Kansas City stop-motion artist painstakingly creates art for stars, TV commercials

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Highly acclaimed stop-motion animation artist Bona Bones jokes that she’s following in the footsteps of Walt Disney, only in reverse.

“I actually went to the animation school that Walt Disney founded, which is the California Institute of the Arts,” Bones said.

But unlike Disney, who left Kansas City for Hollywood, Bones grew up in California and is delighted to now call KC home.

“Every summer we would do this girls trip. We would all come out to Kansas City and go check out bars and shows and restaurants. I just really loved it,” Bones said.

These days, Bones occupies two worlds. She’s an assistant professor of animation at the Kansas City Art Institute, and she creates stop motion animation videos for everyone from Blake Shelton and Jane’s Addiction to advertisements for Ziploc.

“I really like making these little inanimate objects have a personality and deciding what that personality looks like,” she said.

It’s truly a labor of love. Bones said every second of action, using puppets, Barbies and other action figures, takes up to an hour of posing and photography.

Bones then assembles the individual still shots into a timeline to create the illusion of animation.

“I really enjoy the performance aspect of it,” she said.

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