Mark Gustafson, who won an Oscar last year for co-directing the animated feature “Guillermo del Toro‘s Pinocchio” and a cornerstone of Oregon’s deep and diverse animation community, died on Thursday. He was 64.
Mark has a long and storied history in Oregon. He began his animation career in the 1980s with Will Vinton and worked in many different types of animation. His claymation work can be seen in the 1987 TV special “Claymation Christmas Celebration,” “The PJs” series starring Eddie Murphy and the TV special “Meet the Raisins,” starring the iconic California Raisins.
He was also the animation director for Wes Anderson’s 2009 Oscar-nominated film “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and worked on the claymation in “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas.”
Most recently Mark worked with Guillermo del Toro as co-director on the Oscar winning “Pinocchio,” produced by Portland based ShadowMachine. Del Toro posted a tribute to him on Friday morning.
“I admired Mark Gustafson, even before I met him,” del Toro wrote. “A pillar of stop motion animation — a true artist. A compassionate, sensitive and mordantly witty man. A legend and a friend that inspired and gave hope to all around him. He passed away yesterday. Today we honor and miss him.”
Mark’s impact on the Oregon animation community and industry cannot be overstated. He and his work inspired, challenged and entertained all of us. We will miss him more than we can say.