Home News Will Vinton, Stop-Motion Animation Pioneer, 1947 – 2018

Will Vinton, Stop-Motion Animation Pioneer, 1947 – 2018

Will Vinton

Award-winning stop-motion animation pioneer Will Vinton passed away on October 4, 2018, in Portland, OR, at the age of 70 due to multiple myeloma. Born in 1947, Mr. Vinton experimented with animation using clay figures while working in advertising after college, winning a Best Animated Short Film Oscar in 1974 for “Closed Mondays,” about a drunk hallucinating in an art museum. He set up a studio in Portland to make movies, dubbing his process “Claymation” and landing one of his most recognizable works with an ad campaign for the California Raisin Advisory Board. The California Raisins shot to their place in pop culture history as they danced their way to Marvin Gaye’s hit song “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” eventually spawning a Saturday morning cartoon show, several imitation campaigns (some animated by Will Vinton’s studio), and numerous Claymation sequences for music videos and TV shows (including stop-motion animated sequences in otherwise live-action series, and the animated series The PJs with Eddie Murphy).

At the peak of Will Vinton Studios’ success, more than 400 people were working on both Claymation and computer graphics in the 1990’s, but changing tastes and an advertising downturn led to major financial troubles. In 2002, Mr. Vinton sold his majority stake in Will Vinton Studios to Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, who renamed the studio LAIKA and has continued producing stop-motion animation. Mr. Vinton himself was eventually forced out of the studio in 2003 after a legal battle, returning to low-budget filmmaking and teaching at the Art Institute of Portland.

(Splash image via The Oregonian/AP)

The thread view count is
Previous articleNYCC 2018: Deep Dive “Into the Spider-Verse” Panel
Next articleThe HalloweenCostumes.com Gift Code Giveaway
Last pup of a dying planet, a young German Shepherd is rocketed to Earth, where he is bombarded by cosmic gamma rays emitted by a radioactive spider. Crash-landing in the forgotten land of Hubba Hubba, he is discovered by the Who-You-Callin'-Ancient One and his lovely wife Pookie. Instilled with their traditional American values, he spends his young adulthood roaming the globe, learning all the secrets of Comic-Fu. Donning battle armor fashioned from spilled chemicals splashed by lightning, he becomes the Sensational Shield of Sequential Art ACE THE BATHOUND! Look, it sounds a lot better than the truth. Born in Brooklyn, moved to Queens at 3 and then New Jersey at 10. Throughout high school, college, grad school, and gainful employment, two things have remained constant: 1) I am a colossal nerd, and 2) I have spent far too much time reading comics, and then reading and writing about them. Currently working as a financial programmer in New York City, while continuing to discover all the wonderful little surprises (and expenses) of owning your a home in the suburbs. Shares the above with a beautiful, wonderful, and incredibly understanding wife named Frances (who, thankfully, participates in most of my silly hobbies) and a large furry dog named Brownie (who, sadly, does not). Comics, toys, Apple Macintosh computers, video games, and eBay