"House of Arcadia" Video - Creating The Creatures / by Jason Rivera

In November 2013, Aria and I decided we would try to make a stop-motion animation music video for “House of Arcadia”, the first single from our new album. Using this old-school animation technique we shot several hundred still photographs just to get a few seconds of video footage. It’s a labor of love to say the least.

For this project we decided to explore an underwater theme. So our first task was to create an array of sea life to animate. Our amazing resident artist, Dani Vinokurov, so generously offered to help us with creating the characters that would inhabit our video. Using a combination of drawing, painting and collage Dani, Aria and myself wound up creating around 50 individual pieces of artwork. 

Here is a shot of Dani painting a Hammerhead shark.

Here is a shot of Dani painting a Hammerhead shark.

This is what our kitchen table looked like for many, many nights.

This is what our kitchen table looked like for many, many nights.

Here’s our kitchen table again, with Sharknado playing in the background. I remember glancing up from the artwork at one point to witness a Sharknado character chain saw themselves out from a shark’s stomach. Oh jeez, I think that may have been a Sharknado spoiler. Sorry about that. In the bottom right corner of this photo you can see a couple of octopus arms.

Here’s our kitchen table again, with Sharknado playing in the background. I remember glancing up from the artwork at one point to witness a Sharknado character chain saw themselves out from a shark’s stomach. Oh jeez, I think that may have been a Sharknado spoiler. Sorry about that. In the bottom right corner of this photo you can see a couple of octopus arms.

This is the main star of our video. This handsome character was hand painted and drawn by Dani. 

This is the main star of our video. This handsome character was hand painted and drawn by Dani. 

Here is our very own Seahorse string player hanging out with a crab.

Here is our very own Seahorse string player hanging out with a crab.

And here is our Loch Ness Monster! It was loads of fun painting this guy.

And here is our Loch Ness Monster! It was loads of fun painting this guy.

Those are Dani’s hands painting away!

Those are Dani’s hands painting away!

Here is a close-up of a freshly painted crustacean hanging out on our kitchen table. I remember spending quite a bit of time getting the shadowing just right on this guy.

Here is a close-up of a freshly painted crustacean hanging out on our kitchen table. I remember spending quite a bit of time getting the shadowing just right on this guy.

In this shot there are some sharks, a deep-sea diver and a mermaid at various stages of completion.

In this shot there are some sharks, a deep-sea diver and a mermaid at various stages of completion.

This was phase one of our video. After creating the creatures for our underwater world we then had the task of animating them and editing the footage down to line up with our song. Stay tuned for more on that phase of our project.

- Jason