I am a freelance animation & film artist based in the heart of the North East of England where alongside my own practice I design and run participatory and educational animation and filmmaking projects throughout the North.
I have the opportunity to work on many varied and diverse projects that allows me to explore my practice in a wider community context, whilst developing my personal artistic expression. I combine my creative journey with those that I work with who very often won’t have had the access or the opportunity to express themselves in this unique way. Our stories are brought to life using animation, film, photography and digital media and some of these productions have gone on to be nationally recognised and exhibited in places such as the National Gallery, Design Council, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, Tyneside Cinema and Sage Gateshead.
I am committed to the principal that making animation and films can be an extraordinary tool for learning, being creativite and participating and that everybody has the potential to develop personal expression through the art of moving image. I strongly believe that everybody has creativity in them, and the storytelling aspects of animation and film as well as the enjoyment, fascination and unique experience that making both has for people, can bring their visions to life like no other medium can.
I graduated in 1990 from Exeter College of Art & Design with a B.A. in Fine Art Film & Video Production, where I began animating using stop motion techniques and super8 film stock, 16mm Cinefilm hand drawn, abstract, scratch animated films, early video animation and effects processing as well as using very early computer animation – basically I’d be plotting hundreds of numbers into IBM 486 PCs to create animated 3D shapes as well as digitising video images and print which were then incorporated into presented film work and personal performance video pieces.
In 2003 I gained my M.A. in Computer Animation, specialising in character and facial animation, throughout my course of study I was also able to train in advanced 3D animation techniques using both Maya and Softimage as well as VFX animation and post production techniques utilising a variety of packages such as After Effects, Photoshop, Combustion, Flash, Premiere and Final Cut.
I began working in the wider community creating animations with various groups in 2003 as part of the International Animex Festival of Animation & Games and have continued working with them to the present day creating films and animations with many different groups of people.
I especially find working with large numbers of people to make creative films hugely enriching. I have been very lucky to be involved with some wonderful groups of people creating films to celebrate and enhance the culture and history of the North of England, from the Angel of the North to the distant past of the beautiful coastal region, leading suffragettes and memories of village life. as well as other fun stuff like ghost stories, zombies and aliens.
I spent about 4 years working with Creative Partnerships to enhance the teaching and learning of children and teachers in many schools in the whole of the North of England as part of a major national study into Creativity in Education. I also managed to fit in gaining my P.G.C.E. in that time. Working with many creative practitioners, teachers and educationalists has enabled me to understand their close relationships and realise the commitments necessary to successfully deploy creative teaching methods and the benefits that they have in the education of children and also the working practices of teachers. Using animation and film as a tool for education proved to be successful and rewarding for both teachers and children making the unique experience of bringing subjects, concepts and theories to life had measurable positive outcomes and the techniques I passed on to the schools I was involved with were adopted in many of their future strategies.
I have also previously taught stop motion animation at Cleveland College Of Art And Design and computer & Flash animation at Tyne Metropolitan College in North Tyneside as well as running regular workshops at the Tyneside Cinema and other projects around the region. I have also run a film club in Rothbury, Northumberland and I currently run an after-school animation club in a school in Ashington.
Throughout my years animating and filmmaking in the North I have maintained strong ties to Teesside University, where I graduated from in 2003, I was also a Digital City Fellow there and have continued running and designing many animation workshops and taster days for schools and colleges around the North of England. The one thing I am most proud of at the University is my long standing relationship with the truly remarkable International Animex Festival of Animation and Games. I regularly run workshops and have done so since 2003 for children and others in and around Middlesbrough as an integral part of the Festival where they make small animations and get to play them to an international audience of industry professionals. I have had the honour of meeting many renowned animators from the biggest studios known in the industry such as Pixar, Disney, Aardman and Industrial Light & Magic and I now consider them to be good friends. This wonderful small festival with a huge audience has built connections and networks across the world that help to take humble animators from the North East right into the heart of Hollywood and all the major animation and special effects studios throughout the world and I am extremely proud to have a continuing role in that.