Tag Archives: stop motion animation

Gumby Imagined – The Ultimate Gumby Retrospective – Now Available!

Gumby Imagined, Story of Art Clokey and His Creations is in Bookstores Now

Gumby Imagined book coverGumby, the world’s original clayboy and legendary pop icon is the subject of a new retrospective art book. Gumby creator Art Clokey was an animation pioneer, and his characters Gumby and pony pal Pokey, along with Davey and Goliath, have shaped generations of childhood memories and have touched the hearts of fans worldwide. In celebration of Gumby’s 60th anniversary, Art’s son Joe and his wife Joan have written Gumby Imagined, a comprehensive biography of Art and his characters. At 300 pages and packed with hundreds of photos and fascinating stories, this is the ultimate compendium. It’s an amazing pictorial history with never-before-seen photos. Get yours here.

“This is the Gumby-lover’s dream come true!  The writing is so honest and compelling, and what a life story your family has had, Joe! Hats off to you, Joan for the very loving and deeply honest vibe to the writing,” writes Martin Olsen, Lead Writer for Phineas and Ferb. Olson continues, “You two collaborated so beautifully on this project. Reading the book feels like going into the heart and soul of your family and hearing how Gumby emerged from it, in all Gumby’s incarnations. The photos are absolutely amazing, and what a journey your family had through life. The fun and the love and the creativity are apparent on every page, but especially apparent is the honesty. That’s the unique beauty of this book; everything is told in such a kind, heartfelt way, no holds barred.”

An anonymous fan wrote:  “Wow. A big and beautiful retrospective of everyone’s favorite flexible friend! I’m really enjoying the deep dive into the history of this classic character and the people who brought Gumby (and other great characters) to life! Outstanding!”

art clokey 12 gumbys

A Riveting Tale

Gumby Imagined is a complete biography that chronicles the tragedies and triumphs of Art Clokey’s life. It’s a true “American Dream” tale. In the book you’ll see how Art’s life shaped the characters and stories he invented. Hard-hitting childhood struggles resulting in placement in a home for abandoned boys during the Great Depression. A dramatic turnaround. Adventure. World War II photo reconnaissance behind enemy lines. A lucky break. Partnerships made and dissolved. Spiritual seeking. Creative freedom. Art films. Hard work and play. Success and loss. Talented artists and crew…. This personal and inspiring story brings it all together.

ruth clokey with davey and goliath“The most fascinating life story I’ve ever known just happens to be about my dad, mom and the world famous characters they created. Art Clokey’s journey intersects and influences major touchstones of our American life. The sixty-year, behind-the-scenes story of Gumby and Davey and Goliath, interwoven with a rich tapestry of photos and rare anecdotes, weds perfectly with Art Clokey and his amazing life,” says Joe Clokey.

Gumby Imagined is a fascinating ‘page-turner’ with never-before-told stories about this clay animation pioneer beginning with his childhood tragedies. Learn about how Art got his start in the biz, his groundbreaking stop-motion TV commercials, trippy art films, and the most comprehensive look ever presented of the beloved shows. Explore Art’s fascination with the counter-cultural creative winds of the late ’60s and ’70s, infused with his spiritual learning from Christianity, Zen Buddhism and Eastern avatars. All of which provided the foundation for Art’s creative works,” continues Joe.

Impact

Having entertained generations of fans since his introduction in the early 1950s, Gumby–unforgettable, kind-hearted, flexible–is firmly rooted in American culture. Art Clokey made an indelible mark in the world of animation and iArt animating Gumby on the Moonnfluenced thousands of artists. A teacher at heart, he mentored many creatives who went on to be stop-motion superstars known for their work on iconic films such as Star WarsTerminator, BeetlejuiceNightmare Before Christmas, Toy Story, Kubo, and many other blockbusters.

Dynamite CEO and publisher, Nick Barrucci, said “Art Clokey and Gumby are as important to the history of American animation as the creations of Walt Disney…to be able to tell the story of this man and his incredible cast of characters is a high watermark, both as a publisher, and for me as a fan. Looking through these incredible photos and reading such rich history is guaranteed to make each and every one of us feel like a kid again.”

