TEACHING THE ILLUSION OF LIFE: THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS OF THE SHERIDAN ANIMATION PROGRAM
Tony Tarantini (Canada)
1 – Sheridan College
Professor Tarantini considers teaching to be his raison d’être. He believes in helping students develop a vision of their creative identity and instill in them a belief that they have the potential to realize it. He has taught a wealth of animation and visual arts courses over his career and has been at Sheridan College since the year 2000. He has over 20 years of creative and management experience in the animation industry, contributing to many animation productions: Ewoks, George Shrinks, Franklin, The Magic School Bus, Little Bear, Rupert, Babar, Beetlejuice, Care Bears, and more. His areas of expertise include layout, directing, storyboarding, production design and management. He is a board member of the Society for Animation Studies and one of two convenors of the Animation Education SIG. His research focuses mainly on the relationship between animation theory, practice, and pedagogy with a particular fondness for creativity and innovation within animation production projects.
A case study. From its beginnings in a former high school in Ontario Canada, the Sheridan College Bachelor of Animation Program has grown to be a respected and valued place for animation studies. In 1968, one man’s vision and openness to new ideas laid the foundation for an exciting new opportunity where generations of artists would study and practice classical animation. It came to be, at the right time in the right place. This article will discuss the program within both historical and pedagogical contexts, from its traditional roots to contemporary theories, practices, and possible futures. It attempts to dig into the causes and circumstances underpinning a cultural phenomenon that supports the local industry and enriches the peripheral global animation community. Sheridan’s production based animation program attracts a tapestry of culturally diverse students from around the world and Canada’s multicultural society serves as terrific fertile ground. These students bring their distinct paradigms to a learning community committed to the collective manifestation of the illusion of life. Graduates internalize the ability to recontextualize life’s experiences through one of the most powerful transdisciplinary “forms of visual expression”. It is a story worth telling.
Tony Tarantini (Canada)