Biography

I was born in Pasadena, California sometime in the last century. I was usually the school artist all through my school years. However, in my senior year I won a contest designing a house (which was actually built). So in my first year of college, I majored in architecture. But I kept falling asleep at the drafting table so I decided to become a starving artist instead.

John Matthews

After my next two years of college I graduated with Honors Extraordinaire in Fine Art. Then I spent two more years as a music major. I'm very poor at sight singing (a big thing in music classes) so I think most of the professors were glad to see me go. I was painful to listen to.

My next two years, I was a film major and once again I graduated with Honors Extraordinaire. It was during this time I learned how to animate the traditional way with drawings and cells and things like that.

My early animation explored the possibilities of visual music. Light and sound are merely vibrations and the rules of harmony and counter point can go both ways. My early inspirations were the short films of Oscar Fisinger.

Niki Matthews

In the mid 70's my wife and I starting making puppets. Soon we were professional puppeteers doing the party and school circuits. Here I discovered that children are the most honest audiences ever invented. They let you know when they don't dig your act - especially after 3:00 in the afternoon.

Being a puppeteer is hard work; you have to cart around a stage and puppets besides putting up with hostile children. In many ways this inspired me to start doing stop-motion animation. You don't have to deal with rude audiences and you don't have to lug around your stuff. The best thing about stop-motion was you only had to "do your act" once - unless you goofed up.

In 1980 I started working for Churchill Films in Hollywood. This gig lasted 12 years. I produced and directed 24 stop-motion films during this period. Curious George, Frog and Toad, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Rotten Ralph were some of the productions. During this period I also won many awards including 5 emmy nominations, a George Foster Peabody Medal, a Carnegie Medal - all told about 150 awards from all over the world. (It's true what Walt Disney said about awards: "they don't keep the fleas off your dog.")

In 1995, I started working for Imageworks as a digital character animator. I worked on both Stuart Little features. I did the wrap-arounds for a Stuart Little HBO TV series. I also worked on Hollowman, The Astronaut's Wife and the Matrix Reloaded. I created development shorts for Alley Oop and Peter Rabbit. I was also given the opportunity to create and produce Papa Nogood, a pilot for Sony Screenblast. I created Jurupa, an animated short which Sony entered for Academy consideration. Jurupa was liscened by Microsoft and Discreet for Siggraph '97. I was also a lead animator on Polar Express.

During this period I have learned many different software programs including: Maya, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, Softimage, Adobe Photoshop, Sound Forge, DeepPaint 3D, Fat Lips (a linguistic program), MotionBuilder, Premiere and Sonar/Cakewalk.

I am a member of Screen Actors Guild and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).

Home

Some of my interests include: sailing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, diving. I play piano and 5 string banjo.

I am currently writing songs in my small mountain studio. Despite what my music professors thought of my singing ability, I am singing too. Perhaps too loudly for some.

My wife, Niki and I have been married for 32 years. We have 4 boys all between the ages of 30 and 25. We have been living in the mountains near Lake Arrowhead for the past 20 years.