Sunday, 6 November 2011

Manchester Stories: Family Tree & Research

For this project, I had to find a Manchester story and retell it in relation to my pathway. 
I went around Manchester with my friend Nadia (who also studies Moving Image) researching, but I wasn't drawn to them. 

I then remembered something my mum said a while ago. She briefly mentioned to me that we had an ancestor who was famous in Manchester, a boxer named Johnny 'Nipper' Cusick. She gave me a book called 'The Manchester Fighters'. Inside there was a long article all about Johnny! We had two more articles with a 'mugshot'-looking photograph of him, but that was it. So I decided I would base my project on Johnny. 

Family Tree Research:

(Above, 'The Manchester Fighters' Cover and page 1 of 2 of Johnny's Article.)

I researched into the period he lived in and came up with photographs like the one below.
(1930's Manchester)

The book I mentioned earlier described Johnny winning as many as 80 official bouts. It also said it was believed he had roughly the same amount of fights in 'blood tubs'/'Bare knuckle Fights'. It says he began fighting long before he was officially allowed to. That fills in the gaps as to why he passed away when he did, for he developed Parkinsons in the later years of his life.

I set up an account on the My Ancestry website to try to find out any more information about Johnny. In the family tree, he is my great, great uncle.

Johnny fought for many years and his name was mentioned in papers countless times. I also went on 'The Guardian Archives' for any more specific information. You have to make an account and pay to see them, but it's worth the money. I found 12 articles that were about or mentioned Johnny. 
I think I have in total 16 articles about Johnny from all the sources I found.

(Above, one article of a dozen or so about Johnny from 'The Guardian Archives'.)

After more digging, I soon began coming across pictures of Johnny...

(Above, a poster of Johnny Cusick, with his signature, 'Yours truly, John Cusick'.)

(Above, John Cusick vs Jackie Brown at the Belle Vue! 
I was estatic when I discovered this.)

(Above, Johnny is allegedly in this card:
'Also on the card: Johnny Cusick vs Arthur Machelinck')'s%20-%201960's/slides/12012011487.html

(Above, photographs of Johnny vs. Bernard Leroux -

(Above, I found what looked like a note, saying 'John Cusick, Manchester. Featherweight Champion of Great Britain & the Empire. World (Life?) Contender.')

I found so much information and photographs, I was gobsmacked. I even found a clip of Johnny fighting another boxer called Johnny King in 1939. I was over the moon! I didn't think I'd find any footage of Johnny. Unfortunately, blogspot won't let me upload it yet.

'The Manchester Fighters' Book said: 'Johnny should of been hailed for what he was, a ring prodigy.' It details how he should of been at the top of the big leagues with Jackie Brown, Johnny King. Sadly he was badly treated in the sport, and the interruption of WW2 meant he had to hang up his gloves for a while.
At the end of the war, he was in India I'm told by my grandad (Johnny's nephew). He did some boxing after the war, but not much.

I asked my grandad, Daniel 'Ron' Cusick about Johnny. He told me that after his boxing career, (whenever Johnny was in the pub) if anyone brought up the subject, he'd finish his drink and then would walk out. He didn't like to talk about it.
'Ron' also said that Johnny was 'a bit of a comedian, and he was very, highly respected by everyone. Everyone loved him.'
Johnny married twice, and had one son called Johnny. sadly, I couldn't trace Johnny's family tree.

A man called Alf (that visits a pub down the road from me) told me that Johnny was a good sportsman. He was brilliant with cricket and swimming as well as boxing. Alf said he went to school with Johnny and new him and the Cusick's well. 
Unfortunately, I only discovered this after my mum told me, after this project finished. 
I gave Alf a folder of all the information and pictures I found of Johnny as a present. 

My Approach to this brief:

I wanted to make an animation of Johnny's life in a subtle manner. Sort of create a documentary dedication thing, that would last a maxium of 2-3 minutes.

My Ideas Research below:

I loved the animation and illustrations from this video. It feels 'timeless', like the viewer is being guided through someone's memories.

I liked the music from this. I've put it on here because I'm looking for a theme track that may fit with my final piece when illustrating Johnny's life. In a way, it fits as this track comes from a historical drama based around the time Johnny was born or prior to (Season 2 is set in 1918 - his birth year).

Seeing as its about ancestry, I thought this clip may be a little relevant. I liked the idea of lines connecting to people, the 'family tree' lines, especially when you see them laid out in a motion graphic form in this.

I liked the lighting in this on highlighted objects (etc), and the use of old photographs. I also liked how they use 'flashbacks' to reflect on memories, history, etc.

In the end, I used a track called 'Sing, sing, sing' by Benny Goodman, a very bouncy upbeat song from Johnny's period. I struggled choosing what song to have play in the background, so I was advised to get something from the past rather than all the boxing songs we've become accustomed to hear today.


I feel sad a bit now I've followed this project. I'm glad I did it, and will be grateful for finding out more about my heritage. The reason I feel sad now though is that I wish I knew him. After hearing all the amazing things about him, and how down to earth he was; considering he lived through a fairly harsh time: I know all a lot about him, and yet I don't know him.  I'm feel poorer for not knowing him in a way...

Still, this project had a brilliant outcome. I collected enough information for my video to work well; and I have more information for our family history. My grandad, Alf, and uncle Dan have copies of Johnny's information. This has been a real personal project, but it's one of the best ones I've ever done.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Project 2 - Live Brief Collaborative Project - Moving ...


I'm confused by this anyway, from what it's saying from the beginning, but I love its animation.

I thought this was interesting because it had no sound, yet it got the message across. I didn't fully understand it, but I partially understood some of its meaning.

I love how the vines on the pumpkin are 'growing' and coil round and the white 'magic' that entangles Cinderella before transforming her tattered dress into a beautiful ball gown.

I'm playing with the idea of using these logo's as little bounding, living things like the Pixar lamp jumping on the I. Or like Steve the monkey and the attack of the gummy bears...

Spare Work: Maya, After Effects, etc.


The following images and videos below are work I've created during my spare time. They are my examples of practicing using software.

My Maya Title Sequence:

 Experimentation of a Blue Ball...

My Maya Title Sequence and 
Maya Blue Ball Animation put together:

(Above, this clip is of my younger sister 'painting' on a pad...)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Project 1 - Live Brief Collaborative Project - Research & Design Ideas

(A website showing the art movements' timeline.)
I like the Idea of possibly creating a 'family tree' of art.

 Nouveau Ideas for Frames/Boarders.

Deco Ideas for Frames/Boarders

Other Ideas for Frames/Boarders

Design Ideas:

 I'm keen on using some Art Nouveau ideas possibly on the beams and pillars of the library. But it's finding a way to achieve this without effecting the laminate posters already on these spaces that I'm having some trouble with.

    I like the idea of using quotes on the beams.

    I also like the idea of having things 'pop up' from behinds objects like a bookshelf or something.