He made his first animated movies as a kid in the late 1950s, and in 1975, the National Film Board spotted his work and helped launch his professional career.
His 1981 NFB animated short, “64 Million Years Ago”, featured naturalistic stop-motion models of dinosaurs that helped define the vision of prehistoric life for a generation of Canadian school kids. Over the last two years, this film has tallied over 600,000 views on YouTube. “Look Again”, the six-film live-action series he created to promote critical thinking in primary school students, won more than a dozen international awards and was the NFB’s most successful educational title in 1991/92. Footage from his first 16mm production, “The Gift”, has just been featured in the latest music video by the Canadian rock band, “Mounties”.
His work is often topical. “Autosaurus” and “American Excess”, two animated productions he directed for Adbusters Magazine, gained international attention in efforts to discourage automobile pollution and consumer waste. His approach to graphic and educational design resulted in several awards and top-selling multimedia programs including, “Defining Canada: Active Citizenship for the 21st Century”, and “Making History: Louis Riel and the 1885 Rebellion”.
In the five years before moving to Mayne Island in 2003, he was an animator on “Gary and Mike” (a raunchy half-hour TV series aimed at teenagers); an artistic consultant working with artists from the ‘Namgis (Nimpkish) First Nation on a project to teach Native language; and the co-director/animator of an interactive dinosaur installation at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. On Mayne, he edited and laid out the local magazine for over four years.
In the 1980s and ‘90s, he instructed animation, film, and media courses at Emily Carr College of Art and Design, the University of British Columbia, and Capilano College.
He now develops his property on Mayne Island, and paints, carves, and practices Suiseki, the ancient Japanese art of stone display. His art demonstrates an appreciation for the natural world, and much of it continues to have a strong political bent. His exhibition at Shavasana examines different kinds of landscapes in oil and acrylic paintings, small carvings and other woodwork, and Suiseki.
Bill loves his pet rabbit, but wisely, he doesn’t go in for rock climbing like he used to.”
“Landscapes” runs until December 16 – please drop in for a chance to enjoy Bill’s show!