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 thePrelinger Archives.Producer for Blashfield Studio was Marilyn Zornado.SEE "PANCREAS" HERE
MARGINALLY LESS 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 internationally. The videos received numerous MTV Awards and Nominations (left) as well as a Cannes Gold Lion and a Grammy.
"Time to eat all your
word, swallow your pride, open your eyes..."
Tears for Fears
SOWING THE 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 movie...
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
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". --Jim Farber
In the animated world of Jim Blashfield everything familiar looks strange.
VIDEO NOMINATIONS and AWARDS
And She Was / 1986
Best Group Video /
Best Concept Video
Boy in the Bubble / 1987
Best Video / Best Special
Effects / Best Art Direction
Leave Me Alone / 1989
Best Video / Breakthrough
Video / Best Special Effects
Best Art Direction
Best Editing / Viewers' Choice
Best Special Effects
CANNES GOLD LION Best Special Effects
Leave Me Alone / 1990
Best Music Video,
Seeds of Love/1990
Tears for Fears
Best Concept Video
Best Post Modern Video
Breakthrough Video / Best Special Effects
MTV AWARDS Best Special Effects / Breakthrough Video
In this archival review, the writer Jim Farber reflects on the Blashfield Studio's music videos and production techniques of the mid-1980s.
GHOSTS OF POP
Connoisseur MagazineMay 1989
From Tears for Fears SOWING THE SEEDS OF LOVE
1 8 0 1 N W U P S H U R S T P O R T L A N D O R U S A 9 7 2 0 9 / J B S T U D I O @ S P I R I T O N E . C O M