Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chat with Mike Stuart animator "The Wall"..

I wanted to start off with a good post... I've written about "The Wall" several times on my old blog, and I don't feel as if I've exhausted the topic, so I wanted to re-post the words of Mike Stuart. I also wanted to use this as a transition into SCRIBBLE JUNKIES. I was fortunate enough to have the following exchange with master animator Mike Stuart, an animator who has influenced me immensely. This semester I'm going to screen "The Wall" as part of a lecture series at Tisch School of the Arts-Asia.. and I intend to include even more of the material I've gathered about Mike, and his role in "The Wall".

Mike was the directing animator on practically all of the sequences, and the more I researched, the more I realized that Mike was truly the MAN behind "The Wall". Here's bits of our exchange, Enjoy:

"THE WALL" gave me a lot of creative freedom and allowed me to move into direction as well as animation. The opportunity to 'forward animate' ie. to start with a drawing and draw from drawing to drawing instead of producing 'key' drawings and then have an assistant 'inbetween' them. The Flower Sequence is an example of 'forward animation'(psmith note: "straight ahead" to us americans). And I used it also in the 'Tumbling Leaf Man' sequence - which, incidentally, is the first bit of animation I did for Pink Floyd." -Mike Stuart

"THE WALL" was made in a very unconventional way. Very much 'on the hoof' as it were. Most of the animation for the live performances was 'recobbled' and used in the picture. The 'hammers' caused a big problem as they were initially designed for the circular screen - extra hammers had to be added on either end as, in the film, we used an 'anamorphic lens', It is really Roger's film (Roger Waters) in my opinion. Nick Mason (pink floyd drummer)occasionally came to rushes but it was Roger Waters that had the last word." -Mike Stuart

"I am working with a chap in the states who is writing a book on the making of the film. He has already produced a book on the making of the album." To quote G. Scarfe - "I don't understand why people like it so much" I think you'll find this comment on the DVD." -Mike Stuart

Above: Images depicting my obvious influence from "The Wall" from my music video "Moving Along"

"My last project was the 78 'KIPPER' series. It won a BAFTA and Annecy in 1998 plus something in Positano. I have just designed a float for the Viareggio carnival. I mainly spend my time painting and making jewelry". -Mike Stuart

I'll be returning to the subject of "The Wall" very frequently in this blog. Let me know what you think.- Patrick


  1. The Wall is one of my favorite movies. The animation is amazing and I've always wanted to learn more about it. Is there any production art for it around online? Can't wait to hear more about it!

  2. It definitely is a cornerstone work thats influence extended from sea to sea and beyond since its release all those years ago. Thanks for the post about it. I was fortunate about four years ago when the metal band Mastodon approached me to do some animation for their video. The thrill for me was that they wanted the work to be much like the flower scene from "The Wall". Here is the link:

  3. I remember when they showed The Wall at Disney when they were preparing to have Gerald Scarfe help with Hercules, and animator Andreas Deja asked me beforehand if it was good, and I just sort of wrinkled my brow as if to say :Not very." Half way of this horrible, witless, boring mess poor Andreas was literally cringing in his seat, praying for it to end.

  4. No surprise there. Dejas is an immensely talented animator, but really a "company man" and while his animation was impressive, it never pushed the boundaries or tired anything new(nor would Disney have allowed him to). Alas, "the Wall" is a flawed film with depressing tone, but the animation (flower animation in particular) is groundbreaking stuff.
    I don't think its a a statement on the animation AT ALL if Dejas didn't like it. He's of a different school of thought altogether.

  5. I'm such an admirer of Mike Stuart, I think he is one of the best animators in the industry and I have followed his work for years and don't worry you have not exhausted this topic!