“Know your value because schools don’t teach artists what they’re worth. Most clients take advantage of younger artists because they don’t understand how to get paid. If you’re going to work for free, work for yourself – this is one more exhibition gratifying “. – Armel Oenn, November 10, 2017
The memory is vague and it has taken me some time to really gather all the details about how I first came across Armel’s work. I remember browsing through the art of Deviantart and discovering the entire “Undertale Reset” comic (what was completed) while working on a slow day. It was magnificent. The sepia tones, his understanding of lighting, and the overall art of the figures were captivating. It was the colors that really inspired me. Even to the point of visually studying his work to try to understand what he was doing. Compiling my own knowledge of other adobe software in an attempt to replicate it. I was immediately drawn to his illustrations, and my search for more understanding eventually led me to his official website. Around this time school projects were popping up and I had to find someone I liked, to pair him up with another illustrator for our assignment, so I thought “why not?”
Part of the many activities that I enjoy is research. I am driven by pure emotion when I encounter something new that I don’t understand or don’t know enough about. I had a similar reaction when I started the written assignment on Armel. I searched every corner of the internet to find everything I could. In that search I came across a handful of works that I would like to comment on. Since I adore all of Armel’s art, my personal favorite would have to be “You’ll be a man.”
“You will be a man” is a short film created by Armel Oenn, it is his French thesis project that was elaborated using the traditional animation studio production method. This video is his only animatic project (animated storyboard) and was made in 2012. He had the help of Cécile MARIAN and Victor CHEA as voice actors and Mathieu DAHAN as main musical composer. His story takes place in a world where society has been devastated by cloned machines that look like humanoids. These new humanoids are quarantined from the rest of humanity and those who escape are often treated in one way or another.
The story focuses its attention on a gang of friends within this strange moment that fantasizes about the glories of war. Being unable to understand French, most of the details are vague, but despite this, Armel’s animations manage to convey the story even with the language barrier. The most sinister aspect of these friends was their clear cruelty towards any of the machines that managed to escape from confinement. This story, as an honest statement, triggered emotions of anxiety and guilt after watching it. I remember boiling with rage when injustices were done. I remember the despair that sank when there was no resolution after these events. That left powerful emotions inside me, and they resonated for a few days as my mind went back to those scenes. He didn’t know how to handle it. I am used to a society where there is often a happy ending and where justice is tended to be done to those who deserve it. Seeing that girl die and knowing the guilt that Jasper felt after the course of action he took to save his own life. It depressed me about the whole situation and reminded me of my own unresolved faults and injustices. History spoke to humanity and really revealed our imperfections. The machines of history were more human than humans themselves. Despite these raw emotions, I loved telling stories. I loved that she brought so much out of me, made me feel, and didn’t disappoint like so many of today’s stories do. My research on Armel did not stop there. Finding that story was just the beginning, and from then on I was inspired and captivated. Not only from her works, but from the artist herself.
Armel Oenn was born in 1987 in France to a family that only wanted the best for their daughter and her future. Seeing that from a young age he had developed exceptional talent in the arts, they gave it to his grandfather in the hope that his talent would grow. For two years, her grandfather instructed and trained her in the basics of art. It was an experience of mixed feelings, as the artist reflects that her grandfather was not a skilled pedagogue, eventually sparking a hatred for color and painting or anything like that and developing a fondness for pencil drawing and painting. anatomy. One afternoon, after two years in his care, he informed her that he could not teach him anything else. She had progressed beyond her experience and, from that point on, had to carry on on her own. He dropped a pile of books and studies that once belonged to him on the table, closing the lesson by handing him the first art book of the pile, a retrospective of the life of Leonardo Da Vinci. After that day, he devoted himself to vigorously studying this art library, to the point where the binding of the books fell apart and the pages parted.
