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Work Samples

The Lunatics

While searching for “animals of alien origin” in deep space, a crew of astronauts discover it's all fun and games until someone breaks the gravity generator. This animation was made using cut paper puppets on a homemade multiplane camera stand. I created the audio and sound effects. The Lunatics has screened at several festivals.

Brood X

A short animation commemorating the summer of 2021, and our cicada invaders. This was commissioned for the Denver Digerati Silent Screen festival, which ran in September 2021. I then wrote, recorded and added the music to this version.

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.

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. This has been screened at Maryland Art Place, the JHU/MICA "Made in Baltimore" festival, and the Sweaty Eyeballs 2021 animation festival.

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About Jim

Baltimore City

Jim Doran's picture
I am an interdisciplinary filmmaker exploring themes of metaphysics, identity, and humor through the mediums of animation, illustration, assemblage,  and sound. My body of work consists of tiny, cut paper dioramas in discarded objects (metal boxes, watches, tins, spoons, etc.), large drawings on Tyvek and scrolls of paper, hand drawn stop motion animation, and sound recordings consisting of composed music, tape loops, and musique concrète. I identify as a surrealist, an optimist, and a... more

Found and Chosen

As a coping mechanism for the collective anxiety we all felt during the pandemic, I took long walks through my neighborhood in Baltimore City, and later, other cities. It was a form of meditation. This developed into a practice of mindfulness. I was able to quiet my thoughts and become present. I noticed and found delight in objects and sounds that I previously might have overlooked.

Found and Chosen is a exhibition of compelling materials gathered during the pandemic. I used some of these materials and sounds to make new work, including several films and recordings. Using a generous grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, I was able to produce a CD/Cassette to coincide with an exhibition at the Hamilton Gallery.

  • The Art of War

    Using found/discarded war prints and magazine pages, this animation is the first part of a longer work about the futility of war and fascism.
  • PLASTICLAND

    Plasticland is a stop motion animation filmed over four seasons in my backyard, and featuring trash I found in the road.
  • Album Cover

    A single, orange pedicure flip-flop on a cement stair step.
    The Found and Chosen album cover, which makes use of one of my favorite discoveries.
  • Found and Chosen at Hamilton Gallery

    View of framed works in the distance at the Hamilton Gallery
    Part of the "Found and Chosen" exhibition at the Hamilton Gallery (2023).
  • Plasticland Installation

    Not only is Plasticland a short animated film, it's an installation play-set. This video is documentation of the installation at the Hamilton Gallery in Baltimore, and features some 3D animated scenes featuring 3D scans of some of Plasticland's inhabitants.
  • Found Object

    View of framed works in the distance at the Hamilton Gallery
    Exhibited works of some of the more compelling letters, cards and objects found in the neighborhood.
  • Atlas of Found Objects

    View of framed works in the distance at the Hamilton Gallery
    I didn't bring everything that I found home with me. I usually took a photo. The "Atlas of Found Objects" shows 45 of my favorite discoveries, including their geolocation information, which can be used on any map app to see where they were discovered.
  • CDs and Cassettes

    Found and Chosen Compact discs and cassettes on a pedestal in the gallery
    Free giveaway: CD and Cassettes of my found sound library created in the pandemic. A full track listing is at https://jimdoran.art/fac/
  • 3-cravistans.jpg

    three power restricting devices
    One of my better discoveries, three power restricting devices, called "cravistans." I found them over the course of three days (one per day) in the grass.
  • Plasticland Installation in the front window at the gallery

    Plasticland Installation in the front window at the gallery
    Plasticland Installation in the front window at the gallery.

S.Ex. (Sound Experiments)

This collection features sound experiments and accompanying video/animation. I love making these. 

  • S.Ex. no. 15

    Featuring iPhone video, animated drawings from my trip to Puerto Rico in 2022, and a song I wrote in my head over the trip.
  • Shoreline

    A surfy animated clip from a song for my upcoming album.
  • Unknown no. 2

    iPad procreate drawing and an unknown loop, probably recorded in my car.
  • Edward Gorey's Oven

    Using a Kilter guitar pedal from Champion Leccy in Philadelphia, I recorded a guitar track to accompany a photo I took of the late Edward Gorey's oven in Yarmouth, MA. Sound Experiment no. 16.
  • S.Ex. no. 5

    Dreamy bass guitar loops and video made from my iPhone in a ziplock bag underwater...
  • La Vie en Rose

    Stop motion animation and a hand drawn "Crankie" telling the story of a the day in the life of a solitary scholar.
  • S.Ex. no. 13

    Prepared guitar, and a new use for bread ties.
  • S.Ex. no. 10

    Of alligators, and other alligators. Pocket video and hand drawn animation from my last trip to Florida, with heavily processed guitar.
  • S.Ex. no. 9: Secrets

    Found sound and found footage.
  • Higher Ed

    Made with animated clippings from discarded issues of College and University Journal, iPhone video and audio all captured in an academic library.

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. 

  • 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. This has been screened at Maryland Art Place, the JHU/MICA "Made in Baltimore" festival, and the Sweaty Eyeballs 2021 animation festival.
  • Roshambo

    3D print of a red cowboy with a bird's head
    3D print of a melted composite figure
  • Cactus Cowboy

    Cowboy with cactus head
    3D print of cactus cowboy
  • Stinky Villains

    A man with a foot for a head, and a dog that is a foot
    Cast plastic figures
  • Trailer for Stinky Villains

    I made this short trailer for the stinky villain prototypes.
  • Pet Sidekick

    A brass foot with dog legs
    Brass, 3D print of a digitally scanned figure. 2.5" x 1.2" x 1.5"
  • Captain Legs

    Melted toy Army man with a leg for an upper body
    Melted toy Army figure
  • Cactus Cowboy in the Wild

    Cactus headed cowboy standing in grass
    Cactus headed cowboy at work.
  • Lobster Men

    Plastic figures, lobster tail upper body with legs of a man
    Plastic casts of lobster tail man.
  • Roshambo and the Lobster Man

    A man with a bird's head behind a bar facing a man with a lobster tail for a body
    Roshambo and the Lobster Man - a scene from the Benefits of Radiation

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.

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).

Jim's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.