Will Vinton (right) is a pioneering independent animator who learned stop motion techniques using clay from Bill Gardiner, and then went on to create Oscar-winning animated shorts, commercials, TV shows and features films, after coining the term “Claymation” to identify his work.
Of course, clay animation was a thing long before Vinton got in the game, with Gumby being the most prominent clay-animated star years before Vinton got into the game. Even my brother, Frank, made clay-animated films as a youngster before Vinton learned his craft. But Vinton certainly popularized the technique, and made his trademark name for it famous with The California Raisins, The PJs and several sequences for movies.
Vinton was forced out of his company shortly after the turn of the century, and that studio continues under the name “Laika” (Coraline, Paranorman, Kubo and the Two Strings), while Vinton has moved on to found Will Vinton’s Freewill Entertainment, where he develops features films, graphic novels and gallery exhibitions.
This week PopCult’s Sunday Evening Videos brings you a documentary (apologies for the irritating narrator) about Will Vinton (above) and two of his classic shorts below.