‘Leaving LA’ – Tee Ken Ng & Tim Minchin

The extraordinary talent of two award-winning Western Australian artists, Tee Ken Ng and Tim Minchin, is on show in ‘Leaving LA’ at the Art Gallery of Western Australia until 22 March. The exhibition takes audiences on a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the collaborative processes and making of Tim Minchin’s animated music video, which features his goodbye song Leaving LA (2020).

Tim Minchin and Tee Ken Ng surrounded by zoetropes in Tee Ken Ng’s studio for Tee Ken Ng’s zoetrope-animated video for Tim Minchin’s Leaving LA, 2020. Photograph: Cam Campbell. Courtesy the artists and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth

Both artists are celebrated nationally and on the global stage. Tee Ken Ng’s phenomenal artistic flair involves animation, video, direction and graphic design. To date Tee Ken Ng has worked on a number of commissioned projects with major international companies including Google, Twitter, Netflix, BMG, Samsung and Starbucks, among others. Tim Minchin is an accomplished musician, composer, comedian, actor, writer, producer and director with an energetic repertoire spanning more than two decades. He has played in bands, featured in movies, composed for and acted in theatrical plays and performed in stand-up comedy, among other prodigious musings in the world of entertainment. Click on the artist’s links to find out more about their careers, creative projects, accolades, and more.

Tee Ken Ng and Minchin are long-time childhood friends. They met at school at the age of seven and developed a friendship charmed by Tee Ken Ng’s gift for drawing and Minchin’s quick and witty ability to caption his new friend’s sketches. It seems the pair’s artistic attractions were destined for a limelight collaboration sometime in their future. And that time is now.

A dynamic fusion of their creative skills and storytelling vision brings Minchin’s bittersweet departure from Los Angeles to audiences on the notes of a catchy tune and a telling narrative magically animated by Tee Ken Ng’s meticulously hand-crafted spinning zoetropes. Minchin wrote the lyrics for Leaving LA during the last 12-months of living in the Californian city while he was reeling in disappointment at the cancellation of a four-year animated film project he had been working on.

Film still of Tee Ken Ng’s zoetrope-animated video for Tim Minchin’s Leaving LA, 2020. Photograph: Tee Ken Ng. Courtesy the artists and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth

As a way to capture the sentiments of Minchin’s journey, Tee Ken Ng says, “To illustrate the narrative of the song I had the idea that if we combined paper constructed animation with spinning zoetropes we could create a captivating illusory world for Tim to be trapped in (like a rat on a wheel) and eventually escape from.”

The exhibition presents a live installation featuring Tee Ken Ng’s original hand-made zoetropes, projections, and documentary footage of Minchin and his band, that all together explain the intricate processes of creating a five minute music video using zoetrope motion. Zoetropes produce the illusion of motion through the construction of a sequence of cut-outs and paper models arranged on a spinning disc causing still imagery to come whirling to life.

You can watch Minchin’s music video here and listen to the creators in conversation about the making of the film via this link.

The Art Gallery of Western Australia welcomes visitors from Wednesday to Monday between 10am-5pm.

“The film has taken thousands of hours to make, and has become a project that not only enhances the song, but utterly transcends it. It is one of the most wonderful pieces of animation I have ever seen.”

“The physical zoetropes alone are beautiful works of sculpture. The melding of art and science in making the characters come alive is breath-taking. It is simultaneously incredibly complex and beautifully simple.” – Tim Minchin