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Beautifully combining the world of animation and the world of literature, Charles Bukowski‘s poem The Man with Beautiful Eyes is put into life by the collaboration of animator Jonathan Hodgson and illustrator Johnny Hannah.

Bukowski was an American poet, novelist and short story writer from Los Angeles. His works are highly influenced by the social and cultural status of his home town and further “marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work”.

The short opens up with a recollection of a childhood memory. A group of kids finds a mysterious house in an overgrown garden thinking that there was no one living inside, until one day a voice came out of the house. A dead-beat alcoholic steps out and welcomes them warmly. The children have never seen a man with such a free spirit and immediately turned him into a romantic character, set apart from the uptight grown-ups they know.

Visually, the animation is dazzling. I loved how the seemingly painted illustrations help in bringing the poem to life without overpowering it. This shows how the artists’ respect the piece, its past and its future. The play-up of words to images is also more than just captivating, transporting you into a whirlwind of abstract objects.

This short animation comes to remind us that society does not always ‘permit’ the existence of the beautiful things as some may be seen as a threat to the pre set order of things.
The Man With the Beautiful Eyes is indeed a great piece of animation, it’s refreshing to hear Bukowski’s words transferred into an another medium. So press play and enjoy five minutes of pure imagination.

Related Links:
Jonathan Hodgson on Vimeo
Jonathan Hodgson’s Official Website
Johnny Hannah in Heart Agency
Johnny Hannah in Hornseys