Fine Art student creates animation to celebrate coming out to her dad

three characters inside a car taken from Amy Begent's video

Loughborough University Fine Art student, Amy Begent, made an animation for her final year project – featured in the Arts Degree Show – that celebrates the support her dad gave her when she came out to him as bisexual.

Amy’s original plan for her stop-motion animation was to portray her queer experience, finding pride in it and coming out. However, she realised a lot of her self-acceptance was a result of the support her dad had given her throughout her life, and this is how the project developed into its final form.

The narration comes from a poem Amy wrote about her life growing up, with her dad as a central figure. The poem touches upon memories of seeing her dad every other weekend and her experience with an eating disorder, as well as her coming out story.

Amy added: “It is an ode to self-acceptance and an ode to my dad in aiding that process.”

The animation has nostalgic undertones, emulated through sixties patterns – the era her father was born – and the vibrant colours of the seventies when stop motion became popular. This sense of nostalgia is also driven by Amy’s personal story. The animation is entitled ‘Spud’, the nickname her father gave her. The puppets are inspired by the drawing she used to come out to her dad, putting it in his wardrobe to find, and the words she wrote on the drawing feature in the narration: ‘Thanks for opening the door, it’s about time I come out’.

Photos of clothes hanging up with a poster in front, 'GoodBI Closet. Thanks for opening the Door! It's about time I come out!

It took four months to create the animation, from storyboarding to set planning, making the set and the puppets, and finally filming and editing it. Amy made all of the puppets and sets from scratch, having to adapt from working in the studio on campus to working from home when coronavirus stopped face-to-face contact. Whilst she said this shift was a challenge at first, she did begin to enjoy working on the project every day from home.

Making a project so personal is a daunting task and Amy said: “Sharing something so personal is really scary and it’s like coming out all over again. It’s scary but it’s liberating.

“I would say to people that are thinking about coming out or are scared to that it is very important to do it when you’re ready and it’s something to be very proud about.”

Amy’s animation forms part of the Arts Degree Show, held annually to showcase the work of finalists at Loughborough University. This year’s digital showcase is available to view here.

You can watch Amy’s animation here.

Support for coming out can be found on LGBT+ rights organisation Stonewall’s website. Loughborough University is also a proud Stonewall Diversity Champion with network groups for both staff and students.