Seb McKinnon Takes Over Beautiful Bizarre

Seb McKinnon

Every month Beautiful Bizarre Magazine chooses one of our favourite artists to TAKE OVER social media for the day. In 2019, we have decided to extend this event to all types of artists to add culture and couture to our artistic conversation. For March, we chose Seb McKinnon, Director and Creator of Kin Fables, producer, illustrator and musician, to share with us the artists who have inspired him. Just in case you missed it, below we present the full TAKE OVER. 

Seb McKinnon// Hi, I’m Seb McKinnon, an artist based in Quebec. I’m a freelance illustrator and a filmmaker at Five Knights Productions. I’m presently working on my debut feature as a director – a fantasy film called The Stolen Child, taking place in the cinematic world of KIN Fables – a project 6 years in the making. The Stolen Child is at the financing/pre-production stage, with the majority of the budget raised through crowdfunding initiatives, thanks to fans and supporters of my work.
So far, this is allowing me to create the film as an all in-house Five Knights project.
I also compose and produce music under the name CLANN.

Seb McKinnon

THE REFLECTING SKIN (1990) by Philip Ridley // In the 1950’s, a young boy living with his troublesome family in rural USA fantasizes that a neighboring widow is actually a vampire, responsible for a number of disappearances in the area. (Source: imdb)

Beautiful and bizarre are quite fittingly the two words that best describe this film— it affected me for days after watching it… This was the directorial debut of celebrated British painter and playwright Philip Ridley, staring Lindsay Duncan and Viggo Mortensen. Ridley described his vision as a “mythical, hallucinogenic summer in the life of a child” a vision whose cinematography was inspired by the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. At one point, Ridley even had wheat fields painted by hand so that they were the exact yellow color he wanted. The film feels uncompromised, featuring some truly strange and even shocking moments. It’s symbolic, controversial, both dreamlike and nightmarish at once, and has inspired me as a budding filmmaker to embrace the weird and the surreal.

THE FOUNTAIN (2006) by Darren Aronofsky // As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi. (Source: imdb)

When I first saw Darren Aronosfky’s The Fountain, I didn’t really “get it”, but it left an impression. Something in Mathew Libatique’s cinematography and Clint Mansell’s melancholic soundtrack got under my skin, and I couldn’t explain why.
Today, this is my personal favourite film. I revisit it time and time again, and discover something new. It’s a deeply moving film about life, the acceptance of death, and rebirth. It also dared to break convention, especially with visual design. For example, instead of using CGI, Aronofsky decided to shoot close-ups of chemical reactions in Petri dishes, and used this footage as the backdrop of the scenes set in space (he used micro-photography to the depict the universe!). And instead of going with over-the-top set design, Aronofsky opted for a bubble as a spaceship—I thought it was the most innovative, elegant, and simple spaceship design I’ve ever seen.

In short, it’s a film that never fails to ignite the dreamer in me, and one I will always hold close to my heart.

CHRISTOPHER APPELHANS // I discovered Appelhans’ work while studying Illustration and Design in college. At the time, I dreamed of perhaps working for an animation studio like Pixar and Dreamworks, and while soaking in as much artwork as I could from various visual development artists, I stumbled upon this artist’s whimsical and endearing watercolours and seemingly effortless digital paintings. Appelhans’ paintings have a quality of childlike innocence, and I responded to right away. He’s worked on films like Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox, and is presently working on his debut animated film called Wish Dragon, which I am eagerly awaiting.

JON J. MUTH // Jon J. Muth is known for his comic book work and children’s book illustrations. Although I love the graphic novel and comic format to tell stories, I’m not always fond of the art styles within them, so when I discovered Muth’s work in the Moonshadow comic series, it felt like discovering something I had long waited for. In stark contrast to the typical clean comic line art, Muth’s lush watercolour paintings are more mysterious and emotional, and stir our imaginations.
There is one particular gem of a book I’d like to share: the artist’s take on the classic story of Dracula (title: Dracula, a symphony in Moonlight and Nightmares). I mean, just look at these paintings! You don’t see work like this in the comic world everyday.

ALAN LEE // As a child I drew as much as I could, and no one was more influential on my artistic development than Alan Lee. He’s the one who inspired me to become a professional illustrator. His conceptual work helped shaped the look and feel of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (the movies that inspired me to become a filmmaker), even earning him an Oscar. In my childhood, I remember staring at his drawings and paintings for hours, trying to copy his style. His work has an ethereal and moody quality, often resorting to muted, somber palettes. He’s an artist I turn to time and time again when I need to re-ignite the fires of creativity.

IVAN SOLYAEV// Ivan Solyaev is an artist from Moscow, Russia. I can’t find that much information about him, but his work can be found easily enough. Although he’s worked on big Hollywood films and games, it’s a particular series of his personal work that resonates with me most. They are monochromatic paintings, sometimes almost resembling photographs, depicting a dark, strange and haunting world. It feels like you’re peeking behind a curtain, observing a fantasy world meant to remain secret and hidden. The dark and mysterious nature of his work inspires me greatly.

HAYAO MIYAZAKI// Of course, I have to mention the incomparable Japanese animation filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. I was young when I first watched “Princess Mononoke” and since then have been an avid follower and fan of his work. Just boundless imagination! There are many things an artist can learn from Miyazaki, but the one thing he inspires me to do is to trust in the creative process. To trust in yourself as an artist. To not be afraid, and to take risks. I remember seeing a documentary about the making of “Princess Mononoke” and how he was discovering the film as it was being made. I was dumbfounded, and then reassured, that someone as celebrated as he is does not have all the answers sometimes… he teaches me to listen to gut instincts; the work you’re meant to bring into the world will speak to you if you listen. Here are a few stills from his films.

This was the last piece chosen by Seb McKinnon for his TAKE OVER. Thank you again Seb, we really appreciate you taking the time to put this day together.


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