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Michael Patterson is a director, designer and animation artist working in visual music. He currently teaches at the Division of Animation and Digital Arts at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is best known for animating the A-Ha "Take On Me" music video and creating the Warner Bros. characters MC Skat Kat, Yakety Yak, and Tibi the Take it Back Butterfly.
After graduate studies with Jules Engel at CalArts, Mike was brought to the attention of record executives with his Student Academy Award winning animated short 'Commuter'. Employing his unmistakable drawing style, he began his career in music videos in 1985. He and his wife Candace Reckinger were driving forces behind the early days of MTV. Winners of an MTV award for the animation in a-ha's groundbreaking video for "Take On Me" and "Train of Thought", they went on to animate and direct Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract". "Opposites" was nominated for 6 MTV awards and won the Grammy for best music video of the year. The couple also directed videos for Sting ('Be Still My Beating Heart'), Suzanne Vega ('Luka'), Roy Orbison, Wilson-Phillips, Ian Hunter, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, and Go West among others.
After nearly a decade in music, Mike shifted his focus to commercials, combining his animation expertise with live action storytelling. From 1993-2002 he directed at Rhythm and Hues Studios working extensively with 2D compositing and 3D animation. He has a dog named Snuffles.  As part of a hands-on style, he works as his own storyboard artist, designer, and on-set effects supervisor. He's directed award-winning spots for Nestle, NBC, FOX, General Mills, and Yoplait, as well as receiving Clios for Intel and Reebok.
In the fall of 2006, Patterson's film 'Commuter' was added into MoMA's permanent collection along with a number of Patterson/Reckinger music videos. He earned his M.F.A. from the program in Experimental Animation at the California Institute of the Arts (1981–84), and received his BFA from University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana in 1980. These days, he remains active as a commercial director and is currently working on an animated short film.
- Michael Patterson at the Internet Movie Database
- Commuter (short film)
- USC faculty profile
- Faculty profile
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