Len Lye

Sorry for the lack of posts from me lately. I’m in the middle of a week-long road trip from Savannah to San Francisco, and it doesn’t leave me much time for writing. I did, however, want to make a quick post about one of the pioneers of animation that laid a lot of groundwork for motion graphics.

Calling Len Lye an animator probably isn’t accurate, though. Actually, calling him anything isn’t really accurate. He was a difficult to categorize artist/experimental filmmaker/writer that made his mark in just about every art form possible.

In the context of motion graphics, though, Lye did two important things: 1) Like Oskar Fischinger, Lye showed how the unification of music and abstract visuals can create enchanting experiences. 2) Lye pushed the medium in new directions, coming up with novel methods for creating his visuals by etching and scratching onto black film stock.

The resulting wild dances of color are a testament to the joys of experimental filmmaking/animation. May we all draw inspiration from Lye’s pioneering spirit.

For a much better write-up on Len Lye, check out this post on City of Sound.

About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



This is some really interesting stuff. Very impressive!



Stan Brakhage also comes to mind although he refused to put sound to his films as he (rightly) thought that sound would always overpower image.


i believe “artist” / “contemporary artist” could be adequate in that case then, heh? :)

i got to know the work of len lye about 7 years ago in my last year at highschool… found it to be amazing … about a year later i mentioned him in an essay for my first year at uni … if any portuguese speaking people are interested… https://work.squerk.org …. scroll down to essays.

it’s good to come here for the first time in about a month and watch and read about len lye. go motionographer, go.


Cool stuff. Looks like Norman McLaren’s films made at the NFB during the 40’s and 50’s

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