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Work Samples

Indigo Music Video

I was commissioned by the 2020 Sweaty Eyeballs animation festival to make "Indigo" for the Baltimore band WUME. I constructed a visual narrative around the lyrics from the song, and animated "live" drawings as the music in the video progressed. The scroll drawing ended up being 50' long. Indigo is currently a semi-finalist in the Swedish Film Festival (as of 1/21/2021).

The Benefits of Radiation

The Benefits of Radiation is hand drawn animation that tells the backstory of some of my sculpture figures (which can be viewed elsewhere in this portfolio). I recorded the bar sounds at the Hamilton Tavern in Baltimore, and produced all the foley, sound effects and musical accompaniment in my studio.

Scientifically Sound Questions: Coronavirus Edition

Scientifically Sound Questions: Coronavirus Edition seeks to answer some questions about COVID-19 with science. I produced this animation on a single scroll of paper, with puppets, visual effects and foley/sounds. The Scientifically Sound Questions series, which can been seen elsewhere in the portfolio, was inspired by conversations with my teenage daughter.

Wind is Ghost

Inspired by the sounds of a windy day, I recorded the audio in my neighborhood, and animated this small scene in my favorite theatrical space - the Altoids tin. After making hundreds of dioramas in these small boxes over the past decade, it felt good to do an animation in one.

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About Jim

Baltimore City

Jim Doran's picture
I am a Baltimore interdisciplinary artist, telling stories through the mediums of animation, music, drawing, and web development.  I’m happiest when I can combine these pursuits. My work, with its handmade aesthetic, has evolved from cut paper dioramas in discarded objects to stop motion animation, combining these elements with found sounds, and lo-fi audio production. I often make websites and zines to accompany my various projects.  My work has been exhibited throughout North America,... more

Indigo

Indigo is a commission completed for the 2020 Sweaty Eyeballs Animation festival. Normally, the festival opens with musicians providing live accompaniment to a silent film. As the 2020 festival was virtual, the festival organizer asked some animators to make films for Baltimore musicians and bands. I chose WUME, and they asked me to animate their song, Indigo.

I completed the stop motion, scroll based animation in less than two weeks. The scroll is 40' long and the animation features dozens of cut paper puppets.

  • Indigo Music Video

    I was commissioned by the 2020 Sweaty Eyeballs animation festival to make "Indigo" for the Baltimore band WUME. I constructed a visual narrative around the lyrics from the song, and animated "live" drawings as the music in the video progressed. The scroll drawing ended up being 50' long. Indigo is currently a semi-finalist in the Swedish Film Festival (as of 1/21/2021).
  • Shelter

    Scene from film: An all yellow sitting room.
    For the singer of this song, physical shelter becomes fleeting, and she seeks internal shelter instead.
  • 100 lightning strikes

    A scene from the film showing a woman on a sea shell avoiding lightning strikes.
    A scene from Indigo, with the corresponding lyric "100 lightning strikes."
  • gestures.png

    4 Fists with thumb between first and second finger
    Sign of the fig, a gesture commonly used to ward off the evil eye, or deny a request.
  • A watery place

    A house on chicken legs wading through tall waves, facing creatures with antlers.
    Scene from Indigo, where our shelter visits a very watery place.
  • Eye of the Monster

    A giant pink fish/monster swallowing the ocean
    Screenshot of Indigo
  • What she discarded

    A heart, some lungs and a sea creature with antlers swimming.
    A scene from Indigo...
  • Imbalance

    The Chicken legged house looking at an Imbalanced yin yang symbol
    Shelter meets Imbalance in Indigo
  • Turn the spade

    Antered sea creature chasing a Queen of Spades playing card through the ocean.
    Turn the spade, a scene from Indigo
  • Nearing the End

    A skeleton clown peering over a fishnet hip. 4 swords protrude from the background of the hip.
    Scene from Indigo

The Benefits of Radiation

When I was young, I got into a great deal of trouble for melting various army men and cowboys together to create new toys. I still enjoy making new characters, and I make molds of the more compelling figures so that I can reproduce them. I have digitally scanned some, like the red Birdman Roshambo and the Cactus Cowboy, in order to make 3D prints.

