Google is marking what would be the 117th birthday of German-American artist Oskar Fischinger with an interactive new Doodle that lets users create their own audio-visual masterpieces in the abstract animator's distinctive style.
Fischinger fled Hitler's Germany for the U.S. in 1936, when many artists and intellectuals — labeled as degenerates by the Nazi Party — fled amid the regime's crackdown on cultural modernism.
And he was among the modernest of modernists. Fischinger was a trailblazing animator and painter, producing abstract film graphics decades before the advent of digital post-production. From his new office at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, Fischinger produced entrancing animations synched to popular and classical music, and he contributed fantastical sequences to Walt Disney's Fantasia and Pinocchio.
Long before the age of computer-generated graphics and animation software, Fischinger's short films were frame-by-frame, stop-animation labors of love that could take months or even years to complete. Leon Hong, the creative lead for the new interactive Doodle, hopes that it "inspires you to seek out the magic of Fischinger for yourself."
The visionary émigré passed away in Los Angeles in 1967, aged 66.