Artist Spotlight: Richard Starzak

Published 1st September 2017

1. How did start out in the industry and what is your role at Aardman?

I joined Aardman as the first full time employee many moons ago. 1983 I think. I had a short stint helping Pete and Dave with sets and props for some short films, thinking it would be a short term enjoyable job. Decades later, I’m Directing the second Shaun the Sheep movie, and I’m involved with all things Shaun.

2. To date, what has been your biggest professional achievement?

The first Shaun the Sheep Movie. I’m very proud of that, though there have been a lot of career highlights for me.

3. Name three people who inspire you:

Saul Steinberg, David Shrigley, Bobby Robson

4. What best describes your style?

Casual/Scruffy. Occasionally mutton dressed as lamb.

5. What do you like most about working at Aardman?

Being surrounded by a sea of hugely talented people

6. What new technologies do you feel have had the most impact on the way you create?

A bit obvious, but Google image search

7. What’s your desk like – messy or tidy?

I’m afraid I’m generally messy, though I’d love to be zen-like tidy and organised.

8. What are your goals for the year ahead?

Firstly, to make this second Shaun the Sheep Movie the best it can be. I would also love to transpose the Shaun comedy style into a ‘silent’ live action movie. I’d love to paint and sculpt more.

9. How do you maintain a work/life balance?

It’s hard to think of film making as work. It’s over all a hugely enjoyable process. When I do take a holiday, which isn’t very often, I realise how important they are. So I suppose I don’t have a good balance in some ways.

10. What has been your all-time favourite project that you’ve been involved with?

I loved directing the Creature Comforts series, but I think being given the freedom to devise the Shaun the Sheep series was very satisfying.

11. What’s your best advice for artists today?

I have no idea what to advise artists generally. If they came to me with a question, I might be able to help!

12. Who is your favourite Aardman character and why?

Ann the cleaner. She makes me smile.