Thursday, April 7, 2011

Animation Timeline - Bill Plympton

Fig. 1 Portrait of Bill Plympton (2009)

Bill Plympton (1946 - Current) is an American Oscar-nominated animator and cartoonist, who is lauded for a career that goes back to 1968, prolific in that it has included almost one film a year with a style that is instantly recognisable. Bill Plympton animations have a way of amusing and provoking audiences with his surrealist, off-kilter take on everyday life for years. Born in Portland, Oregon, on April 30, 1946, Plympton developed a fascination with animation as a young child.

For Plympton, it wasn't until 1983 that he was approached to animate a film. The Android Sister Valeria Wasilewski asked Plympton to direct and animate a film she was producing of Jules Feiffer's song, "Boomtown.  Immediately following the completion of "Boomtown," he began his own animated film, "Drawing Lesson # 2." Production of the live action scenes was slow due to inclement weather. So Plympton decided to start on another film with which he would win an Oscar nomination for best animated short in 1988. Suddenly over night he became very popular, especially in the commercial business, his distinctive style invaded the world of advertising, doing spots for such clients as Trivial Pursuit, Nike, United Airlines and Mercedes-Benz. His work also started appearing with more and more frequency on MTV because His oblique, off-center sense of the ridiculous in everyday life.

Fig. 2 "How to Kiss"  Film Still (1989) 

After a string of highly successful short films "One of Those Days," "How to Kiss," "25 Ways to Quit Smoking," and "Plymptoons", he began thinking about making a feature film. “His shorts were winning prizes like crazy and he wanted a new challenge - and, as he puts it, "I'd wanted to make a full-length movie ever since I was a kid." (Plympton, 2003) "The Tune" was Plympton's critically acclaimed first full-length feature running animation. Featuring ten songs that each paid homage to different forms of American popular music of that time. "The story and characters are most definitely outlandish, but not abhorrent, and are often charming and funny. The allure this film exhibits is aided by very memorable and catchy songs that you will be unable to get out of your head once the movie ends" (Burke, 2010)

Fig. 3 The Tune Animation Poster (1992)

Plympton’s sharpness of his humour and satire and the almost unspeakable charm of his drawings have given much to animation as it has moved into the 21st century.

List Of Illustration's

Figure. 1 Plympton, Bill  (2009) Portrait of Bill Plympton. (Accessed on 07/04/2011)
Figure. 2 Plympton, Bill (1989) How To Kiss Film Still. (Accessed on 07/04/2011)
Figure. 3 Plympton, Bill (1992) The Tune Animation Poster. (Accessed on 07/04/2011)


Plympton, Bill (2003) Biography. (Accessed on 04/04/2011)
Burke, D (2010) The Tune (1992) Reviews. (Accessed on 04/07/2011)


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