Karl Staven is an independent animator and photographer who is currently the director of the Animation department in the College of Art, Media & Design at the University of the Arts.
He earned his undergraduate degree at Yale University with a psychology major. He went on to spend a year as an NIMH-funded intern at St. Elizabeths' Hospital in Washington, D.C., learning psychodrama. After this experience, he later picked up a master's degree in Educational Psychology at Harvard University. This, of course, led to a shift in focus towards animation. After making several independent animated films and teaching animation part time in upstate New York (Ithaca, to be exact), he returned to school to pick up a Masters in Fine Arts in Animation at New York University in downtown Manhattan. This led directly to his current hire at UArts.
He has created more than 25 independent animation films since 1985, using a variety of techniques and styles. "I'll Get Right On That" looks at boredom in the workplace and was drawn in 1985 on index cards (New England Film Festival, 1986). "Making A Baby" disassembled toy dolls under the camera to tell its story (Melbourne International Film Festival, 1988). "Gabriel Goes For a Walk" utilized pixilation, optical printing, and some 16mm live action to follow a dog's journey through Brooklyn, N.Y. (Ann Arbor Film Festival, 1997). "Piano Dog Visits the Underworld" incorporated both 3D and 2D computer animation to create its multi-layered world (Cinema, Portugal 2004). "Backyard Shadow" is a time lapse film that explores the demise of a massive tree (Ottawa International Animation Festival, 2006). The filmmaker enjoys exploring whatever animated means are possible to bring his ideas to life.
Karl also continues to be very interested in photography and has been shooting on an almost daily basis since he began working at UArts. He has been commuting to work on his bicycle since he was employed at UArts (6.5 miles one way, 13 round trip), and often comes across interesting scenarios via his North Philadelphia daily journey and doesn't hesitate to stop and document the world at hand. His photographic work has been shown in numerous shows and at multiple galleries. Karl remains excited to be able to teach at UArts to have a positive impact on the quality student artists we accept and educate at our University.