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Work Samples

The Ballad of Holland Island House

The true story of the last house on a Chesapeake Bay island slowly sinking into the rising seas comes to life through fluidly transforming animated clay-on-glass paintings. The house sings of its life and the creatures it has sheltered, and contemplates time and environmental change.

KENDRA's Bay: A Digital Puppet Crab at Light City Baltimore 2016

KENDRA’s Bay: A Digital Puppet Crab at Light City Baltimore 2016 KENDRA, (Kinetically Engineered Networked Digitally Reactive Arthropod) is an animated digital puppet controlled by an iPad touch screen interface so she can respond and react live to the audience. Kendra's Bay debuted at the inaugural year of Light City Baltimore in the Inner Harbor Ampitheater. Kendra was created by Lynn Tomlinson and Colette Searls. Performers are Alex Vernon (Darrell the M.C.) and Sarah Olmsted Thomas (Kendra's puppeteer). Video documentation by Sharon Crissinger.

Fired Up!

Lynn Tomlinson created the third segment (with the umbrella turning inside out) of this animated collaboration made by 14 animators from around the world.

THE BOOK OF SPECULATION by Erika Swyler, Book Trailer by Lynn Tomlinson

Clay-on-glass animation by Lynn Tomlinson. Plasticine clay spread thinly on glass is manipulated frame by frame, like a moving oil painting. Audio by Elsa Lankford. The Book of Speculation, a debut novel by Erika Swyler, launched June 23, 2015, from St. Martin's Press.

The Ballad of Holland Island House

Animation: Lynn Tomlinson
Lyrics: Lynn Tomlinson
Music: Anna Roberts-Gevalt with Elizabeth LaPrelle

The Ballad of Holland Island House tells the true story of the last house on a sinking island in the Chesapeake Bay, brought to life through fluidly transforming animated clay-on-glass paintings. The house sings of its life and the creatures it has sheltered, and contemplates time and environmental change. Told from the house's point of view, this film is a soulful and haunting view of the impact of sea-level rise.

Process:
My clay-on-glass animation involves both planning and improvisation. It’s a bit like finger painting, using warm modeling clay that looks like thick oil paint. It is a stop-motion process, meaning that I create an initial painting, and then alter it bit by bit to create the movement. The process is both creative and destructive: As I change the image, the original is changed over and over until it no longer exists. When I spend three hours to make one second of finished animation, I enter a state of flow, concentrating on altering the malleable clay, changing it slowly, frame by frame. For this film, instead of a storyboard or movement pencil test, I edited a video-mashup-collage animatic I edited from found video fragments (of trees falling, boats rocking, crab feasts and model ships sinking) with well-known artworks and historical photos. Sometimes I used this video collage as a rough guide, and other times I actually rotoscoped or traced the movement, to add a life-like quality to my moving paintings.

A haunting photograph I saw on the internet inspired this story: a house standing alone in the water. Reading more about this particular house, I was struck by its story, and its relevance today, when so many communities are facing challenges from sea-level rise. The painterly, expressive, visual style reflects the artwork of Winslow Homer, VanGogh, and Kathe Kolwitz, artists working in the late 1800's, the time period when the house on Holland Island was abandoned. I wrote the lyrics to the ballad and began the animation for this film while on a two-week artist residency at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, across the bay from the remains of Holland Island. I created this film from start to finish in two months: two very intensive months!

Kendra's Bay at Light City Baltimore, 2016

  • KENDRA's Bay: A Digital Puppet Crab at Light City Baltimore 2016

    KENDRA’s Bay: A Digital Puppet Crab at Light City Baltimore 2016 KENDRA, (Kinetically Engineered Networked Digitally Reactive Arthropod) is an animated digital puppet controlled by an iPad touch screen interface so she can respond and react live to the audience. Kendra's Bay debuted at the inaugural year of Light City Baltimore in the Inner Harbor Ampitheater. Kendra was created by Lynn Tomlinson and Colette Searls. Performers are Alex Vernon (Darrell the M.C.) and Sarah Olmsted Thomas (Kendra's puppeteer). Video documentation by Sharon Crissinger.