The Benefits of Radiation is an animation that tells the backstory of these transmuted figures shown in this entry. This is a hand-drawn animation, for which I recorded and produced all the audio.

A Job as the Moon

I had a lovely dream that I was hired to be the Moon. This animation highlights some of that dream.

The animation happens on a 50' scroll of black tyvek, some of which is filmed under black lights. I set the film to Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy, performed by Amber Short.

Scientifically Sound Questions

Scientifically Sound Questions are a series of animations that seek to answer life's big questions. I created an accompanying website where visitors can ask questions for me to answer in future animations.

The animations unfold on scrolls of paper, and feature cut paper puppets, my foley/sound effects and an accompanying soundtrack.

  • Scientifically Sound Questions

    Scientifically Sound Questions, part one. I animated this on a long, single roll of paper. Completed in 2020.
  • Scientifically Sound Questions: Coronavirus Edition

    Scientifically Sound Questions: Coronavirus Edition seeks to answer some questions about COVID-19 with science. I produced this animation on a single scroll of paper, with puppets, visual effects and foley/sounds. The Scientifically Sound Questions series, which can been seen elsewhere in the portfolio, was inspired by conversations with my teenage daughter.
  • The Bureau of Scientifically Sound Questions

    The Bureau of Scientifically Sound Questions website
    The Bureau of Scientifically Sound Questions is a website I created where visitors can ask their own questions to be answered in future editions of Scientifically Sound Questions. https://bureauofscientificallysoundquestions.org/
  • Coronavirus Question

    Two mad scientists holding a beaker
    A scene in Scientifically Sound Questions, COVID-19 edition.
  • If you look young?

    If you look young, do you live longer? asked by a horse
    A scene in Scientifically Sound Questions.
  • A question about cavities

    Do bones besides teeth get cavities?
    A scene in Scientifically Sound Questions.
  • What shape is your itch?

    What shape is your itch?
    Learn the answer to the Scientifically Sound Question, "What shape is your itch?" by watching my animation.
  • Is COVID-19 a hoax?

    Is COVID-19 a hoax?
    Learn the scientific truth about COVID-19 by watching my film.
  • Are we also a GMO?

    Are we also a GMO?
    Learn about the effect of GMO based foods in Scientifically Sound Questions!
  • Are Brains Squishy?

    Are Brains Squishy?
    Find out if brains (even YOUR brains) are squishy in my Scientifically Sound Questions series.

Short Animations

This collection features short 2D and 3D stop motion animation, each with a slightly different style. In some cases (Son of a Gun, About Face), the audio came first and inspired the animations themselves. In all cases, I animated the pieces and made/recorded/assembled the audio.

  • Wind is Ghost

    Inspired by the sounds of a windy day, I recorded the audio in my neighborhood, and animated this small scene in my favorite theatrical space - the Altoids tin. After making hundreds of dioramas in these small boxes over the past decade, it felt good to do an animation in one.
  • Higher Ed

    This animation is a composite of material gathered in a library. The video is a recording of a wall among the library stacks. The audio was recorded on site, and cutouts came from discarded issues of 1960's era "College & University Business Journal" that I found in the same building. The pacing of the text is intended to replicate subliminal advertising, and while you, dear viewer, might be frustrated by this, it has been shown to be very effective.
  • Shimmer

    This is my part of an exquisite corpse project, created for an edition of Jenny O'Grady's Light Ekphrastic. I recorded the sounds in my neighborhood, and at a harp recital.
  • About Face

    A stream of consciousness animated cranky scroll. The soundtrack is composed from my audio and found sounds.
  • Butcher Block Bar

    This was made from cut paper puppets and filmed on a multiplane camera stand that I built in workshop.
  • The Room of Indefinite Holding

    Stop Motion animation featuring a recurring character of my dioramas.
  • Son of a Gun

    A loop intended for instagram, this animation features non-diegetic sound recorded in my kitchen.
  • Beeface

    A puppet made from found objects - an old yellow jacket nest, rusty barbed wire, and a discarded jacket sleeve. Set to free sounds from nature.
  • Real Reel

    Real Reel is a handful of short, stop motion vignettes made while I was developing my techniques in graduate school.
  • The Virgin Toenail

    Wait for it...

