Ben Ridgway is an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California, USA. He also spent years as a 3D artist in the video game industry and helped to create games for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft console systems. He has been making experimental animations since 1992.
His “Cosmic Flower Unfolding” has garnered praises in many venues. He describes it as “a constant flow of emerging and dissolving oceanic, futuristic, and mandala forms. It is a tribute to abstraction, its connection to the inner space we inhabit and how it can be externalized.”
One day while meditating I tried to visualize in my mind’s eye how I might be able to animate a flower unfolding made up of glowing, pulsating shapes. When I did this I spontaneously saw a face made up of intricate glowing shapes that glowed like neon. The face was inhaling and exhaling at the same time and seemed to represent the exchange of energy and life that we experience through human existence. Every time I thought about making a film, this experience would come back to me, beckoning me to translate it into a moving image.
At the time I had been studying the illustrations of Ernest Haeckel and was planning on doing a homage to his work at some point. The marriage of oceanic motifs inspired by Haeckel mixed with the flower idea excited me and became the driving inspiration for the film. Ernest Haeckel is famous for his incredibly intricate renditions of animals and sea creatures. Many of his images exhibit noticeable symmetry both through individual forms and overall composition. To me, he uncovered the divine in his work through masterfully transforming mundane life forms into idealized artistic interpretations of those forms.
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