“Gumby Through the Years” Presentation and Book Signings

Joan and Joe are available for presentations and book signing events. Their “Gumby Through the Years” video/live presentation has sold out at Comic Con, Gumby Fest and other venues. Please contact us here for more information.

Purchase Gumby Imagined.

 

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Kubo and the Two Strings – Another Stop Motion Masterpiece

A Beautiful Stop Motion AdventureKubo and the Two Strings poster

Magic, mystery and art are woven into a heroic Samurai tale in the new film, Kubo and the Two Strings. This action adventure story takes us on a dreamlike journey through ancient Japan. It’s visually stunning with a blend of stop motion animation and CG techniques. The film’s heartfelt messages about kindness, compassion and finding one’s own path in life add emotion and drama. Kubo’s serious quest is punctuated by some laugh-out-loud moments. Here’s the official trailer.

Produced by Laika stop motion studios, directed by Travis Knight, written by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler, it debuted on August 19, 2016. Art ParkinsonCharlize TheronMatthew McConaughey, Ralph FiennesRooney Mara and George Takei lend their voices to the film.

Kubo forest setKubo’s Gumby Connection

A number of former Gumby animators and creatives worked on Kubo. The animation and sets were so lifelike. Stop motion has come a long way since the earliest days of Gumby in the 1950s. While the basic process is still the same (taking photos one frame at a time), the technology has evolved. Check out these fascinating behind-the-scenes videos to learn more about how the film was created:

Kubo and the Two Strings Behind the Scenes Time Lapse

Daniel Alderson. Stop Motion Animator

The Story

Kubo, a young boy, climbs down from his mountain cave home where he lives with his mother to dazzle crowds in town with his dramatic story telling each day. He conjures up origami characters that come to life as he plays his shamisen. His inventive tales center on battles that Hanzo, his missing Samurai warrior father, wages with monsters. The stories spin out of control, and Kubo goes on a classic quest to find the magical armor that will allow him to defeat vengeful spirits from the past.

Kubo and The Two StringsReviews

The film is getting great reviews.

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film has an approval rating of 96%, based on 121 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Kubo and the Two Strings matches its incredible animation with an absorbing — and bravely melancholy — story that has something to offer audiences of all ages.”

 Michael O’Sullivan of Washington Post gave the film 4/4 stars, stating that the film is “both extraordinarily original and extraordinarily complex, even for a grown-up movie masquerading as a kiddie cartoon (which it kind of is).”

 Glenn Kenny of The New York Times wrote that “the movie’s blend of stop-motion animation for the main action with computer-generated backgrounds is seamless, creating what is the most visually intoxicating of all Laika’s movies.”

It’s fun for the entire family. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

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Gumby Fest Debuts in Summer of 2014

Family Fun for All Ages

The inaugural Gumby Fest, June 14, 2014, in Glendora, California, was a smashing success! Thousands of Los Angeles locals, and Gumby fans from as far away as Canada and Las Vegas, turned out celebrate all things Gumby and honor Gumby’s connection to Glendora. The Gumby studio, Clokey Productions, which also produced the famed Davey and Goliath series, was located in Glendora in the 1960s and 70s. The Glendora Chamber of Commerce, Glendora Community Services, Glendora Library, Glendora Rotary and Glendora Kiwanis banded together to produce this historic event in Gumby’s childhood hometown!

Gumby at Glendora City Hall - Gumby Fest

Band with Gumby at Gumby Fest

Special Guests, Fascinating Presentations

Joe Clokey, son of Gumby creators Art and Ruth Clokey gave a wonderful retrospective presentation “Gumby Through the Years,” which brought back a flood of fond memories for attendees. A steady flow of fans visited the temporary “Gumby Museum” which showcased photos, puppets, set pieces, toys and other memorabilia, provided by the Clokey family. Gumby episodes were shown in two locations, and a variety of animated student shorts submitted to the festival were also screened.

