Johan Marais-Piper

Branding and Illustration / Newtown Art Seat

The Inanimate Zoetrope

The Newtown Art Seat is a cylindrical public art space, located right in the centre of Newtown, Sydney. Marrickville Council runs an initiative where they invite local artworks to create site specific art to be held in the tube β€” I took part and created an artwork that was displayed from July to September.

My response to the brief was to create an inanimate zoetrope. A broken down 8 image walk cycle, which each image representing a character you would see while walking through the inner west. The busker, the gym junkie, the fashionista, the hipster.. to name a few.



I wanted to play around with the idea of creating something inanimate which could be animated by the viewer. The idea of the zoetrope came to mind, a pre-film era contraption that mimicked motion by displaying a sequence of images looping over and over. 

In theory if a passer-by was to run around the art seat fast enough, they would see a looping animation. Though to be honest, I didn't see anyone do that.



Part of the fun of research was to people watch, to see the types of people walking around the location of the art seat, was great if not borderline creepy. There were plenty of characters known to the area β€” the jazz/hip-hop busker by the station, the lady with the bicycle blowing bubbles out her back basket.



Photoshop, Illustrator

Animation test 1

Animation test 2

Walk Cycle

In the end I landed on the idea of creating a walk cycle, one of the first exercises animators often work on is the walk cycle. It was a light bulb moment and the work began on breaking down an 8 step walk cycle and choosing the characters I wanted to represent.

Delivery and Key Learnings

It was a fun exercise in trying to translate something conceptual into a public art space. 

  • Animation techniques
  • Using photoshop for animation prototypes

 βš‘️ H I G H L I G H T S βš‘️

Public Art Space

Being able to contribute to the public art space and working with the council.


Experimenting with animation techniques and using new tools along the way.

Character Illustration

Researching, people watching, creating characters and personalities out of each character.


Do you need an illustrator?

I love to draw, if you love drawings let's talk. Do you have a blank wall needing paint? A message needing images?

Or.. do you just want to work together on something Would love to collaborate with other artists or take part in group shows.

Using Format