Sketching for Animation


Peter Parr’s excellent new book includes a four page spread on how the Grass scene from “Three Fragments of a Lost Tale” was put together. Find it on Amazon.  It is an honor to have been included.  Thanks Peter!

New York Times

Stop. Snap. Move. Repeat for, Oh, 10 or 20 Years.

Stop-Motion Animation: ‘Goodnight Molly,’ ‘Halfland’

By ROBERT ITO | Published: May 18, 2012  |  The original article is here

A figure appearing in John Frame’s project “The Tale of the Crippled Boy.”

FOR the last seven years, John Frame has been working on a film in his home in Wrightwood, Calif. Its cast includes a cockeyed skeleton, a bespectacled monkey and a horned man sporting a cloak adorned with eyeballs. Mr. Frame made all of the characters himself out of wood and found objects, built the sets, even composed the score. When he discovered that his characters were going “wherever they wanted to go,” he let them. For the first four years of the project, he worked completely alone, driven by what may have been a muse or “daemons,” he’s unsure which; not even his closest friends and colleagues knew what he was up to.

Mr. Frame is part of an underground group of stop-motion artists in Southern California who labor in the shadows of the major studios. Long the center of studio-backed stop-motion animation made by artists like Ray Harryhausen and Art Clokey, the area is now home to scores of solo practitioners more interested in creating highly personal art pieces than commercial works. This year looks to be a strong one for stop-motion features, with big-budget releases including Sony Pictures’ “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” Laika’s “Paranorman” and Disney’s Tim Burton film “Frankenweenie.”

Unlike the creators of those movies, Mr. Frame and his colleagues work alone or with the smallest of crews, creating makeshift studios in their homes. On a typical day, Mr. Frame can film from 1 to 10 seconds of footage,


Artist John Frame’s Introspective Mountain Cabin

Artist John Frame's Introspective Mountain Cabin

Photographer/Writer Jessica Isaac visited our home and put this set of shots and observations about the house together for Apartment Therapy in February of 2016.  Laura and I were very grateful for the care and attention she gave the house that we have lived and worked in for the past 30 years or so.  See the shoot here:

Los Angeles Times

A theatrical world strangely like ours

At John Frame’s ‘Enigma Variations’ exhibition in Long Beach, pieces challenge viewers to discover their secrets.

February 05, 2005 | David Pagel  |  Original article is here

If John Frame were in the movie business, he would be a costume designer, stylist, set decorator, prop master, lighting specialist, writer, director, editor, producer, agent and publicist all rolled into one do-it-yourself lover of every little detail of every little job.

But Frame is an artist, so he plays all these roles with far less ballyhoo than Hollywood often festoons on its egomaniacal micromanagers and do-it-all control freaks.

At the Long Beach Museum of Art, the fruits of Frame’s patient labors are displayed in a wonderfully engaging exhibition in which intimacy takes center stage. Sensitively selected by Gordon Fuglie, director of the Laband Art Gallery at Loyola Marymount University, “Enigma Variations: The Sculpture of John Frame, 1980-2005” is made for folks who prefer the solitude of out-of-the-way libraries to the cacophony of malls and the hyperactivity of video arcades, both of which big, crowd-seeking museums are beginning to resemble a lot more today than when the 54-year-old artist started showing his work.


PDX Talk

On March 18, 2012,  California sculptor, filmmaker, and photographer John Frame shared thoughts on his work and the fantastical world of Three Fragments of a LostTales before a sold out crowd at the Portland Art Museum. (Click Here to See/Hear the Talk.)