American Visionary Art Museum

I've been so very fortunate to have participated in two shows at the American Visionary Art Museum: THE ART OF STORYTELLING: Lies, Enchantment, Humor & Truth and The Great Mystery Show. AVAM is one of my favorite parts of Baltimore, and has been instrumental in my development as an artist.

  • Three Dioramas

    3 Dioramas in a glass display case in the museum
    Three dioramas on display at the American Visionary Art Museum.
  • Always

    Always diorama, cut paper skeleton in a vintage soap tin.
    Cut paper diorama in an old soap tin.
  • The Ghost of Triton

    Diorama in a herring tin, showing an underwater ghost surrounded by sea creatures
    My father and I loved sharing smoked herring, and I always loved the tins that required a key to open them. This cut paper diorama shows the ghost of triton in the sea, surrounded by creatures with eyes the truly glow in the dark.
  • A Reunion

    Diorama in a pocket watch, a skeleton and his skeleton dog being reunited
    Cut paper diorama in a pocket watch. I love the idea of being reunited with what we love.
  • Crosshatched characters

    Victorian cutouts
    As part of my artist talk, I demonstrated cross hatching, which is one of the traits I share with Edward Gorey. He was also featured in the Great Mystery Show, and we had fun learning about his life and work. I made a zine to accompany this talk, which can be found in the "Other Projects" part of this portfolio.
  • Ghost in the Grandmother Clock

    Cut paper diorama in a tea tin showing a sitting room and grandmother clock
    Another cut paper diorama, showing a grandmother clock and elements relating to my father's side of the family.
  • THE ART OF STORYTELLING: Lies, Enchantment, Humor & Truth

    Three dioramas, and a letter sent to my best friend during college in THE ART OF STORYTELLING: Lies, Enchantment, Humor & Truth show at AVAM.
    Three dioramas, and a letter sent to my best friend during college in THE ART OF STORYTELLING: Lies, Enchantment, Humor & Truth show at AVAM.
  • Jim Doran

    Jim Doran explaining something to two nice people in a musuem
    I'm explaining something to two nice people.
  • Monofilament

    Cut paper diorama in a tape cassette box
    This diorama is in a cassette tape case, which was given to me by my best friend in high school. While he passed away in the 90's, he continues to be an influence and guide in my life today. Everything in this scene points to our connection.
  • A Dark and Gorey Night

    Jim Doran Artist Talk in the museum
    I gave an artist talk, discussing my place in the Great Mystery Show, as well as the work of Edward Gorey, who was fond of wearing a fur coat.

Small Stories and Other Stories

Small Stories and Other Stories, a solo show at the Hamilton Gallery, collected over 80 dioramas that illustrated multiple storylines and themes.

My favorite is the story of the widower tailor, which appears in the manlte clock. He discovers that if one looks through the handles of scissors previously owned by other widowed tailors/cloth merchants/seamstresses on the 13th day of the 13th month during a full moon, one can see into the Land of the Dead. He's collected many such scissors, and some of these appeared on the wall next to the clock in the gallery.

Two Worlds Touch: Greenbelt Community Center Art

Debuting large scale drawings at The Greenbelt Community Center Art, I decided to weave a single story into almost all the pieces of this show. The cornerstone is the map, which points the viewer to the key elements of the story. For example, the map shows a paddock of the Four Horsemen, and on the opposite wall in the gallery stands a 10' drawing of the Horsemen waiting to ride out.

Memento Mori

This is work from my first solo show at School33 in 2011, which was one of my first shows anywhere. This material heavily relied upon and explored my theories on an afterlife.

