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Animation (MA)

Hongzhou Xue

Hongzhou Xue (Boots) is currently an animation and illustration artist working mainly in 2D hand-drawn animation and exploring the possibilities of poetic narrative in animation.

He previously worked as a graphic producer and advertising copywriter for Publicis Shanghai. After leaving the advertising industry in 2019, he started to learn how to draw and paint from scratch. In the same year, he was accepted to the Animation MA of the Royal College of Art, where he is studying in order to obtain a Master's degree in animation.


My life has always been in some kind of intense swing. As a child, growing up I was forced to switch from a small town to a big city. As an undergraduate, I switched from computer science to advertising. After working for several years, I decided to give up advertising and pursue expressing myself through animation. In living with this oscillating state for a long time, I gradually discovered the beauty that exists in it. It allowed me to feel the dramatic changes in the environment I was in as I switched rapidly, and it made me fresh and sensitive to narratives in a variety of different contexts.


I am also strongly influenced by my experience in the advertising industry. Working creatively in a commercial environment for a long time has given me a comprehensive understanding of the material and spiritual state of contemporary humanity as a whole. Starting with a critique of consumerism, I began to explore the alienation of human beings in modern society and the absurdity that pervades modern life. It was this rise in critical thinking that led me to leave the advertising industry and pursue independent creative work.


In the short time since I started working as an animation artist, I have been experimenting with the uncertainty that accumulates frame by frame in the moving image to express my various themes. This uncertainty may be in materials, may be in narrative structures, or it may be in different perspectives.


Of the projects currently being completed at the Royal College of Art, the first-year film Honey addresses the crisis of attention experienced by humans in the modern media environment through my own procrastination. And my graduation film, The Water Ghost, will attempt to use absurd yet romantic narrative structures that hark back to my childhood.


The Water Ghost is a romantic poem about my childhood, a subjective fantasy that changes the memories of the past. It is an epic on the smallest scale.


Through the perspective of a childhood friend I knew, who drowned and became a water ghost, the viewer will experience all those moments of my childhood that are etched in my mind and have a full awareness of the intense sway of my childhood, as well as the chaos and disorder when I recall them. Some of these recalled moments are cruel, some are happy, and some are absurd; they build up my perception of the world. By faithfully simulating my recollections of my childhood, I want to convey to the audience the complexity and uniqueness of one's life, along with the unavoidable subjective modification of past experiences.


In such a journey to my childhood, I hope to inspire the audience to actively deconstruct their own past lives, to try to reconnect with it, and to recognize their own relationship with the world.


2D hand-drown animation