Nick Park (1958-) b. Preston, Lancashire, England.
Born in Preston, Lancashire, Nicholas Wulstan Park made his first animated film at the age of 13 in his parent’s attic. His first animated short to be aired was four years later with Archie’s Concrete Nightmare (1975), shown on BBC Television. After completing his degree in Communication Arts at Sheffield Hallam University, Park went on to study animation at the National Film and Television School. While still at the latter, Park began work on the stop-motion clay animation short A Grand Day Out. Park joined Peter Lord and David Sproxton at Aardman Animations in 1985, where he first worked on the Peter Gabriel’s award-winning music video Sledgehammer. Collaborating with Aardman, Park spent the next few years contributing to Aardman’s Lip Synch, a series of short films for Channel Four television. Creature Comforts (1990), a short about unhappy zoo animals complaining about their condition proved a critical and popular success, leading to a celebrated advertising campaign. In 1990 Creature Comforts won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short. He was also able complete his graduation project, A Grand Day Out (1992), launching Wallace and Gromit on their way to cult status. This first story of the cheese-obsessed inventor and his faithful dog involved them travelling to the moon in a rocket in search of cheese. Park won his second Academy Award for Wallace & Gromit’s next outing, The Wrong Trousers (1993), this time the erstwhile duo have to deal with a crooked penguin lodging with them, and a pair of unruly robotic trousers. The film’s success brought about a third instalment, A Close Shave (1995), earning Park a third Academy Award. This time the two characters have to deal with a sheep-rustling robotic dog and Wallace’s unrequited affections for the dog’s owner, Wendolene. In 1997, Park was awarded a CBE. Following on from a deal with DreamWorks, Aardmen set about working on the feature Chicken Run (2000). Taking over five years to complete, Chicken Run lacked some of the charm of Park’s earlier works but remains a humorous if overlong new direction for Aardman. In 2006, Park won the best animated feature Academy Award on for Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) – the fourth time the plasticine duo of Park and his co-director Steve Box have been honoured. In their first full-length film, the pair take on a mutant rabbit bent on destroying the town’s annual Giant Vegetable Contest hosted by Wallace’s secret love, Lady Tottington.