Thursday, 8. March 2012 - 2:50 pm
News of the death of Peter Stenhouse, the hugely talented animator who was a member of the London-based directing team Dirty UK, has shocked his former colleagues in the music video world, who have only recently learned of his tragic death.
Peter drowned while swimming off the coast of La Coruna Province in Spain last August. He was 30. The New Zealander – a seasoned and inveterate traveller of the world – was living in Madrid at the time, although still largely working in London with 59 Productions, directing animation for 59′s work for theatrical productions and other live shows.
While a member of the Dirty UK team in the mid-2000s, with Andy Brassington, Chris Debney and Olly Moss, Peter was lead animator and co-director of Flobots’ hugely successful video for Handlebars, Shortwave Set’s No Social and Ed Harcourt’s Dead Dog.
He was also the animator and visual effects artist on many other Dirty UK videos including Fratellis’ Lookout Sunshine – and also worked with Nima Nourizadeh on a couple of his music video projects including Chromeo’s Bona Fide Lovin (which parodied the Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing video). He also created the ident for BUG’s Massive Attack special in 2008.
Following the breakup of Dirty UK, and between his bike treks around the world, he began working for 59 Productions in London, immediately making telling contributions to some major theatrical and operatic productions. His first commission was as lead animator on a project for the 125th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York – an animated interpretation of the Chagall painting The Triumph Of Music, set to the overture of Mozart’s Magic Flute.
He went on to be director of animation on 59′s design of Go, the multimedia stage show of Icelandic singer Jónsi (of Sigur Rós fame), creating animal animations described by The Guardian as ‘staggering’. He also worked on the New York production of the theatrical adaptation of War Horse, and ENO opera Two Boys.
“Pete was a remarkably talented guy, highly creative and totally free spirited,” says Dirty UK colleague Andy Brassington. “He had a really pure heart and will be sadly missed by so many people. He was an inspirational character.”
“Peter will be sadly missed as a friend and will always be an inspiration,” says fellow Dirty UK member Chris Debney. “Aside from our own projects, the team at Dirty UK worked with many directors helping them achieve their visions in an industry that rarely gives you enough time or budget. As Lee Lennox remembers Peter saying when we were all flagging at 4am before a delivery: ‘this project will only last another night, but what we make will last forever’.”
Andy Brassington adds: “My favourite quote of Peter’s – after a job with Smirnoff was going tits-up, and the agency were getting shitty – was: ‘Don’t worry, there are plenty of other people out there we haven’t pissed off yet!’ Always looking on the bright side!!”
An impromptu event to celebrate the life of Peter Stenhouse will be held at the Crown & Goose pub in Delancey Street, London, NW1, next Friday, March 16th.
59 Productions tribute to Peter Stenhouse here
More Peter Stenhouse work here