Art teacher Jeremy Farson and fifty high school juniors collaborated with musician Mike Andrews (Elgin Park) and director Josh Hassin to create a video for the song, “Bubbles In Space” on Mike’s album, Spilling a Rainbow.
The concept was to take live video, break it into stills, then students would trace each one, embellish it, and these drawings would be used to make a collaborative animated video. There was no way that one person could illustrate all these slides; the fifty or so hands and minds came together to trace and draw over 3,000 images in total. Jeremy gave the students creative freedom to embellish as they desired, trusting that within set guidelines their work would look cohesive and professional, and also whimsical and personal.
This project was featured in the 2021 book Changing the Subject: Twenty Years of Projects from High Tech High. You can learn more about the book and the projects within by visiting the official website.
A video was shot of Mike playing and singing, other shots were compiled from dolphins in the ocean, children playing in parks, 3D animated objects in space, and a variety of other non-sequiturs. These images were put to music, and the students watched this video to understand the concept and context of their project. Three thousands stills were printed and supplied to the students who traced, drew, embellished with personal touches, and critiqued each other’s work. The students needed to communicate and collaborate closely so that the animation would flow in a smooth and professional way.
As the project went on, students came up with new ideas based on the work they saw their classmates producing. This process of sharing and critique helped to foster a more creative spirit and an imperative to push new approaches.
The video and process were exhibited at an evening event at the school. The true exhibition was the public release of the video, along with the album, described in the press release as “a fun-filled voyage through the mind of a teenager”. As one student put it, this is “something that goes out beyond us. It’s not just for an exhibition for school; it’s for the world to see! It’s not something that any other school would have done.” (Eliza, 17)
The video, as well as a “Making of…” video created by one of the students can be viewed on
Jeremy’s website: https://jfarson.weebly.com/past-project-gallery.html