I started a series of marine animal motion studies after graduating from college. "Dolphin Cycle" was the first, developed from a zoetrope strip.
During frequent visits to the Seattle Aquarium I became acquainted with how wonderfully gregarious an octopus can be. One would flush red and try to climb up the arms of her keeper when she came to feed her. I shot Super 8 footage of another one in the large tank, and rotoscoped it to make "Running Octopus."
The summer of 1980 I spent on San Juan Island, where folks from The Whale Museum connected me with George Denniston. He commissioned "Orca Breaching" which I finished in 1981.
During a trip to Southern California several years later I noticed that the Brown Pelican population had revived. I didn't remember seeing them off shore when I was visiting my grandparents at the beach as a child, because their populations had been depleted by DDT. "Five Pelicans Fish" is a celebration of their survival, and a reminder that we can help repair some of the environmental damage we've done by changing our habits.
When we anthropomorphize animals, we enter the realm of metaphor. "Animal Husbandry" and "Frogs in Heat" express human foibles, but in animal form.
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Copyright Ruth Hayes 2011