Opening October 2017 – Animating Life: The Art, Science, and Wonder of LAIKA October 14, 2017 – May 20, 2018
This fall, the Portland Art Museum and its Northwest Film Center celebrate Animating Life: The Art, Science, and Wonder of LAIKA, a groundbreaking view behind-the-curtain into the visionary artistry and technology of the globally renowned animation studio.
At the heart of every LAIKA film are the artists who meticulously craft every element. Through behind-the-scenes photography, video clips and physical artwork from its films, visitors will be immersed in LAIKA’s creative process, exploring the production design, sets, props, puppets, costumes, and worldbuilding that have become the studio’s hallmarks. Their films are a triumph of imagination, ingenuity and craftsmanship and have redefined the limits of modern animation.
“Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center are thrilled to partner with LAIKA to present the wonders of this distinct enterprise,” said Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Director and Chief Curator of the Portland Art Museum. “LAIKA at its core is an artistic endeavor that embraces the past and infuses it with a 21st-century vision. LAIKA’s aesthetic vocabulary continues to be shaped by the people and uniqueness of this special state.”
Established in Portland, Oregon in 2005, LAIKA has produced four Oscar®- nominated features, including Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), The Boxtrolls (2014), ParaNorman (2012) and Coraline (2009). Among LAIKA’s many accolades is a 2016 Scientific and Technology Oscar® for its rapid prototyping system, which uses 3D printers to revolutionize film production. Through technological and creative innovations, LAIKA is devoted to telling new and original stories in unprecedented ways.
“We believe storytelling is an important part of who we are,” says Travis Knight, President & CEO of LAIKA and the director of its most recent award winning film, Kubo and the Two Strings.
“LAIKA embraces our great privilege to tell stories by creating films that bring people together, kindle imaginations and inspire people to dream. We are proud to be able to showcase our creative process through this partnership with the Portland Art Museum, one of the country’s greatest art institutions, and the Northwest Film Center. Art in its finest forms speaks to our shared humanity, opening us up to new ways of thinking and feeling and helping us to recognize the hidden connectivity of all things. With this exhibit, LAIKA, PAM, and the Northwest Film Center have created something that can be part of that communal process of change and connection.”
During the course of the exhibition the Northwest Film Center will present wide-ranging programming showcasing the studio’s work and surveying the evolution of stopmotion animation since before the turn of the 20th century. Along with
film exhibition programming, the Center will offer a range of animation classes, workshops, and visiting artist programs for students, artists, families, and community members of all ages, including exhibition offerings in its Global Classroom screening program for high school students.
In a city renowned for its maker scene, Animating Life: The Art, Science, and Wonder of LAIKA and its related film and educational programming will be a celebration of the intersection of art, craft, film and technology. Proudly embracing the studio’s unconventional, independent Portland spirit, the exhibition and programs will serve to celebrate LAIKA’s singular position in Portland and in the global film community.
Organized by the Portland Art Museum and its Northwest Film Center in collaboration
Fueled by the vision of its owner, Nike co-founder and former Chairman Philip H. Knight, and its President & CEO Travis Knight, feature film animation studio LAIKA
celebrated its 10th anniversary in December, 2015. Located just outside Portland, Oregon, LAIKA was awarded a Scientific and Technology Oscar® for its innovation in 3D printing in 2016. Its four films, Kubo and the Two Strings (2016); The Boxtrolls (2014); ParaNorman (2012), and Coraline (2009) were all nominated for Oscars® and PGA Awards as Outstanding Animated Film. Kubo, which marked the directorial debut of Travis Knight, also received an Oscar® nomination for Outstanding Visual Effects. Kubo won this year’s BAFTA Award as well as three Annie Awards, the National Board of Review and 19 regional and critics’ group awards. The Boxtrolls also earned Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Award nominations and 13 Annie Award nominations, more than any other film that year.
ParaNorman garnered BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and GLAAD Media Award nominations and won two Annie Awards and was cited as the year’s best animated film by 14 critics’ groups. Coraline earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Critics’ Choice nominations, and was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI).
For more information, visit http://www.LAIKA.com.
About the Portland Art Museum
The seventh oldest museum in the United States, the Portland Art Museum is internationally recognized for its permanent collection and ambitious special exhibitions drawn from the Museum’s holdings and the world’s finest public and private collections. The Museum’s collection of more than 45,000 objects, displayed
in 112,000 square feet of galleries, reflects the history of art from ancient times to
today. The collection is distinguished for its holdings of arts of the native peoples of
North America, English silver, and the graphic arts. An active collecting institution
dedicated to preserving great art for the enrichment of future generations, the
Museum devotes 90 percent of its galleries to its permanent collection. The Portland
Art Museum recognized both Native American art and Photography as fine art years
earlier than peer institutions, with a commitment to collection in these areas and the
dedication of permanent galleries for displaying the work. This ongoing commitment
is demonstrated in the arc of Native American exhibitions in 2016 and 2017 and a new
space for showcasing Contemporary Native Art.
The Museum’s Northwest Film Center is a regional media arts resource and service
organization founded to encourage the study, appreciation and utilization of the
moving image arts, foster their professional excellence, and to help create a climate in
which they flourish. Through mutually supportive exhibition, education, and artist
service programs stimulating public recognition of, support for, and accessibility to
film as a means of personal expression, the Center seeks to encourage and recognize
filmmakers and their works as integral voices in the social and cultural life of the
region. The Center produces the annual Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival and
Portland International Film Festival, operates a year-round School of Film, and offers
filmmakers wide-ranging opportunities and services. Learn more at nwfilm.org.
The Museum’s campus of landmark buildings, a cornerstone of Portland’s cultural
district, includes the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art, the Gilkey
Center for Graphic Arts, the Schnitzer Center for Northwest Art, and the
Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Center for Native American Art. With a
membership of more than 22,000 households and serving more than 350,000 visitors
annually, the Museum is a premier venue for education in the visual and media arts.
For information on exhibitions and programs, call 503-226-2811 or visit
The Portland Art Museum welcomes all visitors with a commitment to making its quality programs, services and collections accessible to everyone in a safe, inclusive environment.
Learn more at
Ian Gillingham, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-276-4342
Maggie Begley/MBC, Maggie@mbcprinc.com; 310-390-0101
IMAGE CREDITS: Photos courtesy of LAIKA.