Dear Martha,

 

I wanted to write this letter of gratefulness and admiration to you because of how deeply your fierce animation work has influenced my life.  I remember when I graduated from college in the summer of 2009 and moved to New York City, excited and hopeful to find any and all animation work I could. The most important discovery I had was finding you. Your immediate kindness and generosity blew me away as you hired me to be your assistant and immediately began teaching me everything about experimental animation. You quickly became a friend and mentor and showed me, through your astounding work and life, what it means and what it takes to be a strong and fearless woman working in experimental animation.

I fondly remember eagerly riding my bicycle from Bushwick, Brooklyn to Long Island City, Queens, always excited to see what the day would bring working in your studio. Would you have awesome music playing that I’d get to learn about, like the Slits? Would you have a wild video of new experimental animators to teach me about and show me, like the work of Bruce Bickford? What would you make us for lunch that day? (I was so broke and you always made sure I was fed!) You didn’t just teach me about important animation techniques and processes- you taught me about experimental animation history, about culture, amazing and important musicians, how to splice film, I learned about new art being made and experimental shows to go to. Most importantly you taught me about the importance of women working together and the strength in animation as a site for the deeply political lives and voices of women.

All that I learned during the six months I worked as your assistant ended up having a profound impact on my life and my future. I am endlessly thankful that you and your animations came into my life.  Seeing your films for the first time awoke something in me. I had found what I had hoped animation could be and could do. Martha: thank you for making the most important animation I’ve ever seen, thank you for your mentorship and continued friendship and encouragement, and thank you for having such a profound impact on my life that has given me the strength and courage to continue making the most unapologetic and political experimental animation I am capable of making.

 

Your friend and forever-fan,
   

 

Kelly Gallagher

 

March 2016