Michael Burton was born in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1977. He earned his BFA from Green Mountain College in 1999 and his MFA from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 2007 under a Hixson Lied Fellowship.
Michael's work combines painting and animation to create visceral scenes that tell the stories of people with extraordinary pasts. He most recently completed animations for a PBS documentary about a Sioux family whose patriarchs fought in WWI and Vietnam, toured with Buffalo Bill, and survived the Fort Robinson Massacre of 1879. Michael's work has been included in exhibitions of new media at the Denver Art Museum, RISD Art Museum, and the Joslyn Art Museum. His animations have been screened in several film festivals including the Anchorage Film Festival in late 2016.
Sometime in the mid 1980's, when I was about eight or nine, I was in my parent's sunroom with the family's Super Eight camera trying to make a stop motion animation of my He-Man figures and Castle Gray Skull. The camera was positioned precariously on a tabletop. It fell off and broke. I didn't make another stop motion animation for twenty-four years.
What I realize now is that clumsy old camera was my first attempt at composing a visual story. I learned about cinematography at a young age by watching Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles movies with my older brother then tried to make my own movies with toys. I felt compelled to bring viewers into the world I was creating by using cinematic techniques and the lens provided me with a way to communicate.
Since that time I have developed a studio practice of making stop-motion animated paintings. The stories I tell range from an American Indian descended from a Northern Cheyenne Chief to the experience of two brothers skipping stones on a beach. I explore how narrative can be used to talk about the natural world or how objectivity can link us to our ancestors.