My friend Paul Bush, who has died aged 67 in a road traffic accident, was an experimental film-maker and film teacher. His film-making work focused on replacement animation, in which objects are replaced between frames, lending a magical instability to the physical world.
Paul’s initial film, Furniture Poetry, substituted furniture and fruit, but eventually he progressed to substituting actors in his films Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Pas de Deux de Deux. In these films, two pairs of protagonists were swapped out in each frame while the action remained uninterrupted.
He also incorporated insects and actual motorcycles from a large collection in Portugal in his movie Ride (2018). For his most recent film, Orgiastic Hyper-Plastic (2020), he collected plastic items from beaches and roadside to create a powerful tribute to humanity’s attachment to this material. He also produced longer mixed-media films such as The Rumour of True Things (1996) and Babeldom (2012).
Paul was raised in Golders Green, a neighborhood in north London, by his parents Geoffrey Bush, a renowned composer of classical music, and Julie (nee McKenna), a physiotherapist. He was born in London and attended University College school in Hampstead before pursuing a degree in fine art at the Central School of Art and Design and Goldsmiths, University of London. He also taught himself the art of film-making at the London Film Makers’ Co-op and the Chapter Film workshop in Cardiff.
After briefly trying animation as a student, he later revisited the medium in the 1990s. He was encouraged and supported by Clare Kitson, who was Channel 4’s animation commissioning editor at the time, and also received funding from the Arts Council of England for innovative projects. This enabled him to create films that were time-consuming to make, but captivating and alluring for audiences. Paul’s ongoing fascination with the techniques of film-making and perception led him to playfully explore the potential of frame-by-frame production.
Paul supported himself by teaching in various countries, such as the UK, Switzerland, and Cuba. He had a great sense of humor and was a caring and generous teacher. Many of his former students are now involved in experimental filmmaking and his work as both a filmmaker and teacher has left a lasting imprint on the world of innovative visual arts.
Paul’s partner, Lana Nikolič, whom he met in 2018, and his two children, Lewis and Eva, from his previous marriage to Jane Wilkinson, who he divorced in 2007, are his surviving loved ones.