Bruce Bickford, American animator, Died at 72

Bruce Bickford was born on February 11, 1947, and died on April 28, 2019; he was an American animated filmmaker, who worked primarily in clay animation.

From 1974 to 1980, Bruce co-operated with Frank Zappa. Bickford’s animation was featured extensively in the Frank Zappa videos Baby Snakes and The Dub Room Special.

Zappa also published a video titled The Amazing Mr Bickford, which was entirely composed of Bickford animations set to a soundtrack of Zappa’s orchestral music.

Bruce’s animations depict surreal scenes based on his unique worldview. Usually outwardly seeming to be somewhat disconnected from the world around him, Bruce Bickford’s work is extremely subjective in its content and concepts, making for some disturbing and shocking imagery.

Much of his video work depicted fast-moving, fluid-like transformations of human figures and disfigured faces into strange beasts on surreal structural settings with impressive camera effects (moving around within his stop-motion animation).


Bruce life and work were, featured in the 2004 biographical documentary film Monster Road, directed by Brett Ingram.

In 2006, Bruce was working on Boar’s Head/Whore’s Bed (line animation, 4500+ frames and counting), Tales of the Green River and Castle 2001, a feature-length film which is animated using 3D shapes made out of bits of paper.

In 2008, Prometheus’ Garden was, released, a 28 minute short initially completed in 1988. The DVD also features Luck of a Foghorn, a documentary about the making of the film.

Bruce was the first guest to appear on the internet radio show Pussyfoot.

In 2010, Bruce made rare appearances in several European cities following an invitation of the Brussels’ Offscreen Film Festival and Nova cinema.

In 2015, Bruce was working on a 500+ page graphic novel titled Vampire Picnic. It was, declared at the time he was hoping to publish it with Fantagraphics.

On September 1, 2015, Bruce’s new animated feature Cas’l was, released on DVD. Most of the original animating had been, done from 1988 to 1997.

The film (or earlier versions of it) had earlier been shown at various film festivals from 2008 onwards with live musical accompaniment, as a final soundtrack was, not yet made.

Sadly, Bruce Bickford passed away on April 28, 2019. He was 72 years old.