thousand frames depicting a game of jeu de paume, an early form of modern tennis, played at the Château de Fontainebleau, Paris, France in 1907. As a tennis player himself, Mosley found the rhythms and movements of the game beautiful. He paid special attention to how the players pause and stop to focus on the ball, allowing space for subtle moments within the animation.

Families gather around the artist as he addresses the room

Mosley explains his process to families, April 2014. Photograph by Filip Wolak

Mosley’s two younger sons and nephew came to the program, and one of his sons told the group how he helped his dad build a 16-foot-long miniature reproduction of the Château de Fontainebleau. Mosley explained how he crouched inside the set so that he could manipulate the puppets to make tiny movements. Families were fascinated by Mosley’s description of how he created metal skeletons with joints to capture the delicate and subtle movements of the figures during the game.

The artist looks at a laptop screen with a child.

Mosley works with a kid on his animation, April 2014. Photograph by Filip Wolak

In the Whitney Studio, Mosley showed families some early examples of animations, including a version of the nursery rhyme, Three Blind Mice. He demonstrated how to use paper-cut characters, objects, and abstract shapes to create stop motion animations. Parents worked with their kids to set up a backdrop and create their animation films by shifting the paper cut outs in tiny increments, and taking a picture with each movement.

A child holds up a piece of paper which reads "The End" in front of a laptop.

A family works together to create the credits for their animation, April 2014. Photograph by Filip Wolak

Each animation told a different story. Some explored movement, shape, and color, while others focused on their characters. The careful thought that went into capturing subtle movements—such as the flutter of a bird’s wing—was impressive! Enjoy the results below!

On April 12, 2014, Biennial artist Joshua Mosley, in conjunction with the Whitney’s Education Department, led a workshop for families designed to introduce stop motion animation techniques. This is the type of animation that Mosley employs in own work. This video is a montage of the animations produced by the families during the workshop.

Join us for more Artist’s Choice Workshops with 2014 Biennial artists this Spring!

Check out our past Artist’s Choice Workshops or learn more about upcoming programs.

By Billie Rae Vinson, Coordinator of Family Programs