Friday, 13 April 2012

Animator Profile : Phil Mulloy

Fig. 1
Phil Mulloy is an English animator. Studying painting and film creation, Mulloy always understood his artistic passion would lead him down his career path. Mulloy worked as both director and writer for his live-action films into the late 80’s, before progressing to animations. As an animator his works have been described as “satirical grotesque” and are often of a dark human nature, expressing contemporary political and social values. Shockingly humorous his works aim to displease and disgust the audience. His style is immediately recognisable due to its minimalistic setting and incredibly stylised characters. Over the years Mulloy has created just over thirty animated features, many being based on Hollywood genres.

Kino Lorber, Inc observes, "One of animation’s most prurient, dark and mischievious masters, multi-award-winning animator Phil Mulloy stands as an antidote to all that is kitsch and sentimental. Using simple brush pens and ink, Mulloy's works are witty and acerbic fables, loaded with graphic images of sex and violence that are both perceptive comments on human nature and challenges to contemporary values." (Kino Lorber, Inc 2011) Lorber expresses the devious motions of Mulloy's work and how he creates such an impact with such basic designs.

Fig. 2
His animations are like a surreal and contemporary art form - constantly pushing boundaries in order to shake in to his audience the taboo subjects of today’s society. Mulloy’s work can be appreciated, yet his grotesque nature will only be liked by a select few. Jeremy Mathews argues, "Phil Mulloy's work exists somewhere between the realm of the scatological sophomore and the defiant artist. At any moment, the British animator can be offensive, clever, bizarre, obvious, muddled, smug, distinct, or any combination of those traits. It would be easy to brand many of his scenes as pornography if his visuals weren't so primitive and ugly that they cancel out any sense of eroticism. He makes sure you always feel uneasy and dirty, never aroused." (Mathews 2009) Mathews makes it clear his view upon Mulloy's creations, branding it as something despicable. Mathews's views are shared by many and with the imagery and dark sexual humour it is easy to understand why some would shy away from such an animation.
Fig. 3

Intolerance has to be one of the most well-known pieces that Mulloy created and is memorable, even if not enjoyed. Joseph Jon Lanthier describes Mulloy's Intolerance, "Using crudely drawn but eerily entrancing stick figures that appear to be scratched out by a deformed hand clenching a barely functional Sharpie, the artist depicts the most abrasively sadistic tendencies of mankind with haunting irony. Most of his animated shorts can be breezily summarized as three-to-five-minute socio-moral scenarios populated with humanoid creatures sporting Freudian distortions (phallic noses, jagged, beastly incisors, and detachable penises that are wielded like clubs) and a penchant for exhibitionist anal penetration. But the laconically narrated stories often complicate, or simply mock, the issues they're purportedly meant to dramatize, lending the humor a cruelly ambiguous edge." (Lanthier 2009) Lanthier describes fluidly the various aspects of the animation and brings in theory to discuss further in depth the meanings from the sub text of the animation. It is clear that Mulloy isn't everyone's cup of tea, but he sure is the most vividly remembered.

List of illustrations

Figure 1. Phil Mulloy. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)
Figure 2. Mulloy, Phil (2000) Intolerance. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 3. Mulloy, Phil (2000) Intolerance. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)


Kino Lorber, Inc (2011) Untitled. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Jeremy Mathews (2009) Extreme Animation: Films By Phil Mulloy. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Joseph Jon Lanthier (2009) Extreme Animation: Films by Phil Mulloy. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

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