Medusa: The Immortal Jellyfish

A live visual theater performance/installation blending animation, ceramic sculpture, underwater plastic-bottle puppets, live video feed, and multiple projections. The process and the product are created live on stage simultaneously, creating an immersive world from the hive-minded perspective of the jellyfish. Low-tech meets high-tech, digital meets DIY, building a speculative Post-Anthroposcene environment: a Neo-Precambrian world of human remains where jellyfish rule the sea.

Breath & Air

  • Breath & Air excerpts

    Execerpts from an aerial dance performance by Jayne Bernasconi and her students with digital art projections by Lynn Tomlinson and her students, at Baltimore's Theater Project, Spring 2016.

Madalines' Stilts

Madalines' Stilts is a fairy tale: an overly optimistic fantasy about human adaptation in the face of sea-level rise. A grandmother, mother, and daughter live in a hut by the sea. How can they change to survive in their increasingly watery world?

The piece was created by a three-generation collaboration of grandmother-mother-daughter artists, who all share the name "Madaline." This was a bi-coastal collaboration, using both tactile and digital media, and reflects the concerns of both coasts in a time of storms, tsunamis, and sea change. The team first shot video of their silhouettes against a white background, and then edited and composited this video with paint and clay-on-glass animation. The artists shared inspiration and communicated online via Skype, email, Pinterest, and Dropbox. They discussed each scene and how it should look, sharing reference images, and Lynn taught Madaline via Skype to use stop-motion animation software and a DSLR camera to capture her moving paintings. Madaline painted and animated the background in Santa Cruz, CA and sent it online to Lynn in Catonsville, MD, where she made the finished product. Lynn collaged the silhouettes; the waves; the words; and also manipulated the animation to make a cohesive whole. Lucy acted in the film and helped her mother with the editing. They enjoyed working together as a three-generation artistic team.

Lucy Madaline Saper is a seventh-grade student at the Jemicy School in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a visual artist, actress, and stilt-walker. Lynn (Madaline Carol) Tomlinson is an interdisciplinary artist working in animation, sculpture, and mixed media arts. . Her award-winning animated and documentary films have been screened at numerous festivals, and her clay-on-glass animated shorts have aired on children’s public television, MTV, and Sesame Street. Madaline Borrebach Tomlinson (Vassar, ’64) is an interdisciplinary artist known for her face-painting and acrylics. She is also an attorney, and a founding member of a ukelele group in Santa Cruz, CA.

  • Madalines' Stilts

    This is a fairy tale: an overly optimistic fantasy about human adaptation in the face of sea-level rise. "Madalines' Stilts" was created by a three-generation collaboration of grandmother-mother-daughter artists. They all share the name "Madaline." Chroma-keyed stilt walkers, digitally composited animation, and hand-painted animation.

Memory Tricks!

How did you learn your times tables? Hard words to spell? MEMORY TRICKS is a collaborative animation project made by fifth-grade girls & young women animation students at the Maryland Institute College of Art. The fifth grade girls are classmates at the Jemicy School, which uses innovative methods to teach kids with dyslexia. This project is an experiential learning project designed to help them share their favorite mnemonic devices with other kids. Led by art educator and independent animator Lynn Tomlinson, the MICA students served as mentors for the fifth-grade girls, helping them bring their ideas to life through animation. The project was funded by MICA's Office of Community Engagement, and a successful Kickstarter campaign: kck.st/GWsjtc

"The Making of Memory Tricks" can be seen here: vimeo.com/41205492 (password: Tricky)

Community Mosaics

Four large scale community-built mosaic projects constructed in Central Florida. One mosaic located in the traditionally African-American neighborhood of Hannibal Square depicts a voting rights protest from the late nineteenth century in which the entire community defied the prohibition of crossing the tracks after dark in order to vote in an election held after sunset. It was the first and only time Winter Park, Florida ever elected two black Aldermen. Another mosaic depicts the ecological diversity surrounding a local school. A third celebrates community arts at a local art center, and a fourth invites wildlife into the suburban landscape surrounding an elementary school.

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About Lynn

Baltimore County

Lynn Tomlinson investigates expanded animation projects as an artist, scholar, and curator, reflecting her interest hybrid art forms and interdisciplinary practice. Current projects include painterly animated short films, digital puppetry, live multi-media performances, and interdisciplinary collaborations... more

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