Skip to main content

Artist - Jenn E. Norton

Jenn E. Norton is a Canadian artist currently at La Cité internationale des Arts, in Paris, France. Working with interdisciplinary media including video, installation, sound and kinetic sculpture, Norton produces performative, critically engaged, works that play with the elastic qualities of digital technologies. Norton's practice is imaginative, kindled by working intimately with technology in a DIY capacity, marrying intuitive and formal processes.  In this, her practice employs a personal approach to formal explorations.  While her cast may be her cats, household objects or multiple versions of herself, she presents small moments that derive from her immediate experience to point to a larger context.

What part of Canada are you from Jenn?
Currently, I am not living in Canada, but these days I consider Guelph, Ontario, my home base.  I was born in Oshawa and attended the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, where I lived and worked until 2010.

Tesseract: 3D Interactive Video Installation Documentation

Fox Sister

What role do you play in the creation of animation?
I work alone, so I guess I play all the roles I can muster, using 3d animation programs like Cinema 4D and compositing with After Effects and create soundtracks using a bit of everything.

What is one project that you are proud to have been involved in?
My current exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton incorporates a lot of computer generated imagery, kinetic sculpture,  and live action footage to address the shifting archival processes of analogue and digital documents.  In the main space of the exhibition, there are four large projections on each wall of the room.   

Precipice - 2014

The projection is of a large archive, black and glossy, that is submerged in water.  A lone swimmer, presumably an archivist, moves about the archive, as film strips ripple past her, flowing from a 16mm reel of an unmoving projector.  Storage boxes move in the current, floating amongst cassette tapes, CDs, papers and office stationary.  The four projections give a truncated panoramic view of the space, and pans as though shot from a tripod position in the centre of the large room, causing a vertiginous sensation as the submerged archive slowly rotates about the viewer.   In the centre of the room is a cylindrical screen structure illuminated by four additional projectors.  Underwater footage of the floating debris from the archive (the office stationary, cassettes, CDs, files and legal storage boxes) are rear projected on the 8' tall structure.  Viewers enter this space through a 4' entrance, revealing the cylinder is in fact a spiral.  An old office chair, illuminated with a single incandescent light, sits in the centre of the space.   When the viewer sits on the chair it begins to slowly rotate.  This rotation directs the viewer's gaze to follow the projection of another fully dressed swimmer, who has swum into the scene, as he traverses the length of the spiral.  This video is only activated when a viewer sits in the chair.  The floating objects he swims through, eddy in his wake, catch up with him, and obscure the swimmer until he is completely lost in the whirl.  This is one of three installations in the exhibition.  One of the other installations is stereoscopic, and plays stereoscopic imagery of water with reflections and refractions.  
What inspired you to create animation?
I have an insatiable appetite for looking at animation, and draw tremendous inspiration from other artists, but maybe I will focus on how animation crept up on me as a creative impulse.  Recently, I packed up my apartment to move to France for an artist residency and in deciding what to discard or spare, I had a chance to review my old notes, drawings and other musings.  I particularly enjoyed seeing my old school work, and felt at once a sense of sympathy for my young self, and affirmation for my vocation.  I was a horrible student - but such a prolific daydreamer!  The ledgers of my textbooks, exams and homework assignments were illustrated with fantastical cartoonish drawings.  The negative spaces of texts were inhabited with mercurial, morphing creatures and objects, that appeared to pour themselves into one another.  Although I am certain I did not know who these animators were, there was an Oskar Fischinger meets Max Fleischer quality to the drawings, a transformative technique that I am still drawn to.  These imaginings seemed to be about the moment of change, the in between, when something is no longer what it once was, but not yet what it will become.  To me, these graphite moments were not static, but were animated via their liminality.
Sometimes the characters/creatures would address the printed text on the page, a reaction to the content.   Examples that come to mind are the absurdly overbuilt cartoonish architectures I drew, that served as structural supports to the weight of mathematical equations, or charts.  I can only assume this addressed my ability or inability to answer a question, based on what state the integrity of the respective structure was; robust, precarious, or crumbling.  These illustrations were diagrams of discernment, how I rolled an idea over in my head and then manifested it visually on paper.  

