Sunday, August 15, 2010


I came across the work of Christopher P. Mcmanus (otherwise known as the man behind Hair and Diamonds) one day looking for something else on youtube. What a find it was! I watched all his short films, that mix weird animation with puppets and animation, and became an instant fan.

Anyway, I got in touch and he was kind enough to answer some questions about his work.

If you want to know and see more of Hair and Diamonds go say hello HERE

1) Please give a brief introduction of yourself and your work.

My name is Christopher P. McManus. I'm the creator of Hair and Diamonds. Hair and Diamonds is my body of video work where I experiment with puppets, animation, and video.

2) How and why did you start Hair and Diamonds?

I was previously working in sculpture, making masks and furniture. I moved to Philadelphia and lost my studio space. That was the Fall of 2008. I started experimenting with digital art and collages. I wanted to create something that was more expressly interactive so I started making animation and short films with a digital point-and-shoot camera. Also, The Recession had a lot to do with it. I was unemployed when I started Hair and Diamonds.

3) Are you self-taught?

I took some art classes in college but I'm mostly self-taught.

4) Who are your influences?

Ray Harryhausen, Terry Gilliam, Luci Fulci, George A. Romero, David Cronenberg, 1980s movies and cartoons, He-Man, Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, George Saunders, Tatsuya Yoshida, Problem Child Trilogy, YouTube, The Internet, math and science.

5) How important is music in your projects?

It's important. I write and perform all the music in my films. However, I would feel uncomfortable co-opting a piece of music that wasn’t written specifically for a scene.

6) What's the process on a project?

First, I come up with the plot. Usually the plots are animation or puppets intensive, so then I start working on the puppets and drawings. As I work on those, I figure out how to shoot it. Then I throw myself into it and get started. This next project, Suburban Warlock, is slightly different. I've written a script and done some storyboarding. This time I'm working with a few more people so I’m approaching it a little differently. The process is becoming more organized.

7) Has it been difficult to get an audience for your films?

I don't know, but everyday I’m hustling!

8) Is there a certain aesthetic you go for in your work?

I think freestyle and handmade comes across as the aesthetic, but it’s not thought about or planned. It’s because there’s no budget. Everything is handmade. I guess the aesthetic I am going for has more to do with my work ethic:
1) more is more
2) work with what you have
3) don’t over think.

9) Why the name Hair and Diamonds?

Hair and Diamonds started as digital collages. Hair and jewelry always look good in magazines so I thought that that combination would work in collages. Also, I always want to capture the hard and soft in everything I make.

10) You make films, make masks, puppets, paint etc. Is there one medium you prefer?

Not really. I feel most satisfied when I complete any project. I like film because it incorporates all the elements you mention

11) You want to tell me what's going on with SUBURBAN WARLOCK?

I'm making the props now and hopefully I'll start shooting in the next few weeks. I'm having a show in November I want to have it finished for. I just finished a new promo for it and I sewed the Warlock's cloak.

12) Any projects or other things coming up that you want to mention?

After Suburban Warlock, I hope to get started on a zombie-film-meets-cooking-show idea called The Last Supper. I also have some collaborative work with other artists coming.

13) Finally, what for you is Good and what is Evil?

I don't know. It's hard to judge good and evil. I guess it depends what society you are in and how others judge your actions. Usually the constellation of events leading up to most actions is complex and the descriptors of good and evil reduce actions too easily. It’s easier for me to think about extremes. Extreme good would be willingness to help others with no benefit to yourself. Extreme evil would be willingness to benefit yourself even if it means harming others. Hair and Diamonds is GOOD! Watch it and be extremely good to one another!

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