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Social Media Inspired Animated Paintings

Still photo from “Be Drunk,” 2021 Stop-motion painting animation Photo Courtesy of Claudia Bitran

Vibrant colors, abstract figures, hazy brushwork and chaotic scenes fill the screen of Claudia Bitran’s stop-motion painting animations. Bitran is a Chilean American multi-disciplinary artist who is part of the visiting artist lecture series hosted by the Department of Art at Ithaca College.

“I’ve made different variations of this theme of animating epic fails from social media,” Bitran said. “They are anonymous female teenagers in euphoric and anxious states of inebriation.”

Her 2019 collection “Fallen” was exhibited at the Cindy Rucker Gallery in New York and her 2020-2021 collection “Be Drunk” was exhibited at the Walter Storms Galerie in Germany.  

Based on photographs from her field study of teenagers filming social media content, Bitran created an interactive installation that explored the commonality between them all — white shoes.

“Bitran comments on sharing culture in bodies of work like ‘White Shoes’ where she paints life-size renderings of teenagers posing for each other on social media,” said Paloma Barhaugh-Bordas, Assistant Professor of Art. “The tension of unique sameness that defies late adolescents is at hand. The paintings are installed on their heads, feet in the air, exposing pair after pair of white shoes.”

Bitran’s installation, “White Shoes” was exhibited at the Practice Gallery in Pennsylvania.

White Shoes, 2018
Latex and Acrylic on MDF
Installation at Practice Gallery
Photo Courtesy of Claudia Bitran

“In her work we see the re-rendering of a media scroll that we might otherwise fail to recall in the pace of visual consumption that marks this time, where physical distancing is skewed for the safer option of digital merging,” Barhaugh-Bordas said. “Bitran capitalizes on the mass appeal of pop culture that has become a structure shaping how we consume and increasingly how we relate.”

In addition to Bitran’s recent artwork, she has worked on a recreation of the Titanic by James Cameron over the last six years. She said the scenes range from animation to live action and have included 600+ participants from 19 cities across the United States, Chile and Mexico.

Titanic, 2014
Claudia Bitran and visual artist Chris Domenick performing as Rose and Jack in front of a painted set at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
Photo Courtesy of Claudia Bitran

“There was this love story. There was this class issue,” Bitran said. “There’s this possibility to associate this tragedy to other spectacles and realities that happen today. This allowed me to have a lot of freedom about who to invite and where to film.”

Bitran is the director and plays Rose in each scene, but Jack is played by anyone from a 10-year-old boy to a 40-year-old woman.

“Those who want to be Jack are Jack,” she said. “Because there are different nuisances as to when you invite your performers to perform as this concept or that concept. This is something really important about this project, that it’s based on mutual agreement and volunteers.”

Titanic, 2015
Balthazar Bitran and Claudia Bitran acting as Jack and Rose in Los Angeles, Chile
Photo Courtesy of Claudia Bitran

Bitran said all of the sets and props are created with local materials on a modest budget which is supplemented with artist grants.

“I have been friends with Claudia since she began her own version of this epic and over the years it has become a self-propelling machine reaching a scale and scope that is itself titanic,” Barhaugh-Bordas said. “This project, though just one of many the artist manages to juggle in her devoted studio-based practice, is representative of the kind of mark Bitran is making as an artist. A joyful but incisive and precise examination of the components that make up our culture zeitgeist. Her work is undoubtedly woven into a conversation had in the present.”

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