Wired for Art

Ed Seeman describes the wire sculptures he made and designed in the backyard of his home in Oak Run in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, May 7, 2021. Seeman is also known for his fractal artwork and his cartoon cel animation on commercials and cartoons from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, which won numerous awards, including an Emmy for his work on the cartoon The Great Space Coaster. He also did cartoon cel animation on Popeye and Casper The Ghost. Some of the TV commercials Seeman worked on in his Gryphon Productions company include Sugar Bear, Bullwinkle, Trix Rabbit, My Little Pony the Flintstones and many others. Twenty-eight years ago Seeman produced his last cel animation called Mumphry, Mindy and Max, a family of manatees he produced for the Florida Oceanographic Society to promote safety for manatees. Seeman was also Frank Zappas filmmaker. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

Home » Arts & Entertainment
Posted May 21, 2021 | By Nick Wineriter, Ocala Gazette

Award winning animator brings wire to life

Ed Seeman remembers when Frank Zappa called him a freak in 1967.

Ed Seeman describes the wire sculptures he made and designed in the backyard of his home. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

Zappa, the well-known eclectic musician, was the lead vocalist of The Mothers of Invention at the time. Seeman, who now lives in Ocala, was an award-winning animator based in New York.

“I took it as a compliment,” said Seeman.

At the time, Seeman was animating a Luden’s cough drop commercial, and Zappa was composing the music.

“A freak in an ad agency who was an animator, Ed Seeman, did the pictures and recruited me to do the music, I went along with it. The commercial shows a squiggly white thing that’s supposed to be the cough wriggling around. A box of Luden’s appears on the left side of the screen, like a monolith and squashed it,” Zappa would later describe the collaboration.

Seeman went on to make a film with Zappa, titled “Uncle Meat.” But Seeman classifies it as ‘footage’ not a film. Zappa scored the music and did the editing for the 14-hour montage.

“My experimental films are mostly montages,” Seeman said.

Another Zappa experimental film collaboration: “Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention,” earned Seeman a Cine Golden Eagle Award in 1968.

After retiring, Seeman eventually moved to Ocala in 2011 with his wife Amy.

He also does fractal art, in which he creates fractal elements using a computer. He creates fractal designs for tee shirts and posters. Clients from around the world come to Ocala for his skills.

He prefers abstract to realism. Which led him to his latest endeavor.

“We both discussed putting some statues in the back yard so that the yard would not be empty after the winter freeze kills off all of our plants,” said Amy Seeman.

What Ed Seeman came up with, fit his “freak” nature.

Ed Seeman poses with some of his fractal art. Seeman is known for his fractal artwork and his cartoon cel animation on commercials and cartoons from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, which won numerous awards.

“I said to myself, ‘I want plants and shrubs that can withstand our brutal winters that erase a full summer of creating our beautiful garden,’” he said. “Thankfully, I stumbled on beautiful plastic-coated metal wire at Lowe’s.”

Seeman found that twisting and shaping wire allowed him to express his imagination.

Wire sculptures that Ed Seeman made and designed are shown in the backyard of his home.

“If I had wanted to marry a very normal type of man, I would not have married an artist,” said Amy Seeman, who went along with his wire landscape idea.

His goal was to create abstract sculptures that conformed to the natural shapes of trees and shrubs.

“The abstract aspects of the works are within the whole structure such as circles and triangles and all forms of twisted conglomerations, yet as we pull back from the details we see a form that is very much in tune with its surroundings,” Ed Seeman said.

He starts out with 100-foot rolls of wire. When released, the wire springs out like a giant slinky. Seeman must wrestle it and cut it into workable sections.

[Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

In sculpture, an armature is the framework around which the sculpture is built.

“All sculpture uses an armature. I use tomato cages as armatures for my work. But I use them upside down. The wire sections are then attached to the metal tomato plant cone wire structure that in itself is equally transparent. This begins the fight of the artist against the natural curling of the wire itself,” Seeman said.

Seeman said the sculptures come alive when it rains. The sculptures “light up like a Christmas tree” as the sun shines through the thousands of tiny beads of water that form on the wire, he said.

Birds and anoles enjoy hiding and perching on the sculptures.

“Best of all is when a bright red Cardinal lands on top of the blue wire structure like the star on a Christmas tree,” Ed Seeman said.

While the sculptures seem like a jumble of wire, Seeman swears there is a method to his madness.

“Art is the elimination of disturbances,” he said. “In all my works of art I start with no objective in mind. I do the first thing which automatically creates a problem that must be resolved artistically. So, I keep working, adding more and more bits and pieces to the overall structure until there are no more disturbances. That’s when I know the work is finished.”

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