Gumby Gang Presentation PanelThe “Gumby Gang,” a panel of current and former Clokey Productions animators, puppet makers, cameramen, artists, etc,. spoke to a packed auditorium. Some fun stories surfaced about working with Art and Ruth Clokey… oh, the clay fights! Many of the speakers described how their first film/TV job at Clokey Productions catapulted their careers. Collectively, they have gone on to work on blockbuster films and popular TV series too numerous to mention here.

Among the “Gumby Gang” speakers from the ‘60s studio was seven-time Academy Award winning make-up artist Rick Baker (Maleficent, An American Werewolf in London, Men in Black, Star Wars, and many, many more), who got his start as a teenager at Clokey Productions in the late ‘60s. Baker was joined by two of his contemporaries: Doug Beswick, with more than 40 years of visual effects achievements to his credit, including Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Terminator, Aliens, Evil Dead 2, Gremlins 2, Nightmare on Elm Street 3, and Beetlejuice; and Harry Walton, (Nightmare Before Christmas, The Abyss, James and the Giant Peach, Who Framed Roger Rabbit…) well-known for his skills in animation, visual effects, fabrication, puppet making and photography. Bill Stromberg and Carl Jablonski, animators/puppet makers, rounded out the speakers from the ‘60s.

Norman DiCarlo, Richard Zimmerman, and Chris Peterson represented the Clokey/Productions crew from the 1980s studio in Sausalito, CA. Ron Dexter and Fred Thompson elaborated on the more recent Clokey/Premavision productions in the 2000s.

Chris Peterson from LAIKA Studios introduced that studio’s newest film, Boxtrolls, and a team from Stoopid Buddies Studios (producers of Robot Chicken) previewed some of their work, discussed the more technical aspects of stop motion animation, and gave some insights on how the medium has evolved.

Gumby fans at Gumby Fest

Gumby themed treats from a Glendora bakery

Creativity and New Gumby Memories

While the adults were riveted to the presentations, kids absorbed themselves in the many art and animation activities and games. They created their own stop motion videos, assisted by animators from Stoopid Buddies Studio. Visitors got Gumby temporary tattoos, danced along with Gumby to live local bands and ate yummy Gumby & Pokey cookies and cupcakes baked by a local Glendora bakery. Race car driver Kenton Koch, a Glendora native, showed off his custom Gumby race car, helmet and race suit. He graciously donated the helmet and suit to the Glendora Library for an auction. Read more about Kenton Koch.

Boy animating Pokey at Gumby Fest

Exhibit in Gumby Fest Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, it was a fantastic Gumby Day! The Gumby Central Gang appreciates all of the fantastic ideas, perfect coordination, and countless hours of volunteer work provided by the Glendora organizations their teams. A huge Gumby thank you to all who were involved! We are looking forward to Gumby Fest 2015! Glendora rocks!

Visit the Gumby Fest website.

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First Annual Gumby Fest: June 14, 2014, Glendora, CA

Gumby Fest Logo

Glendora, CA – Several film industry stop-motion animation artists will be joining the fun of the premier Gumby Fest to be held June 14 in Glendora, California.

Gumby, the world’s original clayboy and pop-culture legend who starred in more than 230 TV episodes and a movie, “grew up” in Glendora, where the iconic TV series was produced from 1960 to the late 1970s.

The celebration of all-things Gumby as well as stop-motion animation will take place on the grounds of Glendora City Hall and Public Library at the corner of Glendora Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.

Among the family fun at Gumby Fest 2014:

  • “Gumby Through the Years” presented by Joe Clokey, son of creator Art Clokey,
  • Gumby Museum with memorabilia provided by the Clokey family and Gumby producer  Premavision, Inc.,
  • Film screenings of Gumby cartoons, as well as stop-motion animation videos submitted to festival organizers,
  • A Kids’ Stop-Motion Animation Studio conducted by animation artists from Stoopid Buddies Stoodios, home to the longest running stop-motion show on television, Robot Chicken. Children will learn how to produce a stop-motion video they can take home after the festival,
  • Panel discussions about the past, present and future of stop-motion animation with artists from LAIKA Studios, producers of ParaNorman and next September’s BoxTrolls,  along with stop-motion animators who worked with Art Clokey to produce Gumby shows.

