Pictured: Frank Abney (Left) and Promotional image for Canvas (Right)
Carolyn Talks… is back with a new episode, this time with animation artist Frank E. Abney III. In this episode, Carolyn discusses Frank Abney’s new short film Canvas, which has been a passion project of his for years. Written and directed by Frank, the film is a beautiful illustration of how people experience, grief and how the seemingly simple actions of a child can begin the process of healing.
With it’s clear and beautiful 3D animation that mimics a painting Canvas is a poignant story about Arthur an elderly painter who’s lost his inspiration to create, and see the beauty in his surroundings following the death of his wife. When his young granddaughter Aura and her mother come to visit, Aura’s art and curiosity create a spark within Arthur by reminding him he still has a story to tell and his memories are worth holding onto.
During their conversation, Frank Abney explains how he saw the creative process for the film as a way for him to help heal his own grief after the loss of his father at a young age, and how he hopes his art can do the same for others. We also spoke about how the beautiful animation is an impressive example of Black representation on-screen with the detailed renderings of Black hair and skin, and behind the scenes with the creative team.
Canvas is available for streaming on Netflix.
Frank E. Abney III is a California native who grew up with a passion for storytelling, drawing and movies. After graduating from The Art Institute of California – San Francisco, he began working as an animator on game, film and TV projects like Tomb Raider, Disney’s Oscar-winning Frozen and Big Hero 6 and DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3 and The Boss Baby. Frank Abney then joined the team at Pixar, where he has collaborated on Coco, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, and its upcoming film, Soul. Abney recently executive produced Sony Picture Animation’s Academy Award-winning short “Hair Love” with Issa Rae, and is currently directing an animated feature film at Netflix.