Joan C. Gratz

Biography from website:

An accomplished director, artist, and animator, Joan Gratz pioneered the animation technique known as claypainting. Working with bits of clay she blends colors and etches fine lines to create a seamless flow of images.

Gratz’s most recent short film, Puffer Girl, moves into the digital realm by incorporating photography, Photoshop and AfterEffects with claypainting.

In Mona Lisa Descending a Staircse, images of the human face are transformed to communicate the graphic style and emotional content of key artworks of the 20th century, creating an animated history of art. This film won the Academy Award in 1992.

Joan developed her animated painting when an architecture student, then shifted from paint to clay while working with Will Vinton Studios from 1977-1987.

During that time her work included design and animation for Academy-Award Nominees Return to Oz, Rip Van Winkle, and The Creation.

Since establishing her own studio, Gratzfilm in 1987, she has received many honors for independent short films and commercials, including a Clio for Coca-Cola, a Bronze Lion at Cannes for Knorr Recipe Sauces, and First Prize at the London International Film Festival for United Airlines. Gratz is represented by LAIKA/house for commercial work.

The improvisational nature of Gratz’s animation is seen in the Dowager’s Feast, which explores the unconscious through abstract imagery. A sequel, Innerplay was commissioned to be screened in a live concert performance. Gratz travels extensively and has served on international animation festivals in Zagreb, Croatia 1994; Hiroshima, Japan 2002; Castelli Animati, Italy 2003; Soul, Korea 2004: Hangzhou, China 2006; Changzhou, China 2008. Most recently Joan taught claypainting to animation students in Tehran, Iran.