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Animation (MA)

Lauren Hammersley

Lauren Hammersley is a 24-year-old animator and artist from a small town in Suffolk, currently based in London. She graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in 2021 with a first in animation where her film ‘TWITCH’ was made. ‘TWITCH’ has now been featured in many festivals around the world including the Brighton International Animation Festival and recently nominated for best super short film at the Student World Impact Film Festival. As well as talking about her film on stage at Brighton, she’s recently been invited to be interviewed for a podcast discussing her film making process. After graduating from the UCA, she completed her first out of university project, ‘A Beautiful Morning’, which has also been selected for a variety of festivals. Lauren loves to experiment and play with different materials and techniques as well as her more simpler 2D animation approach to create her films.

Aside from animation, she loves photography (which was a big impact on ‘TWITCH’) and is currently illustrating a children’s book. She also sells artwork online and has done many commissioned pieces.

Lauren Hammersley.

During my time in my undergrad I found myself drawn to the experimental side of animation. I tend to take an autoethnographical approach to my work, often attempting to find new ways to discuss topics that personally affect me, such as mental health. I believe it's an important topic to discuss and I want to make people feel and learn more about other's suffering or struggles through my films, with the goal in mind of creating a better understanding and hopefully, in turn, more sympathy. I’ve found animation to be a very useful tool in helping me express these emotions that are difficult to explain as well as the general abstract concepts of the mind. My film ‘TWITCH’ explores the physical sensations of anxiety and mimics them through the manipulation and distortion of black and white portraits of people I had interviewed for the film. This film helped me understand the journey I was taking with my practice. Initially the idea sprung from the realisation that words can only do so much in explaining complex emotions and sensations, and having felt fear of judgment from others when attempting to express how anxiety made me feel. When showing people this film I often got the response that people felt anxious watching it and they usually feared that this was an insult to me, but was actually exactly what I had set out to achieve. I hope to do this with all of my films – create an impact on the viewer to help them better understand others and experience these feelings for themselves when watching. Psychology has been a fascinating subject to me and one I would have pursued had I not gone down the artistic route. The mind is such an intriguing thing and one that I like exploring and researching not only for my films but for my own interest.

My approach to film making begins with an idea (usually scribbled down in the back of a notebook or soon to be lost on the notes app of my phone) that often comes from a deep emotion within myself or one I see in others. The thing I like to do most in life is help other people and try to put a smile on their face (as cheesy as that sounds) so, through the use of animation, I explore ways in which people struggle using a variety of techniques and approaches, aiming to help with the comprehension of these sensitive topics. Bessel Van Der Kolk states in his book ‘The Body Keeps The Score’ that “after trauma the world becomes sharply divided between those who know and those who don’t” and I aim to chip away at this divide with my work. I think we could all use a bit of understanding and sympathy sometimes and I hope my films can provide this.

‘Just One Pint’ is a short animated narrative film following Haley, a 23 year-old girl dealing with the ending of an abusive relationship. In an attempt to numb herself, she uses alcohol and cigarettes as a coping mechanism. I wanted to make this film as a way to explain to others why some people who are suffering use unhealthy substances (such as alcohol, drugs etc). Password - pint_teaser
A table with a pint of beer, cigarettes and a phone. It say's Just One Pint
Just One Pint - Poster
A man who's face is distorted stands behind a bar at a pub
A girl stands alone on a rainy street staring at old cigarette ends in a drain
A girl kissing a guy but her face is morphed and distorted

My little Visual Diary series was made during the first half of my year at the RCA. I wanted to push myself to create somethign every week using materials that I had collected throughout that week. This included recipts, notes, drawings, videos, images, food wrappers etc., generally things we would throw away. I wanted to find a way to record my week in a more interesting and creative way than just writing it in a diary. This project was a really good way to challenge myself to create even when I had no motivation and nothing special to create with. By using things I'd collected that normally I probably would have forgotten about by the end of the week, I was forced to use different materials each time and each one often required a different way of animating. I combined these with recordings I had also taken throughout the week, either from conversations I'd had with people, taken from a video or interesting things that I had hear out and about (such as a musician performing outside of Liverpool Street train station). I really enjoyed this project but as things got busier I found it hard to keep up, as well as remembering to keep things from the week to later animate with! I got some really positive responses from this project when I shared it on my Instagram and I would like to make more in the future.