Monday, January 12, 2009

bruce bio by gus

in early 1973, bickford went to la looking for work. when he showed
frank zappa his early works, including the bar room scene from 'the amazing mr. bickford'

frank was impressed with the number of clay figures bickford could sustain in
animation simultaneously. he commented, "must be a world record!"

within a few weeks, bickford was showing his animation to a group
headed by legendary film buff bob greenberg, who said that he had
always been a fanatic about camera moves and that weather or not
bickford's camera moves were appropriate was besides the point.

"he has some of the most ambitious camera movements" said bob greenbeg

hey, thats pretty good. two world records in the same month.

later in the 70s, when bickford was working for frank zappa, he
developed many techniques of morphing with clay animation, turning one
object or face into something different. the slowest and smoothest

these techniques did not become feasible or even approachable with
digital technology for another ten years.

after the zappa employment was over, bickford moved back to seattle.
in the 80s, he continued animating and to this day is probably
unrivaled in his ability to animate multiple clay figures in the same
scene without the use of any tracking devices or monitoring.
everything being done by instinct.

he has also used other materials in animation such as hot red wax on
glass, lit from beneath to simulate glowing hot lava flows. and a
flowing river of water can be simulated by layers of blue textured
cellophane with other materials beneith to give it depth. all of the
effects he achieves with hands on technology and without computers.

manipulating physical material, bickford has no computer skills and
would find it impossible to do computer animation but he sees no
reason why he couldn't work with computer animators, designing the
images that they could create directly directing the flow of
complicated events. and finding ways to depict any particular nuance

fantastic imagry could be concocted, combing live action, clay
animation and computer generated imagery. and lets not forget, the
pencil drawn animation.

starting in 1970, he developed a graphic style depicting vocanic lava
bursting from the earth, cloud forms, liquid splashing with droplets
finally delineated, ect...

ancient galley ship can be depicted on a clay ocean with attention to
each individual oar connecting with the water. such detail work can be
applied to a multitude of images.

since the early 70s, he has produced a considerable amount of drawn
animation. usualy, involving complex transformations and morphing.
many scenes being complex enough that when filming the sequence, the
camera can be brought in closer onto various images to isolate them
from the whole scene hereby expanding the length of a particular work

in many scenes, there are ten or more different things happening all
at once and by showing the close ups of every particular part, the
emphasis can fall on just the overall pattern.

in the summer of 2008, while watching 'the comic that frenches your
mind' a local artist jim woodring commented that bickford has the most
untrammeled animation of anyone.

trammeled: a hindrance, a net, blocks the flow of water or an object
so that when you're drawing, you can only draw that design.

bickford's animation is unpredictable and unrestrained.

in the industry, animations are ofted scripted and tightly controled
in every way. bickford usually only has a rough estimation of
continuity and story line so that unexpected events can take the
imagery in startling directions.

over the years, bickford also devoted an enormous amount of time to
writing. most of it would be movie oriented stories which could be
animation or live action features with animated effects. the story is
actually the easiest part of any project. transferring that to actual
visual imagery is where the real work comes in.

bickford has been working out story ideas for so many years that it
has become second nature to him. if anybody in the industry had
problems with a script, bickford would be the best script doctor
available. *laughs

in his story files, there are at least 180 different folders, each one
is a story in development. there are so many scenes and images
available to him that any of them could be adapted to some one else's
script if they needed help.

nothing to it. the ideas come easy to him. and fitted into an
already existing story material or creating whole new story angles
which would take things in a much more logical and fulfilling

you might say he has a talent for seeing the obvious and going for it.

bickfords double garage contains a multitude of clay figures and
miniature sets constructed of clay cardboard and other materials and
whole scenes with landscapes and trees houses and a special kind of
grass which is a signature item in much of his work. many of these
models have potential for merchandising. they can be sold as
individuals in clay or cast in a more permanent material. the
potential is enormous.

also, there is the art gallery scene. there are drawings paintings
and full dimensional scenes already constructed and ready to be
installed in galleries or art museums.