Three Artists Get Bent

It is human nature to categorize artists using labels.Comedic, dramatic and everything in between-peoplecompartmentalize talent for mental filing purposes. But the nimbleartists who dodge the labels flung at them demand more than one wordfrom their critics. They force them to conjure up new descriptionsbecause the exceptional artists are in a constant state ofreinvention.

Three distinctive artists of this caliber have gathered to launchBent Image Lab, an animation laboratory and a hybrid live-actionproduction studio headquartered in Portland, Ore. "Our mission is togenerate the future in mixed media/animation/live action," sayspartner/executive producer Ray Di Carlo. "We've started a company thatis invested in talent and ideas. We are artists doing business, notbusinessmen trying to make art." Di Carlo however, has a successfulbusiness background and intimated that Bent will operate under a highlyunique business model.

Individually, each artist's portfolio represents unforgettablebenchmarks established in commercials, television and long form.Collectively, Bent Image Lab intends to drive live action, design, andanimation standards even further. "Never twice the same solution," saysprincipal/director Chel White. "We look at a project from all differentangles to find the magic. Any approach is on the table when we start aproject. We are problem-solvers trying to do what remains undone."

"We want to create a space where people go for something different,"explains principal/director David Daniels, "and a space for talentedpeople. We named it Bent because this is a place where you can bend therules, bend light, and bend the imagination." Daniels went on toexplain that because the Bent team is highly skilled in so manycreative disciplines, it frees the mind to consider the possibilities.In addition to developing new techniques Daniels and White stress thatthe quality of the idea and the human aspects of the work are of equalimportance.

Chel White partnered at Bent Image Lab after five years directingdomestic spots with bicoastal Curious Pictures. His commercial creditsinclude spots for Reebok, Fila, Adidas, Lugz, Coors, USPS, TNT, Hondaand Coca-Cola. His television credits include an episode of The "PJ's"and a parody for "Saturday Night Live" that perfectly recreates theclay animation techniques used in the Christmas classic, "Rudolph theRed Nosed Reindeer." His films have been shown in festivals all overthe world and three have screened at Sundance in the past five years.White's work has garnered prestigious honors including a Clio, an AICPaward, and a British Design & Art Direction award.

David Daniels, who is comfortable animating with everything fromcomputers to clay, was most recently with Vinton Studios, Portland Ore.His unique technique is sought after for highly stylized projects thatraise the bar in the animation community. Commercial credits includeLevi's, M&Ms, Fox Sports, Pepsi, Nabisco, and Fanta. He animatedall three seasons of "Pee Wee's Playhouse" and was sequence director onPeter Gabriel's "Big Time" music video. He has won a Clio, a DaytimeEmmy, a Telly, an AICP award, and a Mexican Creative Circle award.

Partner/producer Ray Di Carlo got his start with feature filmdirector Jim Cameron on The Abyss and went on to contributeground breaking effects on a number of other feature films. He hasproduced and designed numerous high profile projects including spotsfor Nintendo, Reebok, Chase Manhattan, Cellular One and Raid as well asa short for "Saturday Night Live."

In addition to the principals, a roster of up-and-coming talentjoins the creative team. Much is expected of this clique ofnext-generation artists that has already shown so much potential. Thetalent includes live action director, Kazuo Ohno; CG art directorAdrian Grey; designer/modeler Jake Burgard; and animator, graphicdesigner; and flash master Pascal Campion.

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