A few years ago, I had the rare opportunity to visit Portland in order to pop into LAIKA studios and witness their incredible stop-motion animation magic, technology, and artistic skill. Now, the general public will be able to experience first-hand the majesty of LAIKA in a close and personal way. The Portland Art Museum and the Northwest Film Center celebrate “Animating Life: The Art, Science, and Wonder of LAIKA”, a groundbreaking view behind-the-curtain into the visionary artistry and technology of the globally renowned animation studio.
To celebrate this fact, the collaboration’s partners have released a trailer for the museum exhibition and a bunch of image that show off the incredible artistry and technology on display. It’s a must-see for any animation fan and an absolute delight for everyone who’s young at heart.
Check out the trailer below, and read on for more information and images:
In its opening week, the exhibition has begun garnering praise from local and national media as well as from visitors who have taken to social channels to show support and enthusiasm. “The partnership with LAIKA and the energy it brings to the Museum is very special. We are thrilled with the initial response to the show and in particular the opportunity for our community to learn more about this significant and dynamic art form and the artists behind it,” commented Portland Art Museum Executive Director Brian Ferriso.
Sharing the sentiment, LAIKA CFO and SVP of Business Operations Brad Wald adds, “Everyone at LAIKA is honored by the early response to ‘Animating Life: The Art, Science and Wonder of LAIKA’ at the Portland Art Museum. We are truly inspired by the public’s enthusiasm and are particularly thrilled to see so many out-of-state and international fans in attendance for what has been such a joyous collaboration for us with PAM.”
At the heart of every LAIKA film are the artists who meticulously craft every element. Through behind-the-scenes photography, video clips and physical artwork from its films, visitors are immersed in LAIKA’s creative process, exploring the production design, sets, props, puppets, costumes, and world-building that have become the studio’s hallmarks. Their films are a triumph of imagination, ingenuity and craftsmanship and have redefined the limits of modern animation.
“Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center are thrilled to partner with LAIKA to present the wonders of this distinct enterprise,” said Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplona Jr. Director and Chief Curator of the Portland Art Museum. “LAIKA at its core is an artistic endeavor that embraces the past and infuses it with a 21st-century vision. LAIKA’s aesthetic vocabulary continues to be shaped by the people and uniqueness of this special state.”
Established in Portland, Oregon in 2005, LAIKA has produced four Oscar®-nominated features, including Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), The Boxtrolls (2014), ParaNorman (2012) and Coraline (2009). Among LAIKA’s many accolades is a 2016 Scientific and Technology Oscar® for its rapid prototyping system, which uses 3D printers to revolutionize film production. Through technological and creative innovations, LAIKA is devoted to telling new and original stories in unprecedented ways.
“We believe storytelling is an important part of who we are,” says Travis Knight, President & CEO of LAIKA and the director of its most recent award-winning film, Kubo and the Two Strings. “LAIKA embraces our great privilege to tell stories by creating films that bring people together, kindle imaginations and inspire people to dream. We are proud to showcase our creative process through this partnership with the Portland Art Museum, one of the country’s greatest art institutions, and the Northwest Film Center. Art in its finest forms speaks to our shared humanity, opening us up to new ways of thinking and feeling and helping us to recognize the hidden connectivity of all things. With this exhibit, LAIKA, PAM, and the Northwest Film Center have created something that can be part of that communal process of change and connection.”
During the course of the exhibition the Northwest Film Center will present wide-ranging programming showcasing the studio’s work and surveying the evolution of stop-motion animation since before the turn of the 20th century. Along with film exhibition programming, the Center will offer a range of animation classes, workshops, and visiting artist programs for students, artists, families, and community members of all ages, including exhibition offerings in its Global Classroom screening program for high school students.
In a city renowned for its maker scene, “Animating Life: The Art, Science, and Wonder of LAIKA” and its related film and educational programming will be a celebration of the intersection of art, craft, film and technology. Proudly embracing the studio’s unconventional, independent Portland spirit, the exhibition and programs serve to celebrate LAIKA’s singular position in Portland and in the global film community. Organized by the Portland Art Museum and its Northwest Film Center in collaboration with LAIKA.