Animator-director Virpi Kettu spent seven years working on the Wallace and Gromit films following a two-week work experience placement at the production company Aardman.
“The initial connection was a combination of luck, networking and skills. It was a delightful working relationship. I felt instantly that I was in my spiritual home and learned a lot about animation and the industry in general. It has had an amazing impact on my career,” said Virpi.
Later, love intervened and Virpi moved to Skipton from Canada– her partner is from the area – supposedly for 10 months, but that has now stretched to five happy years and counting.
After city living, the move has given her an appreciation of clean air and water, plus picturesque landscapes and history to absorb. Virpi finds it a very healing place, but crucially a highly inspirational one as she is passionate about her creative work, currently immersed in exploring augmented reality (AR) and animation series development.
“Living in the Dales offers more time and space for my own projects and being ‘the only animator in the village’ has its benefits! I have found a lot of inspiration to create not only about the area but with it too. My upcoming TV series and AR trail, Dogs’ Dales, is a direct result.”
Virpi has been able to develop her Dogs’ Dales project thanks to support from GPLD via the Acorn funding scheme.
Virpi points to a growing arts scene in the Skipton area with possibilities for pursuing creative careers which are different but somehow better than opportunities found in urban centres, she says. It is easier to make work known in a rural setting, and there are organisations like Craven Arts, of which Virpi is a founder, to help local artists find studio and gallery space as a collective.
Added Virpi: “I would like to thank GPLD, local authorities and organisations for their support of the creative industries, arts and culture.”