Mahieu Studios Productions consists of illustrator and artist, Mahieu Spaid, and animator, Levi Spaid. We are a husband and wife team. I, Mahieu, create the original drawings and storyline for my husband to animate. The idea for our animation, Life Under the Dome, came about when I started illustrating new cartoon characters for my first children’s book, Adventures of Lucy and Bryan: King of Wild Island. I’ve always been a fan of anime, manga and comics. This year instead of wondering how the animators did everything I went out and purchased my first digital drawing pad. I started creating digital drawings and couldn’t stop. I loved the way my characters looked in print but something was missing. I like animation because it brings more personality to my drawings and illustrations. As an artist I think of the way a character will act, look, and speak. sometimes a flat 2D drawing isn’t enough. There was something missing from the experience I wanted to provide to people who enjoy my work.
Luckily, my husband, Levi is quick to learn new programs and technologies. He helped bring my characters to life so the picture is complete. An animation combines all the senses and reaches out to the audience in a way a 2D print can’t. Some of the animators or people in animation that I was influenced by were Hayao Miyazaki and Richard Williams. I remember reading and seeing his Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Miyazaki’s work was different from what I was used to seeing on television. I remember staying up late during a school night just to see some of his directed work on TV. I also love “classic” animator’s like Richard Williams, who produced large productions, like Toy Story. Some of the animators like Richard survived the industry for more than forty years. I loved the fact that he produced a book called The Animator’s Survival Kit.
Here in Minnesota, we need to have a larger presence for animators. I remember talking with students going to school for animation in this state and their teacher telling them they would probably have to move to California to continue their schooling. I’d love to see more animators from Minnesota carve out a name for themselves with the east and west coast competition. In other words, thank you for posting your group on the art boards and putting together film festivals for those of us who love animation.