In a world where image and imagination merge, Lesley University, in celebration of the recent opening of their newly expanded VFX/Animation Department, is enthusiastically highlighting Kyle Cooper’s signature work in a cursive, vibrant, sequential exhibition, “Kyle Cooper: The Art of The Title,” currently being presented in the Lunder Arts Center’s Roberts Gallery.
Since the 1930s, film-credit-sequence design has taken a progressive, quantum leap in purpose and in presentation; its encompassing manner has now evolved into an art form of its own, enhanced by visually dazzling special effects and cutting-edge digital, virtual reality effects that speak with a poetic, didactic purpose.
It’s all about how a feature film is introduced, its opening brimming with kinetic typeface awash in an undulating whirl of animated visuals. The opening credit sequence’s central design purpose is to predominantly set the narrative mood and to capture the attention of the theater-going public from the film’s very first frame.
Cooper is an acclaimed professional designer known for creating striking film title sequences for numerous award-winning, globally distributed feature films over a career spanning 30 years, from 1988 to the current day.
In his own telling, Cooper’s childhood was wondrously immersed in a world of comic heroes, monster tales and murderous denizens of horror movies, as well as forays into an arena of supernatural magic and broom-riding wicked witches — Oh no, we are not in Kansas anymore — and ironically, he was born in July on Friday the 13th in Salem, Massachusetts.
To this much-amused art reviewer, this delicious tidbit of personal history jumps out screaming as such a rare, tantalizingly coincidence that I chose to not ask Cooper directly to either validate or refute this fact. To do so would seem to run counter to embracing creativity and imagination; so whatever the truth is, you be the judge on its cryptic meaning.
Tangential levity aside, Cooper said that when he designs TV and feature film title sequences, he thinks of them as pivotal “prologues” to the film. Thus, “Prologue,” became the perfect business name he chose to use when he founded his own creative agency in 2003 in Hollywood.
Seven years prior, Cooper, along with Peter Frankfurt and Chip Houghton, formed a team to run “Imaginary Forces,” which would become one of the most successful creative agencies out of Hollywood. It was born from the West Coast division of R/GA, headquartered in New York City, then operating 13 offices located in eight different countries with nearly 800 employees worldwide.