By Jake Kestly
Chicago-based BAWSY is more than a stop-motion animation company; it’s the spark that could reignite the Rust Belt’s creative fire. The self-described “bossy” group of five is determined to reign in artistic minds and remind Midwesterners they’ve got as much to offer as New York or Los Angeles – if not more.
“Everyone’s leaving,” team member Juan Crespo said. “We need to have better events and show the great work that is being made here so people [stay].”
BAWSY has endeavored to revamp Chicago’s art scene and produce the kinds of shows they’d like to see more in the hopes that it will inspire other like-minded artists. They brought their short, “Pluto and the Vessel,” to the Milwaukee Film Festival last year, and the group recently hosted a Silent Film Festival, which was anything but silent. It showcased different art mediums working alongside one another in a shared space – a live stop-motion animation. Comic books were set up at booths, and musicians performed on stage, live-scoring films. The event aimed to bring together oftentimes isolated sects of art into one huge event to display the diverse talent the area has to offer.
“We want to be our own bosses and generate motivation for our own work and create an infrastructure to help it,” team member Preston Wollner said . And he means it. They’ve built BAWSY animation from the ground-up, and show no sign of slowing down. Much of this, it seems, can be owed to the team’s camaraderie and shared vision.
“It’s so much less intimidating and terrifying when you have a really good group of people together to achieve that goal as a unit,” BAWSY leader Harrison Browning said.
If there’s a group who can pull off a Rust Belt art renaissance, BAWSY animation just might be it.