A man whose creative brilliance is superceded only by the eccentricities on display in his work, writer/director/producer/animator Nick Park has been revolutionizing the art of claymation since 1989, when he made the Oscar-winning short Creature Comforts. Working in concert with Aardman Animations, Park has created a bizarre, inextricably British universe where mute dogs solve riddles that elude their dim owners, penguins plot dastardly deeds, chickens act out their own version of The Great Escape, and cheese is granted a standing of disquieting importance.
Born in Preston, Lancashire, on December 6, 1958, Park was exposed to both chickens and animation at an early age. He made his first animated film at the age of 13 and made his professional debut four years later, on BBC television, with the animated short Archie's Concrete Nightmare (1975). After attending the Sheffield Art School, where he studied communication arts, Park went on to earn a degree in animation from the National Film and Television School, where he began working on A Grand Day Out. The stop-motion clay animation feature, which starred the signature characters of Wallace, a dim inventor, and Gromit, his brilliant but put-upon dog, would take years to finish; in the interim, Park joined Aardman Animations in 1986, where he first worked on the Peter Gabriel music video "Sledgehammer."