The Art of Poetry Film with Cheryl Gross: “Meek”

Poem by Harry Martinson
Film by Ana Perez Lopez
Voice by Johnny Carlson

Oloström is a municipality in Sweden where Ana Perez Lopez did an artist-in-residency. Much like any town or area it boasts of generations that chose to stay, thus preserving its culture—unfortunately not without sacrifice. This is the focus of the video poem Meek.

Oloström could be anywhere. I would compare it to Pittsburgh, but I assume it’s much more visually appealing. This is my guess. I would like to think that Lopez is trying to convince us that there is an aspect which is intriguing, even though it has succumbed to the modern age. All in all I think her interpretation of the poem is dead on. It sheds a light on how modernization has made life in Oloström mundane. “But Oloström grew with a factory, a building where everything from pots, bullets and cars can be made.” (A quote from her Vimeo description.)

Ana chose to animate Meek using a cut paper/wood block style. It’s monochromatic, blue and white, scratchy, and the entire look lends itself to simple computer and/or traditional animation. I suppose the sheet music floating in the background is the same we hear in the video poem. It’s a nice design element, but since I don’t read music, for me it remains a mystery. I’ll take her word for it because it is graphically uncomplicated, which reinforces the message, thereby making Meek a very powerful work of art.

Visit Ana Perez Lopez at Vimeo.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Cheryl Gross (website, blog) is an illustrator, painter, writer, and motion graphic artist living and working in the New York/Jersey City area. She is a professor at Pratt Institute (where she received her MFA) and Bloomfield College.

Her work has appeared in numerous festivals and publications as well as gracing the walls of many galleries, corporate and museum collections.

“I equate my work with creating and building an environment, transforming my inner thoughts into reality. Beginning with the physical process, I work in layers. I am involved in solving visual and verbal complexities such as design and narrative. My urban influence has indeed added an ‘edge’ to my work.”

Cheryl has often been compared to “Dr. Seuss on crack.”