Above, young Edgar (played by Al Yankovic wearing a rubber appliance) looks on in rapt fascination as the mysteries of the pancreas are revealed in Weird Al Yankovic's music video "Pancreas". Described admiringly as "dadaist juvenalia" by its many fans and detractors alike, and created with a budget exceeding that of all but the most deluxe set of Pontiac replacement hubcaps,
the somewhat creepy "all singing, all dancing" educational musical was
directed by Jim Blashfield and produced with footage from the Prelinger Archives. Producer for Blashfield Studio was Marilyn Zornado.
SEE "PANCREAS" HERE
MARGINALLY LESS ANCIENT LORE
ANCIENT LORE When producer Melissa Marsland sent a copy of Jim Blashfield's short film SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES to Talking Heads in 1985, the band commissioned the team to create a video for their upcoming single And She Was from the album, Little Creatures.
The succession of ground breaking music videos that followed imaginatively expanded the definition of the genre and captured attention around the world. The videos received 20 MTV Awards and Nominations (left) as well as a Cannes Golden Lion and a Grammy. Rolling Stone listed two of the videos (And She Was and Michael Jackson's Leave Me Alone) among the 100 best videos of all time.
"...Time to eat all your words, swallow your pride, open your eyes..."
Tears for Fears
SEEDS OF LOVE
The Seeds of Love
"...Everything is bound to rise and fall, that's all..."
WALK THROUGH THE WORLD
The Rainy Season
"... And she was looking at herself and things were looking like a movie..."
AND SHE WAS
"...Sittin' around in some all-night zoo, watching it run like a
Dog Eat Dog
"...Hey darlin', tell me what it's all about..."
I CAN'T WAIT
"It was a slow day and the sun was beating
on the soldiers by the side of the road..."
BOY IN THE
...Leave me alone..stop
it! Just stop doggin' me
LEAVE ME ALONE
It is the first time Blashfield has used music video to explore a performer's persona. His other clips have struck exclusively to the song's content. His first, for Talking Heads' And She Was reflected the song's giddy sense of dissociation by presenting a woman floating above her neighborhood, looking down with glee on the mementos and landmarks of her life. Blashfield created Paul Simon's Boy in the Bubble, which presents images of ancient ritual and modern science as equally magical, and Joni Mitchell's Good Friends, where the animator replays an old relationship through its now shadowy icons.
"...For every job so many men, so many
men no one needs..."
DON'T GIVE UP
The Classic Music Videos
D i r e c t e d b y J I M B L A S H F I E L D
As director of some
of music video's most adventurously animated clips, Blashfield takes real objects from everyday life-- newspapers, baby carriages, spatulas-- and then photographs,Xeroxes, and animates them until they become hauntingly metaphorical. This unique animation process gives Blashfield's images a look at once antique and abstract, as if all of them were alluding to past, subconscious events.
In Blashfield's..."Leave Me Alone" section of Michael Jackson's full length Moonwalker home video, the director presents Jackson's life as an amusement park ride, both cartoonish and menacing. While poking fun at the wildest tabloid rumors about the star's life, Blashfield offers unexpected insight into Jackson's psychology. He constructs two Jacksons here-- one an impish child, the other a Gulliver-style giant, trapped in a labyrinth of roller coasters and log flumes. With wit and empathy, he portrays him as an adult enslaved to a child's fantasies.
In all these works, the animation is dense and dark, giving the impression of an old scrapbook. Key motifs recur-- newspapers and TV sets (to represent the collective media unconscious) and the sending of everyday objects into orbit (creating a separate universe). In this rearrangement of reality Blashfield tries to get at the hidden connection between objects and ideas. "I feel objects and environments can function as metaphors for ideas we've been constructing in our heads that we can't put our finger on,"he says. The director's tone can be just as hard to pin down. There is something a little sinister in animating such ordinary objects, but there is also a non sequitur humor. Blashfield himself cannot decide what some motifs represent: his fiery halos around some objects, for instance, mean "one of two things," he smiles. "Either the object is holy or it is radioactive".
In the animated world of Jim Blashfield everything familiar looks strange.
1986 / And She Was Talking Heads
MTV NOMINATIONS Best Group Video / Best Concept Video
1987 / Boy in the Bubble Paul Simon
MTV NOMINATIONS Best Video / Best Special Effects / Best Art Direction / Most Experimental / Viewers' Choice
1989 / Leave Me Alone Michael Jackson
CANNES GOLDEN LION AWARD Best Special Effects
MTV AWARD Best Special Effects
MTV NOMINATIONS Best Video / Breakthrough Video /Best Special Effects / Best Art Direction / Best Editing / Viewers' Choice
1990 / Leave Me Alone Michael Jackson
GRAMMY AWARD Best Music Video, Short Form
1990 / Sowing the Seeds of Love Tears for Fears
MTV AWARDS Breakthrough Video / Best Special Effects
MTV NOMINATIONS Best Concept Video / Best Post Modern Video / Breakthrough Video / Best Special Effects
In this archival review, the writer Jim Farber reflects on the Blashfield Studio's music videos and production
techniques of the
GHOSTS OF POP
From Tears for Fears
SOWING THE SEEDS OF LOVE