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Celebrate the life of Oskar Fischinger with an artsy, musical Google Doodle

An Optical Poem (1938) - Classic Short Film
Today is not just any Thursday. This Thursday, June 22, is the 117th birthday of Oskar Fischinger. And if you don’t know who this influential artist was, Google wants to change that. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of the famous creative, and allows you to “pay homage to him, while allowing you to compose your own visual music,” wrote Leon Hong, creative lead at Google.

Google has often themed Doodles since first patenting them in 2011. Today’s interactive Doodle today features a matrix of diamonds that will allow you to create little moments of art similar to Fischinger’s 1938 work, “An Optical Poem.” You have the option of selecting different instruments, adjusting the key and tempo, and adding sound effects to your final product.

This level of creativity, Hong said, is commensurate with Fischinger’s own processes. “In the world of design, Fischinger is a towering figure, especially in the areas of motion graphics and animation,” Hong noted. “He is best known for his ability to combine impeccably synchronized abstract visuals with musical accompaniment, each frame carefully drawn or photographed by hand. A master of motion and color, Fischinger spent months — sometimes years — planning and handcrafting his animations.”

Oskar Fischinger
Oskar Fischinger Image used with permission by copyright holder

Angie Fischinger, the artist’s daughter, told Google that her father was “incredibly dedicated to his art.” She continued, “His passion and honesty were part of his brilliance.”

Perhaps most telling of Fischinger’s talent is the fact that even today, with modern technology, reproducing his work is described as “an impossible task.” As Hong said, “His colors and motion are so carefully planned yet naturally playful, his timing so precise yet human.”

All the same, Google wants you to try to bring out your own inner Fischinger by way of Thursday’s Doodle. “I hope it inspires you to seek out the magic of Fischinger for yourself,” Hong said. And as Angie Fischinger concluded, “I feel incredibly proud of my family and am delighted to be the daughter of Oskar and Elfriede Fischinger. It means so much to me to see this celebration of my father’s art. It’s wonderful to know that his work, which has been steadily praised since the 1920s, will continue to receive worldwide recognition.”

Lulu Chang
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