Google is celebrating what would have been Oskar Fischinger’s 117th birthday! Oskar was a trailblazer in abstract art, animation, and filmmaking. Here are 5 things you need to know about Oskar!
1. He created stop-motion animations — way before computers. Oskar was well known for creating stop-motion animations that were synchronized to music, according to TIME. He was doing this decades before computers were invented. His short films took him months and even years to complete, since they were created frame-by-frame. In today’s world, computer-generated graphics are the norm. Oskar was a graphics pioneer and helped pave the way to where we are today. The artist also created special effects for Fritz Lang’s 1929 Woman In The Moon, one of the first serious sci-fi movies.
2. He fled Nazi Germany. He left Hitler’s Germany for the United States in 1936, hoping for a new life and to continue his work as an artist. Hitler saw abstract art as “degenerate art.” Executives at Paramount offered him a contract in the U.S. after some of his films were shown at a local theater in Hollywood, according to Heavy.com.
3. He invented the lumigraph. Oskar invented the lumigraph in the late 1940s. A lumigraph is a visual product that creates lights that accompany music. The lumigraph was notoriously used in the 1964 movie The Time Travelers.
4. His work was featured in Walt Disney’s Fantasia and Pinocchio. Walt hired Oskar in 1940 to help design the “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor sequence” in Fantasia. When he saw how his abstract designs were being changed to be more realistic, Oskar quit, according to The Guardian. He also worked a little on Pinocchio, helping animate the Blue Fairy’s magic wand.
5. Motion Painting No. 1 Is In the National Film Registry. Over the course of his career, Oskar made over 50 short films. He created Motion Painting No. 1 in 1947. The movie was created by applying oil paint on acrylic glass. The short film has been preserved by the Library of Congress and was added to the National Film Registry.
HollywoodLifers, were you aware of Oskar’s work? Let us know!