Arts·Exhibitionists

This Toronto artist makes animation that captures how pop music makes him feel

It's eye candy inspired by ear candy. Watch "Dancing Queen" by Simon Falk on Sunday's episode of Exhibitionists.

It's eye candy inspired by ear candy. Watch 'Dancing Queen' by Simon Falk on the new episode of Exhibitionists

Still from "Dancing Queen" by Simon Falk. (www.simonfalk.net)

If you're channel surfing Sunday afternoon, Simon Falk hopes you'll land on the new episode of Exhibitionists — and that's not just because the recent OCAD grad is this week's featured artist.

"I was inspired by the idea of flipping through channels," says the 22-year-old, describing the video we'll be airing this weekend. It's an icy pastel confection called "Dancing Queen," roughly two minutes of 3D animation that he'll bring to Fest Anča international animation festival in Slovakia this summer. And it's a film that Falk describes as a "mish mash of Dance Dance Revolution and Robot Chicken."

It stars a go-go girl avatar, a voiceless and wig-less Lady Miss Kier type who grinds it out to a Dance Mix '93 playlist. And the video feels like a world set on shuffle, as the Eurodance soundtrack erratically switches between songs, like someone downed a case of Red Bull before opening their Spotify. As for the visuals, they're always part of the same pop art universe — a playground of geometric forms and Nagel pin-up girl posters.

That last reference is totally '80s — but the video's biggest influences are so '90s. The original soundtrack, for one, includes Ace of Base, Vengaboys, Ru Paul and Technotronic. That stuff was all new to Falk, too young to stay up watching Electric Circus. But '90s nostalgia was "the new hotness" when he was making the video — to quote a '90s movie that we're pretty sure isn't one of his references. Falk kept seeing '90s junk on social media, he says. "Not really knowing what it is," he says he was "really excited by the visual language" of the era, and he binged on new-to-him pop stars and TV and music videos.

Pop is already his biggest influence. Falk explains that he usually works to a playlist and tries to visualize the music through his animation. On his current rotation? Grimes, Charli XCX, Lady Gaga, PC Music, TLC, Spice Girls, Hilary Duff. He loves pop, quite simply, because: "It's fun. Playful. It makes me happy." And his videos are about bottling that fizzy feeling he gets when he queues up "Wannabe" — or even "Dancing Queen."

"I just want to make people feel satisfied when they look at something I've created," he says. "I want other people to feel happy when they look at it."

Check out some of Simon Falk's GIFs.

"Dancing Queen" by Simon Falk will air on Exhibitionists. Watch online or catch it on CBC Television. Episodes air Friday nights at 12:30 a.m. (1 NT) and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. (4 NT).

Find more animation by Simon Falk on his website.

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