Art and Ruth Clokey founded Clokey Films (later renamed Clokey Productions) when they launched “Gumby” in 1955. The studio moved from Hollywood to a larger facility in Glendora, California in 1960 when they began production on 85 “Gumby” episodes and 65 “Davey and Goliath” episodes.

Clokey’s son Joe and his wife Joan employ top animators, puppet makers and set designers in the industry (many of whom were mentored by Art himself) as they continue all things Gumby with Premavision, Inc., and Prema Toy, Inc.

Gumby Fest is produced by the Glendora Chamber of Commerce, Glendora Community Services, Glendora Library, Glendora Rotary and Glendora Kiwanis.

Sponsors include A1 Rentals, The Glendora Library Friends Foundation, Southland Properties, NJ Croce, Undercovers, Crazy Dog Ladies, Alta Pacific Bank, and TAS Advertising Specialists.

For more information about Gumby Fest, call Gary Boyer at (626) 914-6999 (gary@southlandproperties.net), Joe Cina at (626) 963-4128 (joe@Glendora-Chamber.org), or visit www.gumbyfest.net.

 

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Entire Re-mastered Gumby Collection Released on DVD in Australia

Lucky Australian Gumby fans are the first to get the full library of re-mastered Gumby episodes from 1956 through the ‘80s in a new collector’s edition DVD set. 209 episodes, over 21 hours of Gumby adventures, are included in this tin, which is being sold exclusively in Australia.

Gumby Australia DVD Set

The Clokey family has gone back to the original archived film rolls that Art Clokey shot to re-master them. The original film was well preserved. The color and clarity are amazing! This is the very first time that these re-mastered episodes, with their original soundtracks, are available on DVD anywhere in the world. The re-mastered footage renders Gumby bigger and brighter than you’ve ever seen him.

While this set is only available in Australia, we’re looking forward to a U.S. release. Stay tuned!

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Gumby at the Disney Family Museum

The Gumby Central Gang was thrilled to be part of the special exhibition: Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation—which was on view at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California, from September 2012 through April 2013.

Between Frames - Exhibit LogoThe exhibition explores the evolution of stop motion animation in the United States—especially in special effects, television, and film—while examining some of the key milestones in the field. Innovators include Willis O’ Brien (King Kong), Tim Burton (Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas), Art Clokey (Gumby), Ray Harryhausen (It Came From Beneath the Sea), Henry Selick (Coraline and James and the Giant Peach), Phil Tippett (Star Wars and Jurassic Park), and more. This 100-year-old art form launched Walt Disney’s career in animation.

The exhibition includes behind-the-scenes photographs, replicas of the original armatures, a Digital Input Device (DID), puppets and other interesting tools of the trade. Gumby is represented with storyboards, an original Gumby puppet mold, a description of how a clay character is made, a morphing Gumby, and photos of Art Clokey at work.

"Animate Your Night" animation activities at the Disney Family Museum

"Animate Your Night" animation activities at the Disney Family Museum

Visitors are invited to manipulate and touch armatures at a special interactive station. A video spotlights great moments in stop motion animation, and episodes and clips from various stop motion masterpieces are shown.

We especially enjoyed the kick-off party, “Animate Your Night,” in September, during which visitors made clay puppets with wire and foil armatures and created their own digital stop motion animation. There was so much wonder and creativity in the air! The entry hall featured a sculpted cake adorned with sweet likenesses of the characters in the exhibit, and the caterer even got into the spirit by dressing in a Gumby costume to deliver tasty treats. Too much fun!

Gumby, James and the Giant Peach Cake

Can you believe that this is a cake?

Gumby caterer serving

A very Gumby caterer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next time you are in San Francisco, stop by the Walt Disney Family Museum for an introduction into the world of animation and Walt Disney’s life. The well-designed museum will surely delight animation fans of any age. Check out their calendar of events for their list of fascinating talks and activities.

