This Awarded Music Video Embodied Punk and Fragmented Visual Style

Argentinian animator Dante Zaballa produced this playful and joyous music video for musician Juana Molina’s soundtrack Paraguaya Punk. Dante used a colourful, experimental and vividly rich approach which combined both digital and analogue techniques.

The self-taught animator described his creative process as “chaotic” births unique and enchanting visuals. When creating this particular animation, Dante successfully met his aim of conveying the energy of the music. His eclectic animation style handsomely compliments Juana’s style, which has been described as “a blend of folk, electronic and experimental pop”.

Awarded the Best Music Video at Bit Bang Festival in Argentina, the animation is a testament to Juana’s unique skills and artistic vision. His video utilises movement, colour and quick transitions to take viewers on a journey where animated characters shift from disembodied faces, to retro shapes, to unidentifiable squiggles to dancing figures moving in time with the music.

When we talked with Dante, he praised the usefulness of chaos when creating, and the vitalness of the truism of “trusting the process,” rather than becoming caught up in the final outcome.

The Plus: What has your creative career looked like so far?

Dante Zaballa: It’s been eclectic. I started doing abstract hand-painted animation – I don’t know how I ended up doing figurative digital animation stuff. I guess I always did what felt exciting at the moment. I like to consider animation as another tool for self expression. So any technique is valid as long as it helps to bring thoughts to life. I think it’s good to explore different techniques and visuals and trust that it all will make sense in the end.

TP: We loved the music video you created for Juana Molina’s Paraguay Punk. How did this song inspire you and your pastel drawing creations for video?

DZ: The idea was to represent the energy of the song, so I thought a hand-drawn animation would work better as painting by hand has this particular messy look. I thought the flickering lines and general chaos would go well with the energy of the track.

TP: Your work has a relatively playful vibe and colour palette. Tell us more about this. 

DZ: Oh I am not sure where that came from. I played Nintendo video games for a long time as a kid. Maybe that’s where it came from? There is something exciting about bright colours. I think I like psychedelia! It would be cool to create something that makes you feel like you’re on a trip.

TP: In general, where do you pull your inspiration from?

I feel super inspired by some contemporary independent Japanese animators like Manabu Himeda or Sawako Kabuki. Their work is so beautiful and fresh, and their narratives are always unexpected.

TP: When you’re working on a new project, what does that process typically look like?

My process is pretty chaotic, and I love to blame my lack of education for that. I usually don’t know how to organise my ideas and I am extremely bad at storyboards. I find them boring. I often start executing some bad drawings out of despair. These drawings eventually become style-frames. Once I feel good about the style-frames I try improvising the animation straight ahead, going from one drawing to the next.

TP: We see that you work with a variety of mediums. Do you have a preferred medium to express yourself?

Using the computer allows me to work very fast, and that is something I always wanted to do. Bringing simple ideas to life quickly doesn’t give you time to think too much. And I love that. Whenever I use my head too much things get complicated and I try to make sense out of just everything and that’s not good. I believe the “meaning” of something is built in the actions of doing. That is why I shut down the logic part of my brain when I do things. I try to enjoy the process as much as I can and once I have a decent amount of work done, only then I try to decode why I did everything I did, and try to make sense out of it.

So yeah, raw thoughts comes out using Flash. Without thinking too much. That is really fun. On the other hand, painting on paper is definitely beautiful. It is almost a meditative activity, but it is a process that takes a very long time and it is exhausting. So I guess both have pros and cons. For now I am using Flash a lot. Especially because I don’t really want to buy that much paper.