When illustrator and animator Jose Atkinson was a kid, he could usually be found in front a television screen. A fan of video games and watching movies, Jose’s watchful mum and dad drew the line on him playing or watching anything “deemed violent or rude, which was usually unfounded and used to really rustle my jimmies,” says the animator. Now a fully grown, square-eyed adult, Jose can watch, and subsequently make, whatever he wants.
“I guess some of my creativity came from looking for perilous entertainment in other places,” says Jose of his introduction to animation. “I always liked to draw things and make videos with friends. I sort of stumbled into animation when I found it allowed me to do both, minus the friends. After studying illustration for a few years I moved to London to chase the dream.”
Chasing the dream is exactly what Jose is doing now, creating a series of very funny, but very dark animations that are enjoyable to cringe at. The most recent of these is Game Boy a silent short that shows the meta side to gaming with a hilarious ending. With a first-person perspective akin to game class Doom , the short animates literal boredom, “and the blurring of real life and the virtual world,” explains Jose. “There’s something funny about children and adults killing each other over and over again in a virtual arena. I made Game Boy in the style of a first-person shooter, which is reminiscent of online multiplayer games like Call of Duty and Halo, which I spent many of my adolescent years researching.”
Game Boy plays out from the sofa of a gamer with a gormless expression who somehow ends up in his own house, and when faced with the option of digitally shooting himself, he does. Full of unnerving pauses and long shots of the gamer’s index finger contemplating pressing ‘x’, Jose mixes both 2D and 3D animation styles as “a way to discern the two worlds, or confuse them as the case may be,” he says. “I’m interested in virtual reality and the opportunities for storytelling in that, so I’d like to explore this exciting fusion of dimensions even further in the near future.”