Mark Franz

"...people desire to hear the same stories told in different ways."

Artist. Educator. Digital Animator.

Mark Franz and Rocking Mirror – 2014

In 2014, artist, educator and designer, Mark Franz, brought us Rocking Mirror.

Bio: Mark Franz’s work explores contrasts between technology and the natural world. It has been exhibited worldwide at venues including International 18!, Hollyshorts Film Festival, The Bagasbas Beach International Eco Arts Festival, and Pixelerations. As an Assistant Professor in the School of Art + Design at Ohio University Franz teaches courses in graphic design and user experience design.

ARTIST STATEMENT: Mark Franz of Athens, OH, assistant professor at Ohio University. – My art is informed by two separate disciplines: Literature and Design. In the field of motion graphics in particular, motion design has been used extensively as a tool for storytelling and poetic expression. Inside these opportunities is where my art comes to fruition. It is often stated that people desire to hear the same stories told in different ways. While this may be too simplistic, it is true that there are a few themes in literary history that are often repeated, themes that resonate a uniquely human experience. My artwork works to capture these themes in a non‐linear fashion as a marriage of poetry and design. Often this proves to be a difficult endeavor, but it is this challenge that helps me stay passionate and diligent as an artist.

Special Interests
“I am interested in the history of experimental animation and its influence on my work—the practitioners of visual music such as Norman McClaren, Oskar Fischinger, and early motion graphics artists such as Saul Bass and their relation to the field of contemporary experimental animation.”


RockingMirror3-500pxFranz’s contribution is the piece, “Rocking Mirror”. (New World Symphony and AIGA) This visual interpretation of Rocking Mirror from Takemitsu’s Yureru kagami no yoake references the tradition of visual music, and the work of artists such as Oscar Fishinger, Hans Richter, and Wassily Kandinsky, by creating a synesthetic experience based on non-objective imagery. While many of the time-based formal elements in this animation are intended to be non-representational, some of the imagery breaks from this tradition and lends itself to the creation of more figurative scenes. However, the works of early German motion designers, such as Viking Eggeling and Hans Richter have been referenced here in some of the first few scenes presented in black and white. This tradition is continued chronologically as Fischinger’s work gives inspiration for the end sequence.

This work was part of Musicians’ Forum: AIGA Centennial Celebration of Music and Design, a collaborative performance project between members of the AIGA, the professional association for design, and New World Symphony Fellows.