Artist’s Notebook: Jacob Ciocci

November 17, 2014 | Rhett Jones

ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their original “idea sketch” next to a finished artwork or project. This week, newly Brooklyn-based artist Jacob Ciocci, a multi-media artist, formerly Paper Rad and now working with Extreme Animals. Here he talks about his video album, “The Urgency.”

“THE URGENCY” started as 6 to 8 new compositions by Extreme Animals (myself and David Wightman’s performance/music project). I then started to work on the videos (at the same time as we tweaked/finished the songs). The videos were released first as a limited edition VHS on Thunderzone Entertainment (link). Then a longer, expanded version was released by Undervolt & Co. (link) as a digital download and/or DVD.



The process for creating these videos is similar to the process I use when I am painting or making music: “make a mess, then clean it up.”

I have many different folders on my computer for video clips and sound files I have downloaded. In addition I have a massive “screenshots” folder and a massive “random text files” folder that I grab images and text from as well. I try to keep it all organized, but it’s impossible. there is something important about the disorder however, so that when I am sifting through my computer looking for the “perfect clip” I always find what I wasn’t looking for.



I don’t know what the songs or videos or paintings are going to be about until I am about 1/2 to 3/4 into working on them. Obviously I have a set of ideas or things I am thinking about when I start, but it never works out as planned. I put two clips next to each other on the timeline and try to figure out what it means. Then I look for a third clip either on my hard drive or on the internet, then a fourth clip, and so on . . . I guess it’s kind of like a puzzle that reveals itself slowly, until every piece is in place. I try and make it work so that every clip/piece is necessary, so that no one piece of the puzzle can be removed without if feeling “missing”.

As I am working I am making notes on my computer and in my notebook. These notes are a “free and safe space.” Most of these ideas do not make it into the final project but may end up in a painting or a future song or video:




Eventually I add text into the videos, as the story unfolds. The texts are often things I have written down in my notebook. Then I add animated characters to help carry along the set of ideas/feelings that I am starting to notice as I work on the videos. The animated character is there to help embody the ideas/feelings that I am beginning to shape in the videos. In the case of “THE URGENCY” the animated characters also transitions you through the different videos, culminating in a climactic ending that ties all of the videos together.

stills_use_urgency1 stills_use_urgency2




When David and I were working on the cover artwork for the VHS version of this release, we passed back and forth “artwork inspirations:”

urgency_vhs1 urgency_vhs2 copy

Here’s the final trailer for “THE URGENCY” which can be purchased in full from Undervolt.co:


“THE URGENCY” will be screened in its entirety at the Migrating Forms Film Festival on December 18th, 2014 and Extreme Animals will be playing a live set at Silent Barn on Thursday, November 20th.