Meet Neely Goniodsky, artist in residence at Mary Olson Farm

She is creating a film about the farm’s history.

Animator Neely Goniodsky is the current artist in residence at Auburn’s Mary Olson Farm. From June through July, Goniodsky is working out of a barn on the farm and creating an animated film about the history of Mary Olson Farm.

Goniodsky will lead an open studio session from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 31, and all are invited to attend. In addition to the in-person event, Goniodsky will also be holding a free virtual stop-motion animation workshop on July 10.You can sign up here.

Goniodsky, who holds a bachelor’s degree in animation from Concordia University and a master’s degree from the Royal College of Art, has a long and impressive career in animation. Over the 15 years Goniodsky has been working in the field, she has created dozens of films, both independently and for organizations like The New York Times and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Goniodsky applied for the residency while browsing through opportunities for local artists. After finding the residency at Mary Olson, she did some research and was intrigued by the rich history and natural beauty of the farm and decided to apply.

Goniodsky planned on creating a one-minute film on the history of the farm, but once she got to the farm, she realized that a one-minute film might not work.

“I had a few plans in mind, but I ended up finding so much more than I expected, which is great. I was planning on doing a one-minute film, but now it’s almost at three minutes,” Goniodsky said.

Goniodsky uses found objects from the farm to propel the animation. Rusty nuts and bolts from the old workshop move across the screen, creating a montage. Hay from the barn and rocks from the stream cover and uncover drawings of the Olson family.

A cyanotype created with foliage Goniodsky found around the farm hangs from one of the barn’s rafters. It is used as a background in one sequence of the animation.

The style of animation Goniodsky does is laborious at times. For any given sequence, she has to set up an overhead camera and take dozens of shots, moving the objects in front of the camera little by little.

Rather than drawing sequences digitally, Goniodsky mostly draws scenes by hand before setting up the drawings with objects from around the farm.

“Because I’m working with found objects, I feel like everything I wanted to do really involved moving objects around,” Goniodsky said.

Goniodsky is excited to share her knowledge of animation during the virtual workshop on July 10.

“The good thing about the virtual animation workshop is that everyone sets up their own station as opposed to having the feeling that it’s something you do in class or at a studio,” Goniodsky said. “When the workshop is done, they can keep animating. Anyone with a phone or an iPad or a webcam can start animating.”

If you attend the studio session on July 30, you’ll be able to watch the animation in the environment where it was produced.

“I want to show the audience a glimpse into the process. It’s kind of cool to see all the blue on screen and then see, ‘oh this is a photograph of the cyanotype right there,’” Goniodsky said

You can read more information about the artist in residence at Mary Olson Farm here.

Neely Goniodsky sets up a shot for the animated film she is creating as part of her residency at Mary Olson Farm on Friday, June 25, 2021. Goniodsky is creating an animated film on the history of the Mary Olson Farm during her residency. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Auburn Reporter