Madame Potato

March 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Emma Calder is a filmmaker, children’s illustrator and animator who received her qualification from the Royal College of Art in Graphic Design. Calder credits the Royal College with her affinity for story telling and shying away from commercial design. Calder admitted she had originally wanted to be a graphic designer, but soon found that she “wanted to do more than just design logos” (Calder, E. 2011). Perhaps an offensive quote to graphic designers however, I can understand the contrast of freedom and creativity which goes into a playful animation verses working seriously in branding or advertising.

Calder has had a great deal of success in her career, beginning with her second animation Madame Potato which is said to have had bit of a cult following in the 80’s. This animation was even shown in the Tate Gallery in 1983 as well as on Chanel 4 a decade later (Pearl Oyster Production 2010). Calder also worked on the Teletubbies and with MTV in the 80’s. During her interview with MTV she rather unsuccessfully pitched all of her work, but hesitantly she showed them one last animation about pooh. Funnily enough MTV loved it and it was this that got her on the air (Calder, E. 2011). This shows you that you never know what a client is looking for, and it’s better not to hold back any ideas, you’ll never know what they like.

We were given a brief glimpse into the labor intensiveness of animation. Calder explained that creating an 11-minute film had taken her 7 yrs of work. When she created Madame Potato she worked 12 hour days 7 days a week, for a an entire year (Calder, E. 2011).

Calder also exemplified a dislike towards commerciality stating, “people get on a wheel of spending money to buy things and working to have the money to buy” (Calder, E. 2011). I understand her aversion to the commercial world but all designer must chose to work on his or her own terms: to create on commission, to work for someone else or just create and hope to it sells later.

Calder, E. (2011). Animation, [Lecture] DE2011. University of Central Lancashire, Design, Art and Performance, Preston Lancashire, Brook Building, Room 113, 18th March.

Pearl Oyster Production. (2010) Biography Emma Calder. [Website]. Viewed 03/25/11


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