Meet Your Maker: Christian Comazzi

Christian Comazzi at work in Vineyard Haven Harbor. —Photo by Ralph Stewart

The first annual Martha’s Vineyard Mini Maker Faire will take place on Saturday, May 7, from 10 am to 4 pm at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury. The Faire will showcase Island “makers” — beekeepers, swordmakers, robot designers, artists, musicians — anyone who comes up with a clever solution or a new idea. One of the “makers” you’ll get to meet is Christian Comazzi. Comazzi, a Boston native and current resident of Vineyard Haven, is half of a dynamic artistic duo that includes his daughter Ada, who will turn 10 the day after the Maker Faire. The two have teamed up on a unique mixed-media project that is sure to inspire interest and, they hope, audience participation.

Can you describe the project?

We will be sharing our story design for a combined book/animation creation called “1671.” It’s about a classroom of animal children who migrate between the Charles River in Boston and Vineyard Haven. Various capers ensue, and lots of opportunities to learn are presented by the journey of the small group.

I’m already hooked. Does the title “1671” tie in to Boston?

There’s an amazing coincidence here. I had worked in children’s media with WGBH and PBS, so I know the Boston area well and am always eager to share creative experiences with my daughter.

We were at the Charles River recently and came across a tree with a marker reading “1671.” We found a small opening in the tree. Ada drew a picture of it, and we started creating our story about an animal classroom. Later, back in Vineyard Haven, we saw the big “1671” on the town hall. That’s the year the town was incorporated. We had no idea.

What a great history lesson. Tell me about the actual format of your presentation.

The format will be like a book and will be partially animated. We plan to show the overall design of the story, including illustrations.

We will also be sharing an interactive stop-motion animation using kinetic sand and a live camera to compile a group animation project created by ourselves and passersby at the Faire.

You’re going to have to explain that further.

Sure. We will have a tripod with a camera or two pointing at a flat easel. The easel will be a frame filled with smooth kinetic sand. It’s magnetic sand, which is easier to sculpt than regular sand.

We will take a photo of the flat sand on the easel, then move the sand in some way and take another photo. We will repeat that process a few thousand times. Usually 5,000 distinct snapshots can yield a 2.5- to 4-minute animation.

Is that where passersby can help out?

Definitely. Ada and I want people to take some of the photos and help design the sand patterns. We’re hoping to introduce people to a new, fun, collaborative animation process.

What will become of the finished product?

After the Faire, we will compile it and present it online and on social media, hopefully with credits rolling so that all the helpers see their name.

Thank you, Christian. It must be a pleasure to team up with your daughter in such an exciting way.

It is. I consider us independent co-producers in this effort. She’s a prolific artist, and it amazes me how easily her young mind embarks upon the creative journey.