Category Archives: Profiles

MinnAnimate Profile: Dave and Mary Sandberg


We work as a team. We worked commercially in California and Minnesota from the mid 70ʼs until about 2000. We wanted to do animation for adults and together we created the feature My Art School Summer. Since then – we work on shorts and Dave teaches Character Animation and Storyboard at MCAD.
We like mixing theater/story and drawing. Dave has been drawing comics with the Cartoonist Conspiracy, and making mini comics that become storyboards for us to animate – and that is how Climate Conference came into being.
Favorite inspirational animators; Tex Avery, Jay Ward, Bruno Bozzetto, Picha and Renaissance paintersʼ drawing skills.
Longer winters would give more time indoors animating; we never get much animation done in the summer.

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MinnAnimate Profile: Mahieu Studios

Mahieu Studios Productions

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.

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MinnAnimate Profile: Caleb Wood


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your animation.

I was born in Colorado, grown throughout several Midwestern states, and currently reside in northern Minnesota. I was allowed to watch lots of cartoons growing up, which were a heavy influence on how I approached art in my younger years. I never really thought about being an animator when i was a kid though, I just knew I wanted to make art in general. It wasn’t until I understood how animation was made that I realized I could pursue it as an art form. Once that happened, I became addicted to it, and wanted to learn all about it. At this point in my life I am certain that animation will be my lifelong pursuit.

Why do you like animation?

I love it for so many reasons, mostly because it is honestly the most versatile, collective, and limitless of art forms. It allows me to use any medium of creation within a format of time, space, and sound. I am able to create any experience that I can imagine, a fully choreographed moment, for viewers to take in as a collective audience. Within a film create life, watch it grow, and let it die.

Tell us about this short.

Worm from caleb wood on Vimeo.

“Worm” was influenced by Takashi Murata, Adam Beckett, and MRI scanning. It is an attempt to create the sense of three dimensional forms through using hand drawn two dimensional animated loops.

bird shit from caleb wood on Vimeo.

“Bird Shit” is a film composed of cell phone photos of bird shit played in sequence. The photos and sound were taken on a walk through Yoyogi Park near Shinjuku Tokyo in Japan.

Do you do other kinds of art that inform your animation work?
I mess around with music, take photography and video, draw daily, rarely write, view an excessive amount of films, sometimes sculpt with clay, and explore stuff outside.

Who are some of your favorite/inspirational animators?
Norman Mclarren, Adam Beckett, Takashi Ito, Takashi Murata, Koji Yamamura, Yuri Norstein, Jiri Barta, Pritt Parn, Katsuhiro Otomo, Amy Kravits, Matti Kutt, Ketia Kurasaka, David Lynch, Don Hertzfeldt, Jan Svankmajer, Chriss Sullivan, Jonathan Hodgson,
and many many more.

Is Minnesota a good place to do animation? And what do we need here to make it a better place for animation?
For me it is a great place to work and create for personal reasons, but I do not think there are very many animators creating non commercial work within the state. Minnanimate is a great start to exposing our state to the auteur animated short film. Having more people understand animation, and appreciate it, is the only thing you need to make Minnesota a better place for it.

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