Stas Santimov is an illustrator based in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. To accompany a piece of music by ambient musician Eluvium for his album False Readings On, Santimov was approached to direct a short animation in his signature wistful style.
The animation, Regenerative Being, follows the movements of an unnamed man as he travels by train to a mysterious hotel. What is reality and what is imagined becomes blurred, as he steps into a masquerade party through a tiny hole in the wall behind a portrait of himself. Santimov’s animation alludes to mental escape and the loss of identity at various points, as it is the mask that allows the man to join the buzzing party, yet it is revealed later that none of the party-goers have a face beyond the masks they wear.
We asked Santimov about the intended meaning behind his thought-provoking animation and what process he followed to create it. It was a collaborative concept between him and the musician, Eluvium (Matthew Cooper), that started the production off.
“It all started with an idea – Matthew proposed a great concept of a man who goes to the theater and strange things begin to happen when he gets there. It was only a basis, so I started developing the rhythm, atmosphere and depth of the story with hand-drawn storyboards. This narrative has no a hidden subtext or allegories – I wanted to leave some mystery,” says Santimov.
Characters were designed by Santimov and scenes were polished up for motion picture treatment using Adobe Photoshop. To reinforce the mysterious tone, the illustrator decided to leave a great deal of the melancholy story up to the interpretation of the viewer to match the atmospheric nature of the music, showing detailed environments and sinister attendees of a not-quite-kosher celebration. Regenerative Being culminates in the revelation of the villain towards the end – the antagonist that had been awaiting the unnamed man’s arrival from the beginning.