Christchurch-born Ken Clark began doing stop motion animation at school, as a way of exploring a childhood interest in magic, fantasy and monsters. A film he made as a 16-year-old placed third in the local section of an international contest for animated films; three years later, he collaborated with his Papanui High School mate Michael Hurst (Heroes) on short film A Silent Welcome, which won the inaugural National Schools Film Competition.
The same year (1976) he began working at South Pacific Television in the make-up department, but studies (he started film studies at Canterbury University) and acting (at Court Theatre) intervened. In 1982 he returned to TVNZ as a stop-motion animator. The puppets and props he sculpted included the opening credits to popular kids show After School, and early sequences for What Now?.
Clark then began a long career as an editor for television, working in-house for TVNZ across documentaries, sports and news. His credits ranged from The Mainland Touch to Spot On, from Kaleidoscope to Te Karere.
In 1990 Clark went freelance, contracting for TVNZ, TV3 and Canterbury Television (where he was manager of the graphics department in 2000). As well as editing he continued animating, evolving his hands-on skills into digital effects as they became common in the industry. In 1995 Clark directed a series of shorts – Toilet Humour – for What Now?, that involved early use of CGI lip-synching. He is credited as editor or animator on dozens of commercials, music videos, short films and corporate videos. In 2003 he was nominated for an NZ Television Award for his design contribution to children’s series The Dress-Up Box, which he edited, wrote two stories and created effects for.
His career has continually explored effects-based story-telling and design. His hand-drawn animated film Terpsichore won the Experimental Animation section of the 2016 Uni Shorts International Student Film Festival. At the 2015 NZ Film Awards Phoebe McLeod was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Clark’s short film Snip.
In 1993 Clark had a turn in front of the camera as the character who hires the private investigator in Glenn Standring’s Cannes-selected Lenny Minute One (Clark was also technical advisor on the ambitious, graphics-heavy short).
Clark completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts with honours in 2015. He also has a Graduate Certificate in 3D Modelling and Animation from Christchurch Polytechnic (CPIT). He has tutored CGI and stop motion courses at CPIT, and designed an animation course for the National College of Multimedia and Technology. Clark contributed to book Stop Motion, Passion, Process and Performance, by stop motion veteran Barry J C Purves.
His digital film art has screened at Raindance (UK) and New York's Museum of Children’s Television. These days he concentrates on digital painting, with work exhibited in New York, Los Angeles and Munich. Clark's work Phoebe 16031 has been displayed at London's Saatchi Gallery.
Ken Clark website. Accessed 27 March 2017