. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

Bruce Bickford’s World

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | October 4, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 6 p.m. | Bruce Bickford in person

Featuring live accompaniment by Jeff Parker and Frank Rosaly

Bruce Bickford's plasticine heads.
Bruce Bickford’s plasticine heads. Image courtesy the artist.

“Bruce Bickford is a genius!” — Frank Zappa

Enchanted gardens, epic battles, and creatures that morph out of roiling landscapes of clay are but a few of the visions that make up legendary animator Bruce Bickford’s world—one of metamorphosis, destruction, and regeneration. Best known for his work with Frank Zappa—Baby Snakes (1979) and The Amazing Mr. Bickford (1987)—Bickford’s stunning and surreal animations have influenced generations of artists, filmmakers, and musicians.  This evening’s program features a rare theatrical screening of his 1988 tour-de-force, Prometheus’ Garden; recent pencil-line animations, including the hypnotic The Comic That Frenches Your Mind (2007); and a collection of rarely-seen animated sequences and fragments spanning Bickford’s prodigious career, featuring a not-to-be-missed live soundtrack by musicians Jeff Parker (Tortoise, The Relatives) and Frank Rosaly (Viscous).  Special thanks to Peter Burr for his generous assistance with this program. Bruce Bickford, 1980-2010, USA, multiple formats, ca. 90 min (plus discussion).

BRUCE BICKFORD (1947, Seattle, WA) began animating clay in the summer of 1964 at the age of 17. He graduated from high school in 1965 and engaged in military service from 1966 to 1969. Upon his return, he resumed animation and began experimenting with line animation.  He met Frank Zappa in 1973 and worked for him from 1974-1980, producing imagery for Baby Snakes (1979), The Dub Room Special (1985), Video From Hell (1980), and The Amazing Mr. Bickford (1987). Afterwards, he returned to Seattle and resumed animating, mostly his own personal work. His life and work were featured in the award-winning 2004 documentary Monster Road, directed by Brett Ingram.


Listen to Alex Chadwick’s interview with Bickford on NPR’s Day to Day

Bruce Bickford’s Official Homepage

Monster Road