What is studio Aardman, you might ask. Aardman is a studio which is responsible for a whole lot of very creative animated movies. Ever heard of Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit, or more recently, Shaun The Sheep? Well, all those movies were made by Aardman’s studio.
How it all started
Studio Aardman’s story started in 1966, when Peter Lord and David Sproxton were 12 years old. Those two kids, who were truly passionate about cartoons, decided to create their own little animated cartoon. David’s father, who was working as a producer at the BBC, lent them a roll film and a camera and that was the beginning of it all.
They experienced several techniques and met Patrick Dowling, who was producing a kid’s TV show on BBC 1. He became interested in one of their cartoon about a super-hero called … Aardman. Dawlin decided to buy it for fifteen pounds, David and Peter opened their first bank account at the name of Aardman Animations.
On the Road to Success
In 1976, Peter and David got their first proper studio in Bristol. From then on, they never stopped creating animated videos and movies. They started with Morph, a small character able to change its shape.
They began to do some commissioned works to earn a bit of money, in order to be able to experiment more and more. Peter and David worked in the advertising sector as well as for musicians, creating their video clips.
In 1990, they created Creature Comforts with Nick Park. That’s when Studio Aardman won its first Oscar. Creature Comfort is a movie in which animals in a zoo are talking about the problems that they encounter.
The successful work with Park has continued for more than two decades now: Wallace and Gromit (1991), Chicken Run (2000), Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) and Shaun the Sheep (2015), just to name a few.
A distinct way to create animated movies
Studio Aardman uses claymation. All their characters are made out of clay, and they use stop-motion in order to bring them to life. It can take an entire day to create a one-second movement.
The character is a solid object. The artists behind this clay-modelling process came out with the idea that it would be way easier to create puppets. They managed to put some mechanical parts under the clay so that it will be easier to make them move.
Where to see some of their works?
Their innovative works can be seen in Paris until August 30th at Art Ludique, Le Musée. This rather small museum is located along the Seine, in between a design & fashion school and a trendy nightclub.
As soon as you get in the museum, a big statue of Shaun the Sheep welcomes you. Rooms are filled with the drawings used to create the characters, clay characters, weird inventions and original sets, taken from the movies.
On the amazingly detailed drawings, you will be able to read notes, and some of them are rather funny. It is very amusing to see all the details on every single thing that is shown in this exhibition. Several annotations are made around the characters, such as “red bow tie”or “should look less ‘lady of the night’”.
If you plan to visit the museum, you have to pay attention to all the details. Even on a big boat that is placed in the middle of a room. The embarkation is more than two meters high, but a very special attention is given to tiny details.
This exhibition will amuse kids as well as adults. During the visit, children are going to be attracted by all the original sets, which are indeed very colourful and beautiful as well as by the short movies that are projected. Parents are going to become kids again, or will enjoy seeing the technical part of such creations.
It is indeed a very well-made exhibition, in which you can not get bored. If you are planning to visit Paris during the summer, give it a try!
PS Remember to let your kids play with clay, who knows what they might create?