Video was something that I had experimented with from a very early age, and used it for a diary, to enact narratives, make goofy instructional videos, to document, and to allow the impossible to occur through pixillation, like every kid with a camera. It seemed inevitable that drawing and video would somehow come together for me. What remains today in my work as an artist, is how liminal states function as a point of conceptual rumination.  Animation occurs with the persistence of vision, the in-between moments in a series of still images - I guess I am inspired by the in between. 

No Place Thistle - 2012

Who is one of your favourite Canadian animators?
I can't just pick one!

Elizabeth Belliveau  :
Duke and Battersby :

And, of course, the great Norman McLaren.

What is one of your favourite animation books?
The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema, by Chris Gehman, Edited by Steve Reinke.

Amazon Link - The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema

Who is a relatively unknown Canadian animator that everyone should check out?
I wouldn’t describe these artists, who are all multidisciplinary and enviably prolific, as unknown, but I list them because I can’t wait to see what they will do with their animations as they develop their ever growing body of work.

Steph Yates :

Are you involved with any animation organizations in Canada?
I recently worked with the Toronto Animated Image Society on a recent exhibition at Trinity Square Video and W.A.R.C.   TAIS commissioned myself and 5 other artists who work in various media to create new animated works that revisited Op art.  I have also worked with Christie Digital to make immersive interactive installations, which you can check out here:  & Janro Imaging Laboratories in Montréal has sponsored me to work with SANDDE, which is a 3D animation tool that allows you to draw in space, and I have used this for live performances in collaboration with dancers.

To see more work from Jenn E. Norton, check out these sites:
Main website:


Popular posts from this blog

"RUBBED THE WRONG WAY" Created & Written by Struan Sutherland & Bill Corkum

Official Sneak Peek
Subscribe, Comment, and Like if you want to see more!

The series follows Genie’s absurd journey through the courts, from his wrongful arrest by an overzealous cop to his trial and eventual incarceration.

Genie finds himself increasingly annoyed by his supporting cast of incompetents that occupy various positions in the twisted oddity that is the criminal justice system. It’s a bizarre, yet all-too-realistic depiction of the court process where a mystical being turns out to be the only voice of reason.

Created & Written by Struan Sutherland & Bill Corkum
Direction/Animation: Struan Sutherland
Voice Performers: Bill Corkum, Nicole Steeves, Struan Sutherland

Artist - Bobby Chiu

A Brief Animation Biography
Bobby’s art career started at the age of two with a box of crayons and his family’s white living room walls. He got his first professional art job at the age of seventeen, designing Disney, Warner Bros., and Star Wars toys. Bobby has since won a number of awards for his independent work and is featured perennially in various juried art annuals and magazines. He presently works in concept and character design, teaches digital painting online at, publishes art books, and works on other top secret projects that he’s not allowed to talk about.

NOTE: Bobby Chiu is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to lower Schoolism subscription fees.  Click here to read the Canadian Animation interview with Bobby about that campaign.

The campaign has raised $465,021 as of this date, and has 6 days to go. If the campaign reaches it's stretch goal of $500,000 - Schoolism Fees will be lowered to $12 US Dollars per month. Check out the Kickstarter campaign …


Acclaimed and emerging artists use wit and satire to examine modern society
*French will follow*
January 23, 2017 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB) Now online, Naked Island is a bold new National Film Board of Canada (NFB) series of 14 super-short and incisive films, framed as Public Service Alerts, from some of Canada’s most talented animators and artists, exploring their visions of modern-day society. Available for free streaming at as well as the NFB’s YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Instagram channels, Naked Island blends the art of animation with the format of advertising to address an array of topics, from global warming to politics to our obsession with technology. Ranging from Oscar and Genie winners and nominees to emerging talent in animation and fine arts, Naked Island filmmakers make bold statements in a variety of styles to create ultimate anti-advertisements, using wit and satire to encourage us to stop a…