Number two of my top five companies is Aardman!
As well as being one of the most loved stop motion studios in the UK they have been one of my own most loved studios and they have inspired me since a young age with Wallace and Gromit being my favourite thing to watch.
Aardman are a Bristol-based stop motion company, which was founded by Peter Lord and David Sproxton in 1972. By 1976, the studio had moved to Bristol and begun their first professional production, Morph.
In 1985, Nick Park joined Aardman after being spotted at the National Film and Television School where he was working on his student film A Grand Day Out.By 1993, Aardman had achieved their first 30 minute film, The wrong trousers, which won them their first Oscar! Since then, every Wallace and Gromit short has received a BAFTA and each has been nominated for an Oscar. In 1995, Wallace and Gromit starred in A close shave, which won another Oscar!
Shaun making his first appearance!
As well as Wallace and Gromit, Aardman have produced endless other forms of entertainment:
Creature comforts - A clever series in which voice clips were lip synced to the characters created by Aardman. The animation in creature comforts is extremely subtle, but is so effective with the strong use of dialogue.
I had to use the polar bears as an example as they are my favourite!
Angry kid - In 2001 Aardman released episodes on BBC2 about a trouble making kid who is awful to his Dad and has a bad attitude problem!
Chicken run - This was Aardman's first full length film funded by Dreamworks.
You can see the armature on the left
Wallace and gromit the curse of the wererabbit - Wallace and Gromit's first feature film was also released by Dreamworks and received many awards including an academy award for Best feature film and a BAFTA for Best British film!
Flushed away - This was Aardman's first CG film released worldwide by Dreamworks in 2006. In 2007 it was nominated for a BAFTA.
Shaun the sheep - Shaun the sheep made his first appearance in the 1995 Wallace and Gromit episode, A close shave. In 2007 he was given his very own television series! This later led to the youngest sheep of the flock, Timmy, getting his own show on CBBC in 2009 called Timmy Time. Shaun the sheep then went on to his own feature film, Shaun the sheep the movie in 2015 which follows the adventures of the sheep as they venture into the big city.
Arthur Christmas - Aardman's second CG film released by Sony pictures.
The Pirates! An adventure with scientists - In 2012 the stop motion film was released and received an academy award nomination the next year.
Early man is Aardman's latest film in production and is set to be released in 2018. This is great news as it means, fingers crossed, there will be job opportunities on the horizon!
We were fortunate enough to meet a woman called Emma Diaz from Aardman (She is an assistant animator!) who was absolutely lovely at the end of January and she talked to us about some of the puppets used on Shaun the sheep and The farmer’s Llamas. Having excitedly sat nose up to the T.V screen at Christmas to watch Farmer’s Llamas you could say I was a tiny bit excited!
Aardman have a signature style, one that they have continued to adopt across the range of entertainment they have delivered. This signature style doesn't necessarily strive for a polished finish like that of Laika, but instead embraces the more hand touched look with visible fingerprints.
Shaun the sheep has become a world wide phenomenon – Japan, who love Wallace and Gromit, have now also took to Shaun and have even opened a Shaun the sheep cafe in Osaka!
How cute is this?! I want to go!
In 2015, 120 large models of Shaun the sheep were made and decorated differently for the Shaun the sheep trail, where they were placed around London and Bristol. In my second year at University I was privileged to visit the studio in which these models were being made.
Nick Park with some of the Shaun sculptures
I would love to work for Aardman for a number of reasons. I love their style of work and the variation of materials that they use. I also want to push my sculpting skills, which at Aardman I would have the opportunity to do that, as they continue to sculpt the mouth shapes. I think this would not only push my skills in sculpting, but also doing this as well as animating. I think it is great that Aardman have kept to their traditional routes still using plasticine in some areas.
Mouth shapes made out of plasticine!