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Work Biography

2001 - present | artist, London studio
2005 - 2009 | senior tutor in animation, National Film & Television School, Beaconsfield, UK
2002 - 2005 | instructor in animation, Konstfack, Eksjo, Sweden
1996 - 1998 | full time lecturer in animation, Harvard University, Cambridge Ma, USA
1972 - 1991 | animation director National Film Board of Canada, Montreal
1969 - 1971 | freelance film animator Boston
1964 - 1968 | Harvard University, Radcliffe College, BA

I am an experimental art animator by training and profession working in various plastic mediums, sand, wet paint-on-glass, etched film emulsion. It has taken many years to evolve my art of paintings that don't move, my fine arts studio work.

When I make under-the-camera straight ahead animation, individual drawings are unimportant. It is their displacement in relation to the film frame, the change between the drawings, that creates perception of movement. Necessarily, these drawings are line driven and simple. All through my animation years, when animating was my day job, on the side I was making drawings that did not move. They were drawings from memory of things seen during the day. They were my daily visual diary entries. I was storytelling about myself, and I am often a figure in these drawings. Some of these are included on this website under Early works on paper.

The onion series was made in 2004 when I was animating "Slavery". Both drawings and animation used the same materials: light and heavy strokes of charcoal dust, pastel, and eraser on paper. Each stroke represents a moment of clear thought and action.
An infinite variety of strokes can create a likeness of an onion. Each drawing represents one set of strokes which work together.

Over time, the figurative element has become less important, and concerns about mark making, perceptions of space and depth, the composition of the 2d surface, and perception of content have become my interests. It has become satisfying to explore complex pictorial structures that are not possible with images designed to move. The painted images have become more abstract.

I chase accidents which have energy. I watch edges for meaning. Perception hangs on multiple and delicate interrelationships within the image. A thread running through all of my work is a sense of spontaneity and the importance of working hands on with materials.
I am drawn to materials that are infinitely malleable: sand and wet paint, chalks, pencils and erasers, oil paint.


- Two Artists One Drawing 2022 | www.onlinegallery.site
- Spaces 2021| www.onlinegallery.site
- Playing with Perception, The Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, 2015
- The Leper Chapel, Cambridge, England, 2008
- The Shop Gallery, Vallance Road, London, 2006
- The Corridor Gallery, London, 2004
- Krakow Animation Festival, Krakow, Poland, 1998
- Zagreb International Animation Festival, Zagreb Croatia, 1996


- Michael Nock Foundation, Hong Kong, 2014
- Abbaye de Fontevraud, France, 2014
- Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, residency, summer 1997

Caroline Leaf