Tom Gasek is an award winning stop motion director and character animator with over 28 years of professional experience. He started his career by winning a Student Academy Award with partner Malcolm Spaull for their animated version of Lewis Carroll's "The Walrus and the Carpenter." Gasek earned his BFA from the School of Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

As an "animation gypsy", Gasek followed the work from Portland Oregon, Los Angeles and San Francisco California, Miami Florida, Bristol England, to Boston and Lenox Massachusetts. The studios of Will Vinton, Olive Jar, Aardman Animations and Mass Illusion all housed Gasek's talent at one point. He and partner, Elizabeth Buttler started "Sculptoons" in San Francisco during the late 80's and early 90's. Their clients included Nickelodeon, The Oakland Athletics, The California Raisin Commission and Leo Burnett (Chicago). They received several Broadcast Design Awards.

These days Tom Gasek lives in Rochester New York where he is an Associate Professor and Graduate Director in the School of Film and Animation at RIT. He continues to work in the animation industry on projects like Aardman’s “Creature Comforts America”, Sony Bravia’s “Play-Doh”, Laika’s “Coraline” and scores of commercial projects for companies like Hornet Inc. in New York and Bent Images Lab in Portland, Oregon. He earned his MFA degree from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2006. He completed his animated film “Off-Line” in 2010 and completed his animated short, “Ain’t No Fish” with British partner Miki Cash in the fall of 2013. This is the second film in a series of animated films for Gasek. He is currently in production on a series of pixilated self-portraits called “4 @ 60.” Gasek completed a second edition of his book “Frame by Frame Stop Motion” in 2017. It is one of the only complete resources on non-puppet stop motion photographic techniques.

Personal Statement

After 28 years of full-time work as a director and animator, I earned my MFA degree and joined the faculty in the School of Film and Animation at RIT in 2005. This second career was a natural transition since I had been training animation crews and giving animation workshops in various colleges in the Northeast. As a commercial director, animator and business owner my studio was subject to success through commercial commissions, entertainment venues and some freelance work. I worked at a high level in the stop motion character animation field with clients that ranged from Nickelodeon, Hallmark, The Walt Disney Company, CBS, Burger King and numerous advertising agencies from around the country. I would often subcontract my services out to other larger studios to animate on feature film projects like Disney’s “Return to Oz”, Aardman Animations’ “Chicken Run” and Laika’s “Coraline.” I earned several Broadcast Design Awards and one of my short animations was included in the permanent collection of MoMA in New York. I animated on the Academy Award winning short, “The Wrong Trousers” and directed and animated several commercials with animation credits on television series, like Creature Comforts USA for the award-winning studios of Aardman Animations in Bristol England. I was the key consultant on a television series for the CBC in Nova Scotia Canada called “Poko” and was a co-director on a direct to video series for Mattel called “The Little People.”

In the past 5 years I have been active in furthering my work in non-puppet stop motion animation. I expanded my skills as a puppet, character animator by exploring the world of non-puppet stop motion animation which includes animating people and objects (pixilation), time-lapse and down-shooting techniques. In 2011 I completed a book for Focal Press called "Frame by Frame Stop Motion" (ISBN-10: 0240817281). I created a class in RIT's School of Film and Animation around these techniques and pitched the idea to Focal. This highly rated 1st edition was the only complete resource on this particular subject. I continued to produce puppet stop motion films from my 2009 Off-Line animated short to my 2013 award winning animated short, "Ain't No Fish." The first edition of this book did so well that I started to be asked to teach workshops on this subject. This included the New Orleans Children's Film Festival 2015., The Wisconsin Film Festival's 2105 Children's Cinema , A Fulbright Specialist Grant to teach a 3 week workshop at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (Lima) 2016, a second Fulbright Specialist Grant to teach a 6 week workshop at the Jilin Animation Institute in Changchun China 2018, and many more. Expanding my specialty allowed me to explore new areas in my craft and share these techniques and concepts with my students at RIT. I am currently in production of an all pixilated animated short called "4 @ 60", which I hope to complete in the next 18 months. I have screened the first two of four sections of the film at the SOFA faculty shows to get feedback. I am currently slated to teach a workshop at the Maine Media Workshop and College in July 2019. The second edition of my book, Frame by Frame Stop Motion book for CRC / Focal Press (ISBN 9781498780612) was completed in 2017.

I will continue to produce my "4 @ 60" animated series and explore other teaching and development opportunities as they arise. I am interested in engaging in the local Rochester community as much as the opportunities in the national and international arena. This is evident from my involvement with the Strong Museum of Play in 2014to my support of the Fast Forward Film Festival and my introduction to the Jiri Trnka film series at the Eastman Museum's Dryden Theater in 2018. I am passionate about my art form and legacy of stop motion photographic work at RIT and will continue to spread the word and awareness including our program at RIT.