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Bob Godfrey: A Collaborative Act

It’s not often you get a chance to see the work of a genius on your doorstep — so when we heard our Farnham campus was going to host an exhibition of legendary animator Bob Godfrey’s work, we got down there pronto.

20 Feb 2020

To all of us at UCA, Bob Godfrey is a bit of an icon. As well as creating some of the best-loved cartoon characters of his era, he also founded our Animation degree course, which remains a training ground some of the biggest names in the business.

An exhibition of his work, Bob Godfrey: A Collaborative Act, opened at the James Hockey and Foyer galleries at UCA Farnham last week, and runs until mid-March. Here’s what I learned when I went to take a look:

1. His drawings found their way into all kinds of unexpected places.

2. It’s not until you see all his work in one place that you realise just how versatile he was.

3. He could always find the funny side.

A still from Know Your Europeans (1994)

There’s a whimsical quality to everything on display— even when it carries serious undertones. Godfrey wasn’t afraid to poke fun at people, or society as a whole; one look at his 1994 video, Know Your Europeans: The United Kingdom, tells you that. To the strains of a satirical song about the many types of people that make up the UK, you see punk rockers dancing around in Union flag underpants, Prince Charles pottering about in his garden, and Welsh rugby players with leeks wedged under the tape around their heads. It’s 5 minutes 29 seconds of pure silliness and subtle shade.

4. He was a master of self-deprecating humour

In fact, my favourite part of the whole exhibition is actually this joyful little stop motion of Bob himself, rolling around and posing on the floor — definite shades of Monty Python silliness here.

5. Being part of his team must have been AWESOME.

If you fancy seeing the show for yourself, get yourself down to UCA Farnham’s Foyer and James Hockey Galleries and dive right in. It’s quite the trip.

Bob Godfrey: A Collaborative Act, runs until March 17.