Best known for his collaborations with rock iconoclast Frank Zappa in the 1970s (Dub Room Special, Baby Snakes, The Amazing Mr. Bickford), underground animator Bruce Bickford has influenced generations of artists with his startlingly original vision.
Available to the public for the first time since its completion more than two decades ago, Prometheus’ Garden (28 minutes, 1988) was the first film over which Bickford maintained complete creative control following his collaborations with Zappa. The DVD features a commentary track by Bickford, an alternate score by Laird Dixon, and the half hour documentary featurette, Luck of a Foghorn, directed by Brett Ingram.
Inspired by the Greek myth of Prometheus, a Titan who created the first mortals from clay and stole fire from the gods, Prometheus’ Garden immerses viewers in a cinematic universe unlike any other. The dark and magical images of this haunting film unfold in a dreamlike stream of consciousness revealing an unlikely cast of clay characters engaged in a violent struggle for survival. Like all Bickford films, Prometheus’ Garden defies description and simply must be experienced.
In Clay Animation, film scholar Michael Frierson writes: “Bickford offers us a visionary landscape, a hallucinogenic retreat into magical settings where figure and ground may transform into the other at any moment, enchanted settings in which modern technocrats are easy villains and nature is under siege.”
Bickford is an underground artist who has mystified animation critics and inspired generations of animators, while somehow eluding fame. He has been described as the world’s only “outsider artist” working in the medium of animation. He has been recognized as a “genius” by Frank Zappa and countless other iconoclasts. One thing is certain: Bickford is a true original.
In his collaborations with Frank Zappa in the 1970s, Bickford relinquished creative control of his work (which was edited and scored by Zappa). Consequently, Prometheus’ Garden is Bickford’s most comprehensive and least compromised vision.