Stacey Steers (American, b. 1954), Collage from Edge of Alchemy (US 2017, 35mm to 4K video, 19 min.), mixed media on paper, 4 × 5½ in., courtesy of the artist. © Stacey Steers
My name is Stacey Steers and I am the multi-disciplinary artist behind the work in Night Reels. Over the trajectory of my career the focus of my art practice has been experimental animation. I create my films by hand, like many artisans, in a way that harkens back to the early history of animation.
For years I drew my animated films, but around 2000 I began to feel that the expressive quality of my drawing style was too confining and I began to search for a more neutral way to work with images. I decided to try my hand at collage animation, a form I was familiar with through the work of Larry Jordan and others. I decided to try creating collages by combining antique photographic materials or film stills with fragments of 19th century engravings and illustrations.
Each collage is small, usually 4 x 5.5 inches, and I photograph them in sequence on an old animation stand using 35mm film. I have to make huge numbers of these works on paper to create a film, usually 8 unique images for each second of screen time. It’s a very obsessive, labor-intensive process.
As an experimental filmmaker, I’m always looking beyond the conventions of narrative filmmaking and I try to explore a different sort of cinematic language. I like to try to leave room for the audience to have their own relationship to the images and ideas.