Written by Kelly Wold, edited by Tim Smyth
While unrealized in his lifetime, Willis “Obie” Obrien’s mastery of animation has helped inspire the mind's eye of generations. This pioneer’s monstrous legacy was cultivated through years of developing innovative techniques.
The Oakland born California native gained life experience before stepping into motion pictures. O’Brien’s winding artistic road began in his teens working briefly as a cowboy, boxer and cartoonist. These interests would resurface in his later works. Obie’s focus shifted to sculpture, consisting of mainly human and animal figures. He would add molded rubber to their surfaces giving his pieces both character and freedom of movement.
It was said that during a particularly slow day of…