 

 

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The Puppet Maker Career, An Interview with Gumby Puppet Maker Nicole LaPointe-McKay (Part Two)

Nicole LaPointe McKay, Gumby Puppet MakerGumby Central met with puppet maker Nicole LaPointe-McKay to get the inside scoop on making puppets and what it is like to have a career in puppetry and stop motion animation. Part Two: The Puppet Maker Career follows. Part One: Making Gumby appeared in our December 2011 blog post.  

GC: Thank you for taking time to continue our conversation on puppet making and animation as careers. Let’s start with the basics. What kind of education is needed to be a puppet maker?

NLM: Going to college helps you to focus and push forward in the right direction. There are plenty of theater arts programs worldwide. Going to college helped me meet and team up with others, who helped me break into the industry. If you are highly disciplined and self-motivated, you may be able to learn on the job. Building your portfolio is critical as is doing volunteer projects that help get your name out.

GC: In our last interview, you mentioned some of the events in your life that inspired you to become a puppet maker. Where did you study for this career?

NLM: I started out as a theater major with a concentration in scenery and stagecraft at Radford University in Virginia. I found that I really enjoyed a sculpture class I took one semester too. For French class, I chose to write a paper on the French Punch and Judy puppets (Le Guinol).  At the same time I wrote a report on Bunraku, (Japanese puppet theater) for a theater history class.  While researching, I learned about the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts program. All of my research and writings on puppetry, in addition to my new found love of sculpture, pushed me in that direction. I auditioned and was accepted into the UCONN Puppet Arts Masters Program.

While working on my master’s degree at UCONN, I was influenced by my study of old style Italian performance Commedia dell’arte.  There is a lot of slapstick comedy and clowning performance in this art and it is actually where the “slapstick” came from. By learning to use my own body in expression, I could better understand and transfer the motions to the puppets. I also studied Chinese rod puppetry, which is a very high energy and expressive style of Chinese puppetry.  There was a lot to gain in going to school for puppet arts. I got to know the history of puppetry around the world, gained experience in woodcarving, mould making and met some great people along the way. All of our classes required performances, so we not only made puppets, but we performed them. This hands-on experience was great, and I would recommend it.

GC: How did you gain your first employment in puppet making?

NLM: During and out of college, I joined forces with my colleagues and fellow students to do work at a few different studios, making puppets and scenery on the east and west coasts. Some of the jobs started as volunteer projects or unpaid internships and ultimately turned into paying jobs. Puppet making led to doing stop motion animation. Many jobs are obtained by word of mouth, so it’s good to maintain a strong network of colleagues.

GC: How did you go from puppet making to stop motion animation?

NLM: Once the puppets are made, it’s only natural to take the next step into animating them. Puppetry is “bringing an inanimate object to life.” Animation is much the same thing—you bring a drawing, painting, or puppet to life, giving them breath, a personality and movement to tell a story.

I believe that it’s important to continually hone and expand my skill set. For instance, I experimented in the garage with my cousin and a friend a lot while at school to learn more about mould making and casting. We used a variety of materials to make puppets, life castings, and gigantic Halloween monster costumes.

GC: Do you have any heroes or mentors who inspired you?

NLM: Besides Arthur Clokey? Art was a man of few words, but when he spoke, we all listened and not just because he did the voice of Pokey and many of the narrator voice overs. He had a great sense of humor and loved word play. You can see this in many of the Gumby episodes. Jim Henson and Frank Oz were two more heroes of mine of course! All their characters have been part of my life since birth: Sesame Street, the Muppets, the Dark Crystal, Fraggle Rock and many others. There is so much life and personality in all the characters they developed and inspired. The humor appealed to me as a child and still holds my attention as an adult. Gumby is the same, especially the 1950s and 60s episodes; I loved them as a kid and still like to watch them now. There  is magic in creating a character and stories that work on these various levels and age groups.

GC: What is the life of stop motion animator or puppet maker like?

