Steve Harding-Hill

Award winning Commercials Director for Aardman Animations, Steve Harding-Hill, completed the
Foundation course in Art and Design at Bradford & Ilkley College in 1988.

Steve Harding Hill“In 1987, after years of making pork pies at my dads’ bakery I decided I’d had enough of hard work and that I wanted to become an ‘artist.’ My fathers parting words were ‘No son of mine is flouncing off to Art College, coming back with funny ideas and a funny haircut.’

Ignoring him, I went off and enrolled on the Foundation course in Art and Design at Bradford & Ilkley College. This proved to be one of the best years of my life. It was fun, cool and unlike school, you got to call your lecturers Dave (not all of them, just the ones called Dave).

From there I managed to get on the Graphic Design degree at Leeds Polytechnic, run by my now dear friend and artist, the bombastic John Ross. After surviving his gruelling regime at Leeds (much of it centred around the Fenton Arms) I decided that I never wanted to make another pork pie again and set out on a career as an animator. Within months I’d won the Channel Four Animation Award and I was commissioned to make my first animated film Angry George Irons (co-written by Ross).”

In 1993 Steven embarked on a Masters in Animation at The Royal College of Art, winning the prestigious British Film Institute Award for Best Animated Film while there. “After graduating I worked as a Commercials Director at Studio AKA, London and that same year my RCA graduation film The Ticker Talks was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Animated Film.

In 1999 I moved to Bristol and became a Director at Aardman Animations where I now create advertising campaigns in all manner of mixed media; stop-motion, 2d drawn, live action, CGI etc.

Only recently I directed the Leonard Cheshire Disability Awareness campaign, which takes the actual dialogue of disabled people and turns them into Creature Comforts style animation. My aim was to make thought provoking, funny films that challenge able-bodied people’s perceptions of disability. It was a dream of a job and I have just finished another 4 ads for them. And yes I do feel very lucky.”

Photograph supplied by Aardman Animations