Creations of Iris Moore

Music and animation are two art forms that have always gone hand in hand. Before voice acting took its place as the primary form of communication in these films, music played a key role in conveying tone. When it came to the rise of music videos, it should come as no surprise that many music artists took inspiration from the flexibility of animation when it came to expressing their songs in a visual format. 

As early as 1985, Norwegian pop band A-Ha utilized animation to create their famous music video for Take On Me, which featured a combination of live action footage and sketchy rotoscoping, bringing the viewer into a surreal, hand-drawn world of their own creation. A decade or so later, Gorillaz took the concept even further, reimagining the group as a collection of cartoon characters based on one of the founders’ experiences as a comic artist. Their music videos were completely animated, each one functioning as a porthole into their characters’ universe. However, for this week’s post, I want to talk about an artist who creates both her own music and her own animations.

Iris L. Moore is perhaps best known for her role in the creation of the music video for Fish in a Birdcage’s eponymous song Fish in a Birdcage, but much of her career has been spent independently, with all aspects of her creations being completed by her own hand. While she uses a stop-motion technique for her animation, she tends to use a variety of materials that set her work apart and make her style instantly recognizable. 

“I love working with my hands and having a direct relationship to the materials that make up the story, so there is no computer animation involved.”

Iris Moore

As seen on her website,, her process is painstakingly detail-oriented. Every frame consists of paper cutouts, each piece individually painted and precisely placed with tweezers. In some of her projects, she even ventures into puppetry, constructing posable characters with pins and wires.

Although it’s her style that draws people in (no pun intended), it’s her storytelling and expression of emotion that keeps people intrigued. Her projects often revolve around her own struggles with identity, grief, and gender. One of her recent short films, The Evening Thread, tells the story of an old woman sorting through a box of mementos, reflecting on the events that made up her life for good or ill. When she finishes, she gives the empty box to her grandchild and weaves her own items into a quilt, which she dons around her shoulders. When the thread of fate is cut, she bids her grandchild goodbye and the quilt morphs into a massive set of wings, upon which she takes flight. When she is gone, her wings leave behind a single black feather. The child takes the feather and places it into their inherited box, starting their own collection.

“Visual art is one of the most powerful ways of bringing a person into that sense. I am interested in using my art to explore notions of the inner realm, such as emotion, identity, and relationship with the self.”

Iris Moore

Moore’s film is rife with beautiful symbolism and is accompanied with a dreamlike piano composition, telling a story of reflection, death, and acceptance. Many of her other films are similar in the manner of allegorical storytelling, but each is unique in its subject matter and in the way Moore’s art has changed over time.

Featured Image:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.