NLM: You have to be flexible! Few studios hire for life. When one production is done, you may have to take another project in a different studio and city. Much of the work in this industry is freelance. It’s like a traveling circus. That makes it interesting—you never know what you will be doing next or where.

GC: What advice would you give to those who are interested in a career in stop motion animation or puppetry?

NLM: One thing that has helped me to gain employment is to be open-minded and continue to expand my skills. Having a broad skill set has opened many doors. An animator who can fix his/her own puppets, do lighting and paint sets is more marketable. Building a resume and portfolio are very important. You have to be willing to start at the bottom—cleaning up puppets, working as an intern for little or no pay, to get your foot in the door.

GC: Thank you again, Nicole!

You can see some of Nicole’s work and read more on her blog:  http://www.nicolelapointe-mckay.blogspot.com/

Learn more about puppet making and how Gumby is made in the first segment of this interview available on our blog.  See production photos from the Gumby Studios here.

 

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Making Gumby, An Interview with Puppet Maker Nicole LaPointe-McKay

We caught up with Gumby puppet maker Nicole LaPointe-McKay to get the inside scoop on making puppets as a profession. Part One of our interview follows, and Part Two will appear in a future blog post, so stayed tuned; you’ll want to read the full story.

Nicole-LaPointe-McKay animating gumbyGC: Welcome Nicole. Thank you for taking time to join us at Gumby World today to tell us more about yourself and your experiences as a puppet maker. 

NLM: I’m happy to be here. I appreciate the opportunity.

GC: How did you become interested in being a puppet maker?
NLM: I’ve been interested in puppets since I was a kid. I was obsessed with the Muppet Show and stop animation programs. I watched Gumby on TV with my little brother. My mother would craft puppets for me to use in plays that I made up. I put on shows with hand puppets, my favorite monkey puppet, and a few marionettes. I always volunteered to get up in front of people to perform and lead others, such as the Girl Scouts, in plays. I was a thespian in high school, and it seemed natural that I would go on to study theater in college.

GC: How did you get involved with Gumby?
NLM: After college and having gained a few years of experience in puppet making, set design and animation, I applied to a posting on AWN.com (Animation World Network), not knowing what the studio was. I didn’t get that particular job, since it had already been filled, but I kept in touch with the studio—Clokey Productions. When studio producer Joe Clokey had an opening for a set designer, he called me. I worked on the Gumby Namco game commercial and have been with Gumby ever since. You can see some production photos here: (http://www.gumbyworld.com/gumbys-studio/)

GC: What kinds of puppets do you make?
NLM: I’m trained to work with just about any material and style of puppet. In my studies I was exposed to puppets from around the world and different time periods. Some of my favorites were the Japanese bunraku, the French Guinol and the Italian Commedia dell’Arte. Currently I fashion a lot of clay puppets for stop motion. I do have some personal projects in the works that involve hand-rod, big-mouth puppets (like the Muppets-type puppets.) I’m doing some new clay animation, too.

GC: How do you make a Gumby puppet?
NLM: Gumby is made of mostly Van Aken clay—a secret recipe! I whip up a batch following his unique recipe, mix, and boil it down in a double boiler to a unified color and the right consistency. I prep the silicone/stone mold with a floating armature. This is Gumby’s skeleton. I then pour the mixture into the mold and let it cool. Sometimes I chill it in the fridge to speed the process. Next, I pop him out of the mold and clean him up by trimming the seams and patching the bubble marks. Gumby gets an oil massage to make him smooth. I then drop a faceplate on him to mark where the features will go. Finally, I add the delicate clay features of his face.

GC: How many Gumby puppets does it take to make a Gumby TV episode?
NLM: More than you would think. The number of puppets needed really depends upon the storyline and type of morphing and movement that the puppet does. When Gumby morphs and changes shape, he needs to be replaced after every few seconds of animation, because the clay loses its shape. One minute of animation can require 20 Gumbys, sometimes more. The lights can also melt the clay, requiring a change of puppets. Because we go through so many puppets, it’s critical that they are all identical and made to the same specifications.

