Jess Deacon is our resident paper engineer as well as being one of our directors here at A + C Studio.

Based here in Margate, Jess’s love affair with paper started at university in Brighton where she studied as an illustrator. From there on her journey into animation weaved its way to Margate where she ended up around the corner from our studios. Having worked on a variety of commercial campaigns and personal projects in various capacities we are delighted she has joined our roster after her beautiful film ‘Revolution’ won an award and was selected for film festivals around the globe. Delve a little deeper into the pages of Jess’s inspiration and process in this interview below.

What inspired you to get into animation, and how did you get started in the industry?

I’ve loved stop motion animation for as long as I can remember. Watching shows like Bagpuss, The Clangers, The Herbs, Ludwig, Trapdoor, (to name but a few!) as a young child, I was transported. The imagination and tactile nature of these animations really sparked something in me that still exists today.

I began experimenting with animation myself whilst studying for a degree in Illustration at the University of Brighton. They had an old Quick Action Recorder (a grainy analogue line test machine) and I started to play around with cut-out style animation as a way of bringing static illustrations to life. After moving to London and working in the post production industry for a few years, I came back to animation and began working at a small design and animation studio in Farringdon who, at the time, were beginning to specialise in papercraft animation.

Jess Deacon

What do you think is the most crucial quality for a director to have, and how do you cultivate that quality in yourself?

As well as having a strong creative vision, it’s important to be able to communicate. One of the things I love about working in animation is that you get to work as part of a team – and I’ve been lucky to work with some immensely talented people. But being in a team means you need to listen to each other and, also, with regards to a commercial project, you have to have that open dialogue with the client to make sure you’re delivering the best possible outcome for the project.

Jess Deacon

Can you speak to any specific themes or motifs that you frequently explore in your work, and what draws you to those ideas?

One of the areas that inspires me is storytelling through wordless narratives. This was the area that first got me experimenting with animation – the idea of telling stories pictorially. So even when words are used, I like the challenge of telling the story as visually as possible. I like to play with what can be implied through subtle imagery and leave room for things that aren’t always best summed up in words.

How do you balance the demands of a commercial project with your own artistic integrity and vision?

Commercial projects bring with them different challenges, of course. You could get carried away with your vision and forget to bring everyone else along with you. But that’s why communication is so key, I suppose, and listening to the client to hear what it is they’re trying to achieve. I’ve always enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of commercial projects; the constraints of which can often act as a useful framework in giving form to your own ideas.

Can you speak to any particular challenges or opportunities that arise when working with animation as opposed to other media, such as live-action film?

One of the things I love about animation is that the possibilities are almost limitless. It feels to me you have so much more creative scope than when you’re working in other mediums. It’s also the reason I love to work with paper, as it’s such a versatile material to work with.

How do you stay connected to your own creative impulses and maintain your passion for your work, even in the face of external pressures or setbacks?

I think it’s really important to keep fuelling the things that inspire you. I try to always work on ideas and small projects in the background, even when life is busy, for that reason. Also, I think it’s important to remember that inspiration ebbs and flows and that that’s part of the process too. Having a bank of ideas floating around can be helpful with commercial work as you’re always working to a deadline and don’t necessarily have the luxury of time.

Do you have any dream projects you would wish to do in the future?

I’d love to put some time aside to create some more of my own short films. I feel fortunate to have been busy over the last few years, but that of course means less time for personal projects. I always have a million little ideas going round my head and it would be great to have the time to turn one of these into something more substantial.


If you enjoyed getting to know Jess why not watch our exclusive ‘Cuppa Tea with A + C’ interview with her below. 

‘Cuppa Tea with A+C’ is our LinkedIn series where we sit down and have an informal chat with the talent behind A + C Studios, discovering how they honed their craft and how they got into this career, and most importantly, what have they got in their mug!

View Jess’s Work

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