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.
In its opening week, the exhibition has begun garnering praise from local and nation media as well as from visitors who have taken to social channels to show support and enthusiasm. “The partnership with Laika and the energy it brings to the Museum is very special. We are thrilled with the initial response to the show and in particular the opportunity for our community to learn more about this significant and dynamic art form and the artists behind it,” commented Portland Art Museum Executive Director, Brian Ferriso.
Sharing the sentiment, Laika CFO and SVP of Business Operations, Brad Wald, adds, “Everyone at Laika is honored by the early response to ‘Animating Life: The Art, Science and Wonder of Laika’ at the Portland Art Museum. We are truly inspired by the public’s enthusiasm and are particularly thrilled to see so many out-of-state and international fans in attendance for what has been such a joyous collaboration for us with PAM.”
Official exhibition imagery has been released here, as well as a new trailer which gives viewers an inside look into the artistry behind the Oscar winning 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 are immersed in Laika’s creative process, exploring the production design, sets, props, puppets, costumes, and world-building 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 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 stop-motion 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 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 with Laika.
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 was founded in 2005. 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 portlandartmuseum.org.
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 portlandartmuseum.org/access.