GC: You were involved in the Gumby Google doodle that appeared on October 12, 2011 to honor Art Clokey’s 90th birthday. Tell us about that.
NLM: It was a collaborative effort, involving a small subset of the Clokey Productions’ crew. We worked long distance—by phone, Skype and email. With the short deadline, I made puppets non-stop for a week before the animator could do his part. We used 3-6 puppets of each character for about 4-6 seconds of animation per character. The individual segments of animation were then sent to Google, where their programming team integrated them into their home page. It was exciting to see the characters come to life and move with the click of a mouse. The interaction was really fun! I think this was the first clay animation doodle that Google has used. The doodle was online around the world, so I hope that it inspired a renewed interest in clay animation. You can view it live and interact with it here: http://www.gumbygoogle.co.cc/

GC: What do you do for fun?
NLM: I’m always brainstorming and designing puppet shows and animations based on the interests of little kids that I know. I watch a lot of cartoons with my two-year-old daughter. I love to create (working in clay, painting…) and most enjoy brainstorming creative ideas with my artsy friends.

GC: What are your favorite recent animated productions?
NLM: I’m into watching Timmy Time, a stop motion animation with clay, foam, and rubber puppets done by the Aardman studio in England. I like this style of animation, because there is little speaking; it’s simple and tells the story through actions. Rather than a lot of words, they use onomatopoeia. Timmy Time is a preschool of animals, which children of all ages can enjoy watching. It’s cute, funny, has bright colors and teaches a lesson.

GC: What inspires you about the future?
NLM: Giving back is essential. I grew up in an area that did not provide many opportunities for kids to learn the arts. I still remember a week in my fifth grade class when our teacher had us make puppets and do a book report using them. That changed my life I think. You never know how you can have a positive influence on the next generation. To do my part, I teach stop motion animation classes and workshops at summer camps for kids.

Today, kids are animating with their phones and digital SLR’s. They have so many opportunities to create animations or other imaginative works. The tools are readily available. I love to help spark their imaginations.

GC: You can see some of Nicole’s work and read more on her blog:
http://www.nicolelapointe-mckay.blogspot.com/

Learn more about the career of puppet making in the second segment of our interview with Nicole. Look for it in a future blog post.

 

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Introducing: Gumby Dharma

Gumby Dharma DVD Biography of Art Clokey, Gumby Creator

Documentary – Available on DVD.

In honor Art Clokey’s many creative accomplishments and impact on the film industry, we are proud to introduce Gumby Dharma. This Emmy Award winning documentary captures the fascinating life of Art Clokey and his famous creations Gumby and Pokey and Davey and Goliath. From the mud (called gumbo) on his grandparents’ farm in the Midwest to his many adventures with his adopted father out west, you’ll see the myriad of influences on Art’s life and how they translated into iconic characters, which the world has embraced.

Art’s life takes us from the seminary to the Hollywood movie business, and from traditional Episcopalian values to Buddhism and Indian Holy men. His world famous stop motion animation characters reflect the message of love that Art and his wife Ruth wanted to give the world, while at the same time, his revolutionary kinesthetic filming techniques combined with a real life clay animated world is still ahead of its time. Interviews with contemporary leaders in animation including Director Henry Selick (Coraline, Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach) and special effects legend Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts, Adventures of Sinbad), along with Art himself give texture to this riveting movie. From his groundbreaking art film Gumbasia to his surrealistic masterpiece Mandala, you’ll see a life that is honest and rich with art. The tapestry of Art’s life is a classic American story of growth and transformation. With all of life’s tragedies and triumphs, Art finds the nuggets to create a rich mosaic of adventure and joy for all of us to enjoy. Also interviewed are his stars Gumby and Pokey (featuring new stop motion directed by Academy Award© Nominee Timothy Hittle) who come “offstage” to reveal the more personal facets of Clokey’s story. In this film, we uncover how Art’s animation and personal brand of love of life has influenced millions of TV and film viewers and filmmakers across the world for more than half a century.

A Clip from Gumby Dharma

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DVD: 54 min. Includes a restored print of Gumbasia.

Available in the Gumby Store.

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