- NAME: Nick Park
- OCCUPATION: Artist, Filmmaker
- BIRTH DATE: December 06, 1958 (Age: 55)
- EDUCATION: Sheffield City Polytechnic, National Film and Television School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Preston, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Nicholas Wulstan Park
- AKA: Nicholas Park
- AKA: Nick Park
- ZODIAC SIGN: Sagittarius
Best Known For
English animator Nick Park is the creator of the Academy Award-winning Wallace and Gromit Claymation films.
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Born on December 6, 1958, in Lancashire, England, Nick Park made his first stop-motion film at age 13. After joining Aardman Animations Ltd. in 1985, he created the famed Wallace and Gromit Claymation shorts about a shortsighted inventor and his dog. Park has won multiple Academy Awards for his films, while the popularity of Wallace and Gromit have spawned several attractions throughout the United Kingdom.
"Everybody knows what a lump of clay is and seeing it come to life is quite a magical thing. You can see the material and see it moving and suddenly gaining a character somehow."
Nicholas Wulstan Park was born on December 6, 1958, in Preston, Lancashire, England. One of five children born to Roger, an architectural photographer, and Celia, a seamstress, Park enjoyed drawing comics and adopted his father's habit of collecting spare parts from around the neighborhood as a young boy.
Park began using his mom's 8-millimeter camera and pieces from her dressmaking kit to create stop-motion films, and at age 13 he finished his first short, Walter the Rat. At 15, he submitted another creation, Archie's Concrete Nightmare, to the BBC's Young Animator's Film Competition; the piece didn't win, but it aired on BBC2.
Park studied art at Sheffield City Polytechnic before moving on to the National Film and Television School, where he began work on his first 35-millimeter Claymation film. A Grand Day Out tells the tale of a middle-aged man named Wallace, who builds a homemade rocket and takes his quietly frustrated but faithful dog Gromit into space to procure some moon cheese. The unfinished product caught the attention of Aardman Animations Ltd. founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton, who hired Park in 1985.
At Aardman, Nick Park initially contributed to commercials and music videos, including Peter Gabriel's award-winning "Sledgehammer," while finishing A Grand Day Out. Additionally, he began work on Creature Comforts, a five-minute piece in which zoo animals offer a range of opinions on life in confinement. Both were completed in 1989 and nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 1991 Academy Awards, with Creature Comforts claiming the prize.
Park followed with two more Wallace and Gromit shorts, The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995), which further refined the characteristics of the well-meaning but shortsighted inventor and his silent canine compatriot. Both were well-received and garnered Academy Awards.
Having secured Hollywood's attention, Park and Lord co-directed Chicken Run (2001), a feature-length animation film distributed by DreamWorks Studios. A feature-length Wallace and Gromit adventure co-directed by Park and Steve Box, The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit (2005) also fared well for Aardman and DreamWorks, but the two studios soon ended their association due to creative differences.
A fire at an Aardman Animations warehouse destroyed several original Wallace and Gromit sets and storyboards in October 2005, a misfortune that was offset by an Academy Award win for Ware-Rabbit a few months later. In 2007, Park oversaw production of Shaun the Sheep, a television series based on a character from A Close Shave.
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