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Videoture: "The Renaissance Man" - Frank Anderson / INTEL

By: Richard Hart

Tricky Pictures, a Chicago-based mixed-media/animation company, has signed animation director Frank Anderson for national representation.

The Appleton, Wis.-based Anderson, who has had a working relationship with Milwaukee-based Purple Onion Entertainment for the past nine years, is known for his in-camera approach to animation and his proficiency in such styles as cutout animation, stop motion, hand-drawn/painted animation, 2-D character animation and live action.

According to Bruce Alcock, principal/director of animation at Tricky Pictures, Anderson shares the companys philosophy of integrating a variety of production techniques, manipulating textures and mediums, and linking them closely with music.

The stuff that Frank Anderson does fits really well with our whole philosophy of motion design, said Alcock. Its that idea that anything you can think of can be brought to the table for any job-its just what tells the story best. And it was perfect chemistry with him right away. Hes interested in many different things and has facility in them. Hes a musician, and that was a sort of bonding thing between the two of us, because thats my background as well.

During the early 1980s, Anderson lived in San Francisco and made his living primarily as a traveling musician, playing gigs across America for country and western sets; he also occasionally scored TV spots. A self-taught filmmaker with an extensive collection of antique cameras, Anderson explained that hed had a longtime interest in film and had shot a number of 8mm and 16mm movies as personal projects. On one of his commercial music-scoring assignments, for a Toyota dealership ad, the animation house dropped out. I said, AI can do it, related Anderson. And I did it. Thats how I started.

Eventually, animation and live action became Andersons main interests. He proceeded to freelance as a traditional animator and illustrator at various San Francisco companies, including Animation A Go Go, Trickfilm, Claywork-all now defunct-and (Colossal) Pictures. In 1990, he moved to Milwaukee and hooked up with Purple Onion, with whom he has since collaborated regularly. A lot of times [with Purple Onion] Ill shoot the live action on jobs, said Anderson. I always did the shots involving trick shots, time lapse, wild frame rates, etc. Only rarely have I done animation with them.

Among Andersons credits are Payday and Jackpot for the Wisconsin Lottery via Hoffman York, Milwaukee; Tommy Morrison, an AmFAR/ National AIDS awareness PSA, also via Hoffman York; and a music video for Marques Bovre and the Evil Twins, Lonesome Country, which aired last year on VH1 and other outlets.

In addition, Anderson also created the animated opening for the commercial reel of spot production house Carnival Pictures, Milwaukee. It was this piece, he said, that initially garnered the attention of Tricky Pictures principal/head of sales Roy Skillicorn (who is also a partner, along with executive producer Blair Stribley, in Tricky sister company Backyard Productions, Chicago and Santa Monica).

Anderson said he is currently collaborating with Alcock on his first Tricky job-an effects-heavy Turner Classic Movies piece. Anderson joins a Tricky Pictures roster composed of Alcock and animation directors Paloma Boiles, who focuses on broadcast design, and Dirk van de Vondel.

Tricky Pictures is represented on the West Coast by Marina del Rey, Calif.-based Kelley Class, in the Midwest by Chicago-based Skillicorn and Liz Laine, and on the East Coast by Christopher Zander of Zander Reps, New York.