published Thursday, January 24th, 2013

City Beat: Artist Judith Mogul working on new film

For the last three years, artist Judith Mogul has been documenting changes that have taken place in a field behind her home off Hixson Pike. A house is being built on the property, and Mogel has been chronicling the activity through sketches, paintings, photographs and video.

For nearly 40 years, the lot was a green space, a playground for kids, home to wildlife and a repository for construction materials. Because of its relatively isolated location, people dumped all kinds of things there.

Over the years, Mogul gathered artifacts from the junk pile including machinery parts, rubber hoses and strips of metal. She also gathered bulldozed vegetation.

She has decided to create a stop-motion animation film based on the transformation of the field, and many of the things she gathered are being reborn as characters in the film. One is "The Elephant Tree," a miniature version of a kudzu-covered tree resembling a pachyderm, that once stood in the middle of the field.

She has made a life-sized crow out of pieces of rubber, plastic and machine parts.

In the basement of her home, husband and fellow artist Tom Farnam built a large platform where Mogul has been creating characters that will star in the film, titled "Field Play."

The folks at Atomic Film will handle production. Shaking Ray Levi signed on to provide the soundtrack, and Casey Brock and Vicki Permain will do the puppeteer work.

This is Mogul's second film. She released "Anti-Arktikos" in 2006. The 23-minute short combined live and stop-action animation based on Mogul's paper sculptures.

Mogul recently hosted a fund-raising reception to get the word out.

While the film is based on the transformation of a specific field, Mogul says it represents many other places where kids used to play, where wildlife lived and where trees, bushes, flowers and kudzu formed a backdrop for an entire neighborhood.

"It's just all gone," she said.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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