The Artist Next Door: Bronwyn Maloney

Bronwyn Maloney, an animator and illustrator who lives in Philipstown, knows the joys and struggles of her craft: A two- to three-minute film can take months.

Bronwyn Maloney

Bronwyn Maloney

In 2015, the New York City native, who attended Bennington College in Vermont for her undergraduate degree, moved across the country to pursue a masters in the experimental animation program at California Institute of the Arts.

“I’ve always been into art,” she says. “I don’t think not doing art was ever an option.”

But before her time in Santa Clarita, she had little experience with animation. She had taken only two classes in animation at Bennington and wasn’t sure she would be accepted at CalArts with that.

When she was accepted, “it was such a good opportunity,” she recalls. “It made no sense to say no.”

While at CalArts, she created a short (2½-minute) film, Serpentine, that was a jury winner in 2018 at the New Orleans Film Festival. Based on experiences she had when she was 18 and 19 years old, it reflects a woman’s daydream-like state.

“It’s a film about some longing, loneliness and an identity crisis,” Maloney says. “A lot of the images are symbolic. It’s a film about sexuality, gender and feeling uncomfortable with yourself.”


A still from Serpentine (2018)

In addition to her love of animation, Maloney has an appreciation for sound engineering — after graduating, she taught the subject at CalArts. “I tended to ignore sound until the end, but it’s so important,” she says. “A lot of filmmakers are scared to start working with it until they have footage in front of them.”

Between the wildfires in the fall of 2019 to the world shutting down because of the pandemic in March 2020, Maloney’s first year of teaching was unusual. “We lost access to all the recording equipment, and the labs and the computers and software was a nightmare,” she says.

From Marshmallow Research, Inc.

From Marshmallow Research, Inc. (2017)

In Philipstown, Maloney says she cherishes being near her family (her parents live here) and having time to pursue projects. She just returned from working at a summer camp for the arts in Vermont. Earlier this year she taught animation sound design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn; this fall she will teach animation at Bennington.

In the meantime, she’s working on an animated sci-fi film, Re Shannon, about a girl who keeps getting cloned. “The interest for me was a sense of distortion of time, and thinking about how a person might experience their life if they continuously have these gaps,” she says. “They’re reborn without understanding why or how. What I was thinking of most was this sense of not having control.”

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