I really enjoyed giving this talk and feel that it got across a good bit about what I am trying to do with the work.  If you want to hear me blab, this is probably the first choice.       John

With a “LITTLE MAN” created by John Frame, Metallica 3D Concert Film “Through the Never” Opens in iMax Theaters Nationwide



UPDATE:  I sincerely wish I could produce copies of Little Man for all of you who have made requests, but I do not own the copyright at this point, Metallica does.   For folks pursuing the subject, please contact the Metallica organization directly.  I believe they are located in the Bay Area and called “Hit the Lights”. Best to you all!  John

John Frame INK/TED talk in Jaipur, India

INK2011: Power of the Journey

John Frame: Sculpting visual poetry – December 8 – 11, 2011 in Jaipur, India

Think of INK as a curator of contemporary oral history. We do an extensive global search to find the best ideas to invite to our events. Our cornerstone event is the annual INK Conference in association with TED, which brings together the world’s movers and shakers who then share ideas. The exchange of stories, ideas and dreams does not start nor stop at the conference; it is merely one of the many methods that facilitate the open exchange. In addition to our annual conference, INK also hosts KIDSInk and INK salons, mini conferences, across the globe. If you are interested in hosting an INK salon in your community or campus, please contact us.

(Click here to See/Hear John Frame’s Ink in association with TED talk given in Jaipur, India on December 10, 2011)

Siggraph 2013 Computer Animation Festival


Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 3.09.55 PMThis year I had the opportunity to serve as a juror for the 2013 Siggraph Animation Festival.  It was a fascinating look at how the selection process for a major animation festival works.  The three day selection juror’s event took place on the Disney Animation campus in Burbank, California and over that period we screened nearly 300 entries from all over the world.  Other Jurors included representatives from LAICA, WETA, Disney and Pixar among others.  Here’s a Link to a Youtube video of some of the work screened.


The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post

“Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart go together” – John Ruskin

On the opening day of “Three Fragments of a Lost Tale: Sculpture and Story by John Frame,” on view through June 20th at the Huntington Museum and Gardens, I emerged from the darkly lit Boone Gallery into the bookstore to find a nicely dressed older woman looking at me expectantly. “Are YOU the artist?” she asked.  (Read More Here.)

Artist John Frame Installing Characters from his “Lost Tale” at the Huntington Library Photo: Carey Haskell

The Seattle Times

Artlandia: A cultural getaway in Portland

By Michael Upchurch | Seattle Times arts writer | Original article is here

 At the Portland Art Museum, the Mark Rothko exhibit includes 45 works of the highly regarded 20th-century painter who spent part of his life in Portland.


At the Portland Art Museum, the Mark Rothko exhibit includes 45 works of the highly regarded 20th-century painter who spent part of his life in Portland. Cultural life is singularly concentrated in Portland. Walk just 20 blocks and you can hit most of the city’s major museums, galleries and performance venues, plus scores of restaurants and cafes.

Sure, there’s arts activity happening elsewhere in the city. But for the out-of-town visitor, especially anyone arriving by train, it’s a great feeling to exit Portland’s Union Station and know so many attractions are in strolling distance.

Portland Art Museum: “Mark Rothko” is the big-name draw here, but “John Frame: Three Fragments of a Lost Tale” is the unexpected knockout. Both exhibits are up through May 27.

The Rothko retrospective reveals that before Mark Rothko was “Mark Rothko,” he was Marcus Rothkowitz, and before he was an abstract expressionist he was a figurative painter. He came to Portland from Russia at age 10 in 1913 and spent about a decade in the city before heading for New York. In 1933, the Portland Art Museum gave him his first one-man museum show, and he had family ties to the city for most of his life (1903-1970).

“Mark Rothko” starts with a rather tame still-life from 1926 and ends with two black/gray abstract canvases from 1969 that all but spell “dead end” (Rothko killed himself the next year). In between, however, there’s an energizing evolution of visual ideas, gradually morphing from fanciful, distorted figures to ever-bolder abstractions. By 1950, he finds his signature style: huge pulsating lozenges of color that seem almost to vibrate off the canvas while pulling you into shadowy realms.

As illuminating as the Rothko exhibit is, the John Frame show is even better. Frame is a California artist who works with puppets, photography and stop-action animation. The show is theatrically spot-lit in the dim gallery. Oddball hybrid creatures made from found materials come to spooky life as a soundtrack scored by Frame plays in the background.

(Original article is here)

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