Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MV Director Spotlight : Maria Juranic

You know, I'm always excited to see any up and coming directors (or creative people in general) doing their thing and doin' it well. However, when I stumbled upon the innovative and sometimes flat out bizarre videos of Maria Juranic, I was especially excited to see a fellow fabulous female making some absolutely FIERCE visual statements on the screen!

Seriously -- her stuff blows me away. I'm pretty sure that if I could ever get my motion work to be half as cool as her videos, then I would be a very contented kitty. ;)

At any rate, there is something very fresh and organic about her videos that makes them incredibly fun to watch and analyze.

Juarnic's use of cut and paste graphics, bizzare morph effects, stop motion and childhood trappings lends itself to a lot of intriguing possibilities visually. What's more is that the conventions that she typically uses are pretty simple. These aren't 'Avatar' style effects that she's employing here and it doesn't need to be. Every video definately employs a very D.I.Y. , cut n' paste, artsy, gritty, punk rock feel.

My absolute favorite Juarnic video is "Optimist (We Are Not For Them)" from Minneapolis born hip-hop artist, P.O.S.

I first saw this clip about a year ago and have been a big admirer of Juaric's work ever since. I think that the first thing that struck me about the video is that it was certainly a refreshing departure visually from the bulk of the hip hop videos in rotation right now. I believe that it is also to P.O.S's credit that he let Juranic do her thing creatively. The end result was brilliant and ultimately gave a little bit of an alternative face to the hip-hop music video altogether.

"Optimist" was less about bling and more about making a visual statement which I thought was incredibly cool. It shatters some of the traditional hip-hop conventions and I believe that the risk taking here visually was well worth it. There is definitely a cut n' paste punk sensibility that Juranic plays with throughout the video which I believe is a fairly unique visual approach for a hip-hop video. As a matter of fact, those who know anything about P.O.S. would not find the punk undertones surprising at all. P.O.S. (who's given name is Stefon Alexander) actually started out as a punk rock musician well before he was ever an MC.

Personally, I believe that mixing punk and hip-hop visual sensibilities makes for a very unique and irresistible visual experience in the end. Throw in some stop motion and a few of your brother's toy cars, and the whole thing starts to make you think of childhood play with a little funk rubbed all over it.

That's totally my kind of music video! ;)

What I feel is even cooler than all of that is how Juaraic can pull off a decidedly cut n paste, animated visual style and then seamlessly switch gears altogether to create something like her short "Phantom" demo piece. That one is (literally and figuratively ) a whole other visual monster.

It's gorgeously creepy and deliciously disturbing. You seriously don't want to miss this one, kids! (see clips below).

In any case, check out "Optimist (We Are not For Them)", "Phantom" and several other fabulous Maria Juarnic creations :

P.O.S. -- "Optimist (We Are Not For Them) -- (2009)

Eyedea & Abillities -- "Junk" (2009)

Eyedea and Abillities -- "Smile" (2009)

(Demo Piece) -- "Phantom" (2009)

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