Alistair Nicholls 

Alistair NichollsHi Alistair, how are you? You’re an animator and sketch writer, working mainly with plasticine models and stop motion. Could you tell me a little bit about your style? How did you choose Smile at the Moon as your name?

Hello, I’m good thank you! I suppose my style comes from a love of visual comedy and the handmade look of plasticine. I try to use a lot of texture and show the handmade work that went into the animation. I was obsessed with Wallace and Gromit, Laurel and Hardy and Horror films from a young age (rather an odd mix!). Smile at the Moon is from a sketch by comedy double act Tim and Eric, from “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job”.

Your characters take on a variety of forms and styles, from cartoonish friendly faces all the way to Tim-Burtonesque creepy ones. What inspires your approach to model-making? What are some of your favourite animated films, and how have they affected the way you work?

Alistair Nicholls Jester

Thank you! To be honest I never really plan what the characters look like, sometimes I do a little sketch, but it comes from the act of making the characters and seeing what happens, as opposed to doing loads of sketches. I feel this hopefully makes the characters more unique, as they’re coming from my own hands. The animated films of The Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmajer where a big inspiration, their use of the puppets and real world objects put into a surrealistic world, but also Aardman Animations creature comforts and Morph.

Alistair Nicholls Old Couple

You are currently available to work take commissions, which must mean you get a variety of interesting and unique projects sent your way. Can you tell me a bit about a project you especially enjoyed working on? What sort of commission work do you hope to get in the future?

Thats a hard one! It’s really nice to be able to work on a variation of projects, with different styles and ideas. I recently made a series of stop-motion ecards, it was super fun as they were short sketches and I was able to use good old plasticine once again! I love working with different people and on different projects. I suppose I’d love to do more music videos, as its nice to be able to create work that tells a story without words.

What would you like to offer up as your Who’s Flying the Plane Hidden Gem?

Well, to be honest I could go on and on about animation, but there’s a brilliant short film called, “Harvie Krumpet” that is just beautiful and created by the talented Adam Elliot. Also the film “Faust” by Jan Svankmajer, just a fantastic surrealist live action/stop-motion film that everyone needs to see!

What can we expect from the future of Smile at the Moon and your animation work in the future? How can we keep up to date with what you do? Thanks a lot Alistair!

A lot more plasticine adventures and stop motion goodness! I’m working on a more surreal stop-motion film currently, as well as commissioned work. You can follow my instagram for various bits n bobs: @smileathemoon_

Thank you!

Alistair Nicholls Puffin


24/10/20 Interview by Alex Wilson

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