Phoebe Carmody

Canberra, Australia 

Photographic artist, living in Australia.

Interested in memory, vulnerability, the wavering line between comfort and anxiety, gentle portraits and grim landscapes. 

- Interview -

Q. You are studying IT, but also make beautiful things. Who wins in the battle of faster firing neurons – the left or right side of your brain

A. I suck at maths so probably right side, but there’s a lot of overlap. I think everything comes down to problem solving. If a computer doesn’t work I troubleshoot and repair, and if the world feels confusing I create things to make some sense of it.

Q.  Feedback from the National Portrait Gallery Rotoscope Exhibit attendees?

Having my work shown in the National Portrait Gallery was a definite highlight for me, particularly since my target venue is Tumblr. As such, most of the interesting feedback happens online, or at least I can lurk that more easily. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from people relating to my self-portrait series, seeing themselves in it, even a few people asking if I was using footage of them to make the images since it looked so much like them. So even when I’m making something that is of me, simple line rotoscope helps to kind of trim the fat or blur the details to make it a little more universal.

And then I’ve had my share of comments about how good I look with no arms.

Q. Pick an artist from the CAI featured artist line-up, and ask them a question.

A. Petra Švajger. Please tell me how you made the little flipbook at the bottom of your bio page? It’s perfect!

Q. A bit of advise for those who want to make compelling rotoscopes?

A. In terms of making a compelling animation, I think it’s important to preserve the natural motion of the video you’re using. No cutting frames to save time! Fluid motion is the main point of rotoscope, in my opinion. It creates that hypnotising in-between world of video and illustration. 

A. When I was at art school I got really into cross processing slide film, which often results in high contrast, unnatural colours, something imperfect and somewhat chaotic. I particularly liked how landscape photos came out, almost always a bit grim, but in a beautiful way, like something in a Tarkovsky movie. The unpredictable outcome is very freeing, it allows me to be more playful and relaxed in the shooting process.

Q.  This one tends to get quite a reaction. Did you plan this idea, or discover it during post-production? 

A. I wish I could say it was a deep comment on the total dissolution of the self, but the truth is I didn’t want my video class to see my boobs. And then it became my most popular animation, so it just goes to show that if you run with an idea you never know where you’ll end up, and sometimes obstacles are blessings.

Q.  What makes you happy?

A. I’m a big creature of comfort, so spending time with friends and my boyfriend, lounging around, ruining all my books by reading in the bath. Good food, Guinness and wine. Learning more about computers always makes me happy, seeing what people are doing in tech and game dev, it’s so dynamic and a little overwhelming. I’m playing Dreamfall Chapters at the moment, Ragnar Tørnquist is a lifelong idol and I could nerd out forever.

Q. Share this day with us

A. This was taken on a day out with friends in the Murrumbidgee River, not too far from my childhood home in Canberra. I love the water and mermaidy things, but of course I end up looking like a pale grumpy demon. Consider this my version of the cool sexy beach pic.

Q.  A brand you would love to rotoscope

A. Edge O’ Beyond lingerie, too many clothing brands to name, or something in tech. VR headsets, smart phones, robotic limbs…

Q. You can’t live without…

A. My computer and my glasses (in order to see computer).

Q. No way you will ever…

Not have my patented Solemn Pout on in a picture.