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Lynn Tomlinson


Lynn Tomlinson is an independent experimental animator, specializing in an unusual animation technique, known as clay-painting or clay-on-glass animation. By spreading colored modeling clay on a light table, she creates images that are vibrant, tactile, and colorful -- like moving finger paintings or animated stained glass. Tomlinson's films are remarkable for their painterly quality and the interesting transformations and metamorphoses from one scene to the next. She directs her own animation production company, Summer Kitchen Studio, located in rolling Pennsylvania farmland, about an hour west of Philadelphia.

In 1995, ITVS (The Independent Television Service) selected Summer Kitchen Studio to produce a series of short educational spots for children's public television. Tomlinson created five 30-second clay-on-glass animated spots, featuring educational messages on topics from mixing colors to cooperation, which are now being broadcast nationally on PBS stations. She recently created two spots for Sesame Street and the Children's Television Workshop, one featuring the letter P, the other on reading and the imagination. She was profiled in Philadelphia magazine's "Thirty Under Thirty" issue.

In Philadelphia, her work is seen on WHYY TV-12. Over the past three years, she has created a variety of different animated ID spots for the station, in a range of animation styles, including clay-on-glass, pixilation, xerography, and stop-motion. One of these spots, "Performance," featuring jazz musicians, received a 1994 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for Outstanding Promotional Announcement, and a Broadcast Design Association International Bronze award. Her series of animated WHYY-TV12 ID spots won a PBS National Advertising and Promotion Award, and was an Emmy nominee for Outstanding Promotional Campaign. Tomlinson's other commissioned work includes an animated MTV logo and an MTV "Free Your Mind" spot, segments for a child-care video sponsored by Children's Tylenol, and a program opening for Wisconsin Sports. She recently produced and created two advertisements for Green Acres Mall in Long Island, New York.

Tomlinson began animating as an undergraduate majoring in English at Cornell University. She continued her studies in animation at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, earning a master's degree. She also received an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication. Her first film, I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died, a stirring and eerie interpretation of a poem by Emily Dickinson, won the animation prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Director's Choice in the Black Maria Festival, and several other awards. It appears on PBS stations and the BRAVO cable network, and is included on a video collection entitled Animation of the Apocalypse.

Lynn Tomlinson designed, animated, and co-directed the mixed live-action and animation WHYY Spotlight video, Paper Walls, winner of the 1994 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for Outstanding Programming Feature. Inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," Tomlinson portrays the story of a woman suffering through the "rest cure," prescribed to hysterical women at turn of the century. Period details create a setting for the animated projections of the woman's mind. This piece, supported by the Pew Charitable Trust, won a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award for Special Achievement in Television Programming, a Cine Golden Eagle, and an Emmy nomination for Technical Achievement

Cauldron, a five-minute film fully animated in clay-on-glass, reinterprets a creation myth in colorful organic imagery. Cauldron received funds from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Mid-Atlantic Media Arts Fellowship, and the Philadelphia Film and Video Association Subsidy Fund. It premiered at the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema's Festival of Independents, and aired on WHYY-TV 12's Independent Images Program and WYBE's Through the Lens series.

Tomlinson teaches animation at the University of the Arts. She has directed workshops and presented her films as a visiting artist at Harvard University, Cornell University, and in a variety of public and private schools through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts' Arts in Education program. She was an animation judge for the University Film and Video Association Festival, and curated an international animation show called Life Cycles/Life Lines, including several Oscar-nominated animated shorts, as a part of the 1995 Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema. She received a 1996 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship, one of only four film and video recipients in the state. With these funds she is currently working on a film called Ripe, a story of transformation, fertility, anxiety, and pregnancy, inspired by a poem by Sylvia Plath.


Reading Changes Everything
P's Please
Clay-on-glass, 1995, 1:15 and 45 secs.
Two spots for Sesame Street, the letter P, and early literacy and imagination.

Summer Kitchen Animation:
The Same Moon, A Smart Crow, Mixing Colors, Water, & Frog Harmony
Clay-on-glass, 1995, 30 secs. each
Funded by Independent Television Service (ITVS). Broadcast nationally on PBS children's programming. Screenings include: 1996 National Educational Film and Video Festival, Silver Apple Award; 1996 Black Maria, Director's Citation.

Clay-on-glass, 1995, 2 mins.
Three animated sequences on cell behavior for Blackside, Inc.'s PBS series on scientists of color.

Clay-on-glass, 1994, 5 mins.
Funded by Pittsburgh Filmmakers Mid-Atlantic Region Media Arts Fellowship, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and PIFVA Subsidy Grant. Screened at Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema, Festival of Independents, WHYY Independent Images Series, South Beach film Festival, and others.

WHYY-TV12 Animated Station I.D.s
Mixed media, 1993-1994, 10-60 secs.
A series of emmy award-winning animated station ID s produced by PBS station WHYY.

Performance - Clay-on-Glass
Fish - Clay-on-Glass
City Skyline - Clay-on-Glass
Baker - Clay-on-Glass
TV 12 Cooks - Clay-on-Glass
Sandcastle - stop-motion and pixilation
Paperstairs - 3-D stop-motion
ZRocks - Color Photocopies
Isolation - Clay-on-Glass

MTV Free Your Mind Spot
Clay-on-glass, 1994, 30 secs.
Directed and animated a 30-second spot for MTV Network.

Paper Walls
Mixed live action and multi-media animation, 1993, 6 mins.
Spotlight film for WHYY, based on Charlotte Perkins Gilman s story, The Yellow Wallpaper. Live-action film mixed with clay-on-glass and other experimental animation techniques tells the story of a woman losing touch with reality.

I Heard A Fly Buzz When I Died
Clay-on-glass, 1989, 1.5 mins.
Moody swirling images interpret an Emily Dickinson poem. Distributed by Picture Start and Chicago Filmmakers, broadcast on Bravo, WHYY-TV12, and WYBE-TV35. Screenings include: New York Film Expo, Asbury Film Festival The Medicine Wheel Animation Festival, Poetry Film Festival, and Philadelphia Festival of Independents. Included in a video collection - Animation of the Apocalypse.

MTV Logo -- Adventures in a Fishbowl
Clay-on-glass animation, 1989, 18 secs.
Leased by MTV Network, 1989-1991. Broadcast on MTV and MTV Europe.

Mixed-media Animation, 1988, 5 mins.
Animated photocopies, rotoscoped and drawn images are used in this experimental music video. 1989 WHYY Independent Images Program.

Fire: A Vili Myth
Cameraless Animation, 1986, 1 min.
Images drawn directly on the film tell an African myth of how humans found fire. 1989 WHYY Independent Images Program.