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 Toon Gods
The Hound gets all religious...
  Nick Park - Toon God  

   Saluting the plasticene king of



    Cracking stuff...    Some credits...     Nick Park on the web...


    Cracking stuff

    The Plasticene King of Animation, Nick Park has taken his stop-motion
    creations to Oscar glory three times already. His first co-directed feature
    'Chicken Run' cracked open the box-office worldwide, and his two best-loved
    characters, 'Wallace & Gromit', have spawned a global licensing industry
    rivaling those of Disney and Lucasfilm. It's all a long way from the days of
    'Rat and The Beanstalk' and ''Walter Goes Fishing', Nick's first animated efforts
    from 1971, filmed with a cine cam in the loft of his parents' Preston semi.

    Of course, one man alone can not make animated genius, and Nick Park
    has aligned himself with a whole studio of geniuses. Aardman Animation
    was already a thriving company when Park arrived from the National Film
    and Television School in 1985 with the first unfinished Wallace & Gromit film
    tucked under his arm. David Sproxton and Peter Lord helped him to complete
    'A Grand Day Out' and eventually, in 1989, the film was released around
    about the same time as Park's second film, 'Creature Comforts'. The result?
    Two Academy Award Nominations and an Oscar for those 'mockumentary'
    animals. The animal interview technique was soon redeveloped into an 
    extraordinary Heat Electric ad campaign, and in its wake grinning pandas,
    pigs and penguins appeared in soft toy and keychain form in sea-front piers
    and funfairs all around the country. 

    Incredibly, Park's next two Wallace & Gromit films also collected Oscars
    from The Academy. 'The Wrong Trousers' and 'A Close Shave' were a huge
    hit with the public too and this dynamic derring duo were taken to the nation's
    heart. When the original plasticene figures went missing in a New York taxicab
    in 1995 it was headline news here. The occurrence was even immortalized in
    the form of a special-edition fridge magnet!

       Wallace and Gromit    Rocky The Rooster

    On the back of all this on and off screen success came THAT deal with
    Dreamworks SKG, securing Park's and Aardman's status in the Hollywood
    Big League. First off the launch pad were Rocky, Ginger and the 'Chicken Run'
    gang, who thwarted Mr and Mrs Tweedy and flew away with more than $200m
    at the international box office. And now the first Wallace & Gromit feature
    beckons. 'Curse of The Wererabbit' involves a vegetable contest and a
    malicious vampire rodent running riot. Filming is currently underway down
    at Bristol as you read this.

    Meanwhile, Park's talking animals have returned to our televisions in the form
    of a breand new series of 'Creature Comforts' films. Though he hasn't directed
    the new series his thumbprint is still on the plasticene of Fluffy the hamster,
    Lizzy the Guide Dog and the rest.

    Park conveys his artistry through the bold, brash form of an animated comic
    strip. His creations take their cue from Britsh music hall slapstick, from
    'The Beano' and 'Whizzer & Chips', tv's 'Terry & June' and 'Some Mother's Do
    'Ave 'Em'. 'Chicken Run' is of course, a parody of the great gung-ho war
    film tradition of spirited British POWs defying the 'Gerries. In a Nick Park film,
    bulging brushstrokes of cartoon action are juxtaposed with meticulous,
    frame-by-frame manipulation to bring those fragile clay creations to elastic,
    jubilant life. Above all else there's a delicious joy to Park's work. It can force
    a smile from even the most jaded soul, a tear from the most hardened.

    And you know what's just as exciting? - It's the way that this modest man,
    and his equally-modest colleagues are just as keen to give something back
    to the animation industry. Park, Spoxton and Lord are spreading their
    claymation gospel to other willing converts. They are keenly seeking out
    new talent and training them up for work on their various projects. But they're
    not stifling expression, like other studios we could name. Witness 'Rex The
    Runt' and 'Angry Kid' - wholly individual creations, yet they retain that special
    Aardmanesque feel.

    Nick Park has helped build a British studio to rival Uncle Walt. And that's
    just cracking, isn't it?


    Selected credits

        Wallace & Gromit films:
        A Grand Day Out (1989)

        The Wrong Trousers (1993)
        A Close Shave (1995)
        Curse of The Wererabbit (2005?)
        Other Nick Park films:
        Rat and The Beanstalk (1971)
        Walter Goes Fishing (1971)
        Creature Comforts (1989)
        Chicken Run (2000)

        Print & TV advertising

        Heat Electric (1990)
        based on Creature Comforts

        BBC Christmas (1993)
        Channel idents & interstitials
        featuring Wallace & Gromit

        Canon (2002)
        featuring Nick Park at work

        Renault (2003)
        featuring Wallace & Gromit

        Jacob's (2003)
        featuring Wallace & Gromit


Cracking Contraptions (2002)
starring Wallace & Gromit

Creature Comforts (2003)
based on the film

Creature Comforts

Nick Park at the

Academy Awards:

Creature Comforts (1989)
Winner - Best Animated Short

A Grand Day Out (1989)
Nominated - Best Animated Short

The Wrong Trousers (1993)
Winner - Best Animated Short

A Close Shave (1995)
Winner - Best Animated Short


     On the web

     Aardman Animation
     If you're going to start anywhere it may as well be here. The official
     Aardman pages are superb, always evolving, but always maitaining
     a clean, sleek design and easy navigation. Park and Aardman's film
     history is neatly detailed, with every project properly indexed. There's
     loads of current project news and development info and lots of fun
     stuff too...    

     Wallace & Gromit
     Aardman's official character site, launched on the back of those
     wonderful Cracking Contraptions films, and whetting the appetite
     even more for the forthcoming feature film - the excitement is
     almost tangible...

     People Are Strange
     'People Are Strange' features a more detailed biography and
     some anecdotes and notes on NP's works. Simple scrolling text
     with a couple of images. A useful addition.


                                                         TOON GODS  Next...     
© Aardman Animation/Dreamworks/Pathe/BBC / F2000-2003