Marta Finkelstein (born 1990) is an experimental artist working with clay, paint, sound, and moving image. She received her BFA in Ceramics from Indiana University in 2012, and went on to pursue experimental animation at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she received her MFA in Kinetic Imaging in 2015. Her work has been exhibited across the United States, as well as internationally at film festivals in France, Spain, Serbia, Columbia, Mexico, Australia, Greece, Italy, Canada, Russia, Germany and England. Awards include ‘Most Environmentally Conscious’ at INLight 2014 (in collaboration with Christopher David White) and Curator’s Choice Award at 2014 Kinsey Institute Juried Exhibition. She is currently teaching animation at Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as managing a non-profit studio collective in Richmond, Virginia.

Artist Statement

Experimental animation is the ultimate expression of power. Not only can I control the image; I can control how it moves and how it sounds. I can give life to an inanimate object that I created with my own hands. I can take a static photograph, cut it apart, and give it a completely new gesture by the amount of space I move it each frame. There is unmitigated power found in animating, and the act itself is sublimely subversive.

In each of my short animations, I am finding new ways to communicate my profound fascination in power dynamics. In one hand, I am interested in the aesthetics of vulnerability and powerlessness. With a medium where I have complete control, I explore the fear of being controlled. I play with the cute aesthetic; create objects that are forced into a position of vulnerability, from their size or their ontology. Some objects are infantilized or feminized, and put in situations that capitalize on their innocence. I create these situations in order to question the viewer’s response to such conditions. Does the viewer find any pleasure in looking? Do they feel discomfort? Anger? Pity? When approaching media, we must reflect on our emotional reactions to what is presented to us. When we do so, we will have a better understanding of human nature.

am also interested in creating new ways to express the idea of ‘power’ and ‘force’. While much of my work is very representational and figurative, I am also experimenting with a body of work that pares down the expression of power to mere lines and forms. How would a powerful force, like gravity, act upon something growing and changing? The answer to this question is evident in every corner of this universe. We can see the pattern echoed in topographical maps, we can see it in wood grain, even in the anatomy of our own cells. In thinking about this powerful force of nature, I am creating a series of abstract paintings and drawings as well as animated installations.

In a world where we are at the mercy of powerful forces beyond our control, I create artwork that reflects the frustration of feeling such powerlessness. From feeling the weight of gravity holding me down, to feeling utterly vulnerable as a human being in a constantly changing universe. In creation, I find the antidote to fearing mortality.


  • Independent Animator & Director
  • Adjunct Professor

    Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

    Department of Kinetic Imaging & Department of Art Foundation

    • Animation 1, 2 & 3
    • Character Design For New Media
    • Advanced Stop-Motion Techniques
    • Puppets: Performance to Animation
    • Experimental Clay Animation
    • Investigations in Animation
    • Art Foundation: Time Studio
    • Art Foundation Project: Animation
    • Art Foundation Project: Video Art
    • Art Foundation Project: Sound Art
  • Studio Manager
  • Instructor
    Sound Arts Richmond 2018

    Experiments In Sound Workshop Series: Sonic Bodies 

  • Studio Assistant & Figure Model
  • Education

    Master of Fine Arts: Kinetic Imaging, Virginia Commonwealth University

    Bachelor of Fine Arts: Ceramics, Indiana University


  • James River Short Film Juried Competition: Honorable Mention
    Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Adjunct Faculty Research Grant
    Virginia Commonwealth university School of the Arts
  • InLight Richmond: Most Environmentally Conscious
    1708 Gallery
  • Kinsey Juried Art Show: Curator's Choice Award
    Grunwald Gallery of Art
  • Nick's Bricks Award in Ceramics
    Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts
  • Foundation Award
    Henry Radford Hope School of the Arts

Exhibitions & Screenings


InLight Richmond: A 1708 Gallery Exhibition-Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia

Reflect – FAB Gallery, Richmond, VA

Market Art & Design Show- The Bridgehampton Museum, Hamptons, NY

Sonic Bodies- Anderson Gallery, Richmond, VA

Ripple Effect: Canal Walk Mural Installation– Venture Richmond


James River Short Film Juried Competition – Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: Richmond, Virginia

The Gravity of the Situation—The Silos Artist Collective, Richmond, VA

Juried Art Exhibition – Athens Institute of Contemporary Art, Athens, Georgia

Toronto Arthouse Film Festival – Fox Theater, Toronto, Canada

Venice Film Week – La Casa Del Cinema, Venice, Italy


Avant Edge Film Festival – CEFF Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Tahoe Underground Film Festival – Sierra Nevada College, Tahoe, Nevada

Locomocion/Experimental Animation Festival – Mexico City, Mexico

PiGrecoZen Film Fest –Mole Vanvitelliana, Ancona, Italy

New York Film Week – The Producer’s Club: New York, New York

Watered Down – Athens Institute of Contemporary Art: Athens, Georgia

GenreBlast Film Festival – State Theater: Richmond, Virginia

39th Elche International Independent Film Festival – Cases Mare De Due, Elche, Spain

Euro Fest – St. Petersburg, Russia

Backup festival: Art.Screen –Bauhaus-University Weimar, Weimar, Germany

Athens Animfest –romantso, Athens, Greece

DeleteTV – Television Broadcast: Melbourne, Australia

Open World Animation Festival – Alternative Gallery: Allentown, Pennsylvania

Tramp L’oeil: Ceramics of the Third Wave – Fraction Print Studio: Kansas City, Missouri

No Dialogue International Film Festival – Band Films, Bristol, England

Videodrome: Film, Animation + Video Art –  rye Wax, London, England


Blowup Chicago International Arthouse Film Festival – Chicago, Illinois

Experimental Superstars International Film Festival – Novi Sad, Serbia

SEFF Binghamton Student Experimental Film Festival – Binghamton, New York

Without Words Film Festival – Les Films Du Gabain: Marseille, France

Gaze X Animation Spectacular II – Artist Television Access, San Francisco, California

Post Mortem International Film Festival – Aguascalientes, Mexico

CineAutopsia Experimental Film Festival- Casa Manigua, Bogotá, Columbia

Rural FilmFest – Sierra Madrona, Spain

Cute As A Button – Anderson Gallery, Richmond, Virginia


InLight Richmond - 1708 Gallery, Richmond, Virginia

James River Filmmaker’s Forum – Visual Arts Center, Richmond, Virginia

Project // Project – F.A.B Gallery VCUArts, Richmond, Virginia

Somebody’s Reality Short Film Festival – Please Hold Magazine: St. Louis, Missouri

Kinsey Juried Art Show – Grunwald Gallery of Art: Bloomington, Indiana


I Will be in Touch—Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies: Richmond, Virginia

Social Justice Art Show  Gay Community Center of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia

Running, Touching, Pulsing, Flashing   F.A.B Gallery VCUArts, Richmond, Virginia


The Great Repression  Grunwald Gallery of Art, Bloomington, Indiana

Wings, Tails & Scales:  An Art Exhibition Celebrating AnimalsColumbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio


The Kinsey Juried Art Show— Grunwald Gallery of Art, Bloomington, Indiana

Confliction Within Containment  Fuller Gallery, Bloomington, Indiana

Ceramics Area Show—Group Exhibition – School of Fine Arts Gallery, Bloomington, Indiana


Distorting Reality—Mishawaka Public Library, Mishawaka, Indiana

Follow me

© 2017 Marta Finkelstein