It took over 700 individual drawings for London artist Cecilia Reeve to make this incredible animated music video for Nijuu’s latest song, Blue – one that conjures those dreamy feelings of freedom and solitude we experience when going for a swim.
Inspired by the Korean musician’s lo-fi style and the track’s lyrics, the film begins in an ordinary swimming pool that soon becomes a lyrical adventure, populated by graceful, anthropomorphic sea creatures, as the swimmer is transported to an imaginary world beneath the surface.
This is Cecilia’s first music video, but not her first experience with animation, as that was something she explored while studying Illustration at the University of Brighton, teaching herself by tracing videos of herself on her webcam and slowly gaining more understanding for the way that the body moves.
For Blue, all 700 of the frames were hand-drawn on separate pieces of paper using a lightbox. The drawings were then scanned in and digitally coloured. Although this process is laborious, Cecilia finds it rewarding: “I love the textures and imperfections that pencil on paper offers,” she says.
Cecilia’s piece captures themes explored in Nijuu’s music. “Nijuu’s world is very surreal. In her debut album, she explores ideas about a person living in the water where everyone else has become a sea creature. I loved this dreamlike fantasy and wanted to explore it in my animation,” she adds.
An avid swimmer herself, the idea for the video began at her local pool. “I discovered a love for these places at art school. They offer solitude and the chance to reflect on things as you swim. There’s something uniquely liberating about swimming: you feel completely free.”
Freedom, she says, has taken on an added resonance during the recent lockdown. “Aesthetically, I’m very drawn to swimming pools and water,” continues Cecilia. “I really enjoy creating and imagining these indoor refuges and exploring ways to recreate the movement of water and images of submersion.”
Since completing this music video, Cecilia has begun making a small collection of gouache paintings, one of which is titled Memory of a Swimmer. Find out more about her work at ceciliareeve.co.uk.