  • Memento-Mori.jpg

    School33 Postcard showing my hand holding a tiny Altoids tin diorama
    Memento Mori postcard for School33. I also made a zine with details about all the pieces in the show.
  • IMG_1890.JPG

    Jim Doran at School33
    Just before the opening of Memento Mori at School33.
  • The Project Space

    School33 Project space
    Partial view of the project space at School33. The dioramas made a story, if one walked to the left upon entering the room.
  • A Muse When You Need Her

    A tiny diorama featuring paper cut-outs.
  • The Guide

    Cut paper diorama in Altoids gum tin
    A rare Altoids gum tin featuring cut paper diorama showing a guide from the beyond offering support to the living.
  • The Death Watch Beetle

    A cut paper Death Watch Beetle in an altoids tin, wings spead to reveal a giant skeleton  launching a ship across the dead sea.
    When the Beetle opens its wings, we can see into the Land of the Dead. Here, Charon (the ferryman) is launching a ship across the dead sea.
  • HOSSENFEFFER & THE CURRY GOAT ATTACK

    A tiny cut paper diorama showing a man with a very long tongue being attacked by a flying goat and a rabbit.
    A tiny cut paper diorama depicting Jack Ruby's dinner coming to an abrupt halt.
  • Shipwreck Lake

    Paper Cut-outs in sardine tin showing a jellyfish below the surface of a lake, above the wreckage of many boats.
    Paper Cut-outs in sardine tin. A beast of a jellyfish emerges from the dark seaweed and plant life in the background to become entangled in a ship's anchor. The bottom of the lake is littered with sunken ships.
  • The Ghoul and the Grackles

    A huched red Ghoul standing over a coffin, gesturing to men in suits with the heads of Grackles
    Research administrators try to barter with the ghoul for a corpse, all in the name of science. Cut paper diorama in a Hershey's Cocoa tin.
  • See into the Land of the Dead

    A rectangular metal box, lit from the inside, showing a scene through two open coffins
    Two open coffins offer a glimpse down into the Land of the Dead (which is illuninated by a tiny, battery powered light).

Other Projects

I ran for Artist in the 2016 election. I won by a landslide, but was overshadowed by the next 4 years of unprecedented political chaos.

I created a 12' circus peanut for the 2010 outdoor component of Artscape, and an accompanying website, orangenuts.com, which asked visitors if they enjoy this weird candy, YES/NO?

For all of my solo shows and significant artist talks, I like to make a zine for people to take home. I've attached a few here.

I cannot understate the importance of music in my life, and the joy that I experience from writing and recording material.

  • Jim Doran for Artist

    Election signs placed around Baltimore County during the last election.
  • Early Voting

    Election signs placed around Baltimore County during the last election.
  • Giant Circus Peanut for Artscape

    12' circus peanut
    The Giant Circus Peanut, outdoor sculpture made for for Artscape. Wood, pvc pipe, foam, corning insulation boards, circus peanuts. 2010.
  • Circus Peanut at Artscape 2010

    Giant Circus Peanut
    The Giant Circus Peanut, outdoor sculpture made for for Artscape. Wood, pvc pipe, foam, corning insulation boards, circus peanuts. 2010.
  • AVAM Crosshatch zine

    I like to make zines for my solo shows, special events, and artist talks. This is one I handed out during my "Great Mystery Show" talk at the American Visionary Art Museum.

    PDF icon AVAM Crosshatch zine
  • Small stories and Other Stories.pdf

    A digital version of a limited signed edition of a zine that accompanied my solo show at the Hamilton Gallery in 2019.

    PDF icon Small stories and Other Stories.pdf
  • Diorama-a-rama

    A zine I created for pop-up shows, artist talks, and workshops explaining some of my work, and dioramas in general.

    PDF icon Diorama-a-rama
  • Buffy

    A track from my album, the Septic Bank, made from found sounds, iPhone recordings and run through a "Rube Goldberg Machine" inspired system of signal processing.
  • Pestilence Rides Out

    Pestilence Rides Out
    A 10" x 10" cut paper diorama made to explain the pandemic to myself.
  • Rube Goldberg Signal Processing

    audio great wired together
    I enjoy putting my soundtracks and foley together using old tape decks, effects, found sounds and sampled audio.

Jim's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.