David O’reilly’s Animated Worlds are Filled with Existentialist Horses and Sad Robots
The Irish animator behind the video game in ‘Her’ talks online subcultures and 'Adventure Time.'
In David O'Reilly's latest animation, The Horse Raised By Spheres, a crudely rendered horse stands to the side of a meadow and laments, "I haven't spoken to a soul in months, weeks… Oh such thoughts are poison on the mind!" Bravely he resolves to approach a drove of horses across the meadow and when he does, well, the film's cryptic title explains itself. This horse also has its own online world, which is a sort of interactive puzzle through which other short films can be unlocked. Like many animators, David is interested in cartoon violence, but in his case this encompasses not only slapstick but also emotional, political, and social violence. The resulting stories are heartstring-tuggingly beautiful and thoughtful, and very, very funny.
Most likely you've already seen his work in the video game sequences of Spike Jonze's Her, or in his own video-game-slash-philosophical-planet-simulator Mountain , or in the glitchy 3D-animated episode of Adventure Time that he directed. But if you're yet to watch his own films, you're in for a rare treat. Just turned 30, David hails from Kilkenny, Ireland, and now runs his own independent animation studio in downtown Los Angeles, with panoramic views over the bustling streets below. It's there that I found myself knocking on his door.