It’s a full-time job trying to keep track of all the emerging animation stars of the online world. One of the newest hit-creators is 22-year-old Norwegian Lasse Gjertsen whose videos are racking up millions of hits on YouTube. At the end of this entry, I’ve posted his most successful short, AMATEUR. The film, which uses an offshoot of the pixilation technique, was created in two days and has received over 1.8 millions views in the month that it’s been on YouTube.
Earlier this week, Gjertsen was profiled in the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The article is well worth checking out. It reveals that Gjertsen studied animation in both the UK and Norway. His creativity wasn’t appreciated at either of the schools, so Gjertsen dropped out, began creating his own shorts and posting them onto YouTube.
The WSJ piece also points to this TV commercial for FOSTER’S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS that blatantly rips off (I’m sorry, pays homage) to another of Gjertsen’s shorts called HYPERACTIVE. Has there ever been a truer sign of the times: Cartoon Network, with its healthy budgets, plentiful resources, and dozens of artists working on each show, has to look to a lone animation artist working from his parents’ basement in Norway for creative inspiration. We all know that the mainstream animation industry has been creatively bankrupt for years; what’s different is that for the first time, there’s a viable alternative to Hollywood. Whether it’s the heartfelt simplicity of Dony Permedi’s KIWI, the satirical edge of JibJab, or the innovative animation techniques of Lasse Gjertsen, audiences are discovering and embracing an exciting new world of animation that previously wasn’t available to them…and this is only the beginning.
UPDATE: It’s been pointed out to me that the FOSTER’S promo spot, which I mentioned above, was not produced by the crew that produces the TV show. It was created by CN’s On-Air group in Atlanta, without any creative input from the FOSTER’S crew.