Joseph Bennett has mastered character development more than any other 2D animator I’ve recently seen. Currently based out of Los Angeles, Bennett’s content largely focuses on dark comedy shorts created from sound bytes of friends, family or strangers which are set to playful, colorful and often times disturbing animations. His work has recently caught the attention of Adult Swim, who commissioned him to create a series of five second Vines and commercial breaks of his outlandish characters.
Bennet’s lengthier pieces, however, are where he truly excels in exploring human absurdity. In “FROM GOD’S MOUTH TO YOUR EARS”, Bennett sources audio from the ramblings of a bus stop stranger and sets it to a drug-riddled FBI hunt, with scenes in collaboration with fellow animator Charles Huettner.
The protagonist spends his day chattering to a slew of fellow bus waiters,who don’t pay him any attention. As he attempts to finish his train of thoughts to anybody who is near, the protagonist is distracted by increasingly demonic FBI agents who he believes are following him. Bennett’s lively color pallet contrasts the heavy commentary on police investigation, drug use and society’s treatment of those perceived to be homeless or suffering from mental illness.
Bennett also has several collaborations with upcoming comedian Kate Berlant in which he animates her “bits” or a rambled thoughts in great detail. While the two have excellent attention to dialogue, the nearly silent “BLISS”, is perhaps their best yet. Berlant only has one line, but Bennett’s visualization of her character and exaggerated laugh makes this video a must see.
While his storylines and characters are enough to add him to your “Artist to Watch” list, it is the detail in his work that truly sets him apart. His use of a variety of mediums and techniques, including 2D and 3D animation, stop frame, crisp lines and feathered details, makes each animation feel like a melding of artistic styles that will keep you entertained. Bennett’s approach to animation makes him flexible for animations lasting only a few seconds, all the way up to short films, such as the three-chapter “Odin’s Afterbirth”. Bennett’s mixed style and off-kilter comedy is one of a kind and should not be missed.