Vonnegut mural artist makes an animated film in Poland 

Loving Vincent is an animated look at Van Gogh

click to enlarge NUVO FILE PHOTO
  • NUVO file photo

Unlike her usual work, Pamela Bliss' painting for the film Loving Vincent didn't make her worry about dying.

Most of Bliss' work finds her high upon the sides of tall buildings downtown. The local artist is best known for her mural of Kurt Vonnegut, which stands above Indianapolis residents as they walk down Mass Ave.

"I have grown accustomed to working with heavy lift equipment or lugging up paint and crawling across scaffolding in the heat, cold, wind and rain," Bliss says. "I also have to think about problems like pits in a wall that might make a shadow on an important detail ... or sometimes I just think about not dying when I'm 50 feet high."

This year, Bliss left the Indianapolis skyline and headed to Poland to work on an animated exploration of Vincent Van Gogh. Along with 100 other international artists, she was selected to help paint over 62,000 frames for the film.

"Many of the Poland studio artists were Polish, but we did have several who were from countries like Serbia, Austria, Ukraine, Ireland, England, India and other countries. About 35 artists from outside of Poland were selected from 5,000 applications," Bliss says. "They were looking for artists who were experts in their fields. Some were classically trained painters while others were trained in animation with an aptitude in painting. But no matter what, nothing prepared the artists for this type of repetitive painting. It was like an intensive crash course in animation."

Hailed as the first true feature-length work of hand-painted animation, Loving Vincent was prescreened at the National Gallery in London on Oct. 28.

"It's quite thrilling to see my painting moving since I'm used to seeing my work so still and stationary," Bliss says. "Of course I saw a lot of things I would've liked to do differently once I saw it in motion. But then again, a lot of artists are never done with their work."

Until the film's international premiere next year, you can see Bliss back on buildings downtown, battling heights, braving the weather and touching up her old murals.

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