At the age of 13, he became engrossed in the idea of creating stories. Generating more than 100 stories in a year. Sharing them with close friends who supported her through various difficulties at school and pushed Armel to create as much as possible. As the years passed and their friendship grew, the reception time turned into a storytelling moment, in which he walked around the yard telling his friends about the next episode they had created. One day, while describing the end of his last story, he noticed a sniffing sound. He turned to find that his friends were shocked and some were even crying. The story she had told had touched them, a feeling that filled her with joy. Armel knew from that moment that getting the emotion out of the audience would be his goal. Seeing another person react to his work, to the story he created, was his wish in life. I wanted to make people feel. This passion jumped into various mediums even though art was his well-versed skill. He experimented with movies, writing, comics, and just about any other method he could discover that would allow him to share his stories. She believed that the comics would not be enough to show everything she wanted to give. It was a slow and rigorous process and she hoped that perhaps through the movies she would be able to share her stories at a faster rate. She now comments that this is not the case and that it is just as slow, if not slower.
Through various discussions with her family involving her change of medium and fearing that she would stop making art, Armel tried to give in to her wishes to appease them. Finally, through a chat with an instructor, he realized that there was a solution to his problem: animation. With his family relieved and oppression lifted, Armel found his passion once again. Delving deeper into contest after contest to apply to schools in France, she was finally accepted into ENSAD (National School of Decorative Arts in Paris) graduating with a Master in Fine Arts and Animation.
It is considered one of the highest ranking schools in its district and out of 6,000 contestants, only 80 students are accepted each year. However, it must be borne in mind that ENSAD’s concept of art is very different from what we might expect from an art school. In the US, we emphasize technical skill and understanding the fundamentals. But in that school, his art was subjective and conceptual. One of Armel’s instructors noted that she may have graduated with them, but she learned her skills not from the university itself, but from outside influences. During her third year of college, she obtained a scholarship to be sent abroad to New York. His work was so praised and requested that the head instructor of the animation department sent a recommendation for him to skip a year and study at SVA. Even introducing her to a Pixar man who, with great sadness, was not met due to technical difficulties. There were complications to her stay at SVA due to lack of funds and the school’s problem with missing a year. The agreement to allow her to stay ended her studies during the summer and fall semester, and she graduated in New York, which she did, in addition to being named to the Dean’s List for her high academic performance.
Armel had many more accomplishments, such as working as an advertising illustrator and animator for Intel and Samsung, or assisting animator Bill Plympton on his latest feature film “Revengeance.” One of his greatest achievements was seeing his short film “4 O’clock” awarded the Best Animated Short Film Award at both the 2010 “Imagine Now” Toulouse Festival and the 2017 Barcelona Planeta Film Festival. awards, his short film has screened at various festivals over the past two years and was recently added to the library of HEWES Pictures agency in New York for a 4-year nationwide distribution license.
However, in recent events, Armel has experienced some conflict during his last four years in the United States. It is a fight to find money and a fight to survive in what we all know is the Country of the American Dream. Our home was a place where anyone could enter our borders and find the future they wanted. But this is a long journey of difficulty and determination. The hopes and dreams of people who come to America, those who are sincere in their intentions, may have a hard time holding their own.
For Armel it has been a constant battle. After being fired, following the merger of the agency that employs her, she continues to fight for her right to remain in the United States, obtaining an exceptional ability visa, building her studio to keep the dream going. Fighting all the obstacles he ran into. But she hopes to get through it all, no matter what comes her way.
Armel Oenn needs a lot of support. She is an admirable woman. For what she’s worth. I find her little recognized, people really need to know more about her. Your story, what you want to share, and most importantly, your indomitable spirit and courage. She has been given the shorter end of the stick at all times, and despite these shortcomings, Armel has not once allowed herself to fully succumb to the iron fist of social opinion, politics and cruelty. She is an inspiration. My inspiration and I want to possess that fire that she has because she is unstoppable.
Having the strength to contact her in the first place was the most stressful experience of my life. I was truly honored not only by his exceptional abilities as an artist, but also by the person in general. The moment I began my interview with her, however, it opened up a whole new world of thought and conversation. It was no longer an interview at that time for me, it was a gift that I kept giving. His advice flowed freely, much like an American illustrator known as Al Parker. People described Al Parker’s generosity so lovingly and they both share that grace. I felt his pain during the conversations of his past and the emotions of joy when there was a success in his life. I deeply want to support and follow her at every step of her career. I know I have repeated it more than once, but I do it because I want to emphasize it. I’m inspired.
I see an exceptional artist and I know that many of you see the same. The best thing we can do for Armel now is to support her and show others who don’t know how much she is worth. I want to help her stay in the United States and I want her dreams to come true. Let’s unite for her and give the support she needs.