William Kentridge is a South African artist who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1955. He took a B.A. in Politics and African Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and then a diploma in Fine Arts from the Johannesburg Art Foundation. At the beginning of the 1980s he studied mime and theatre at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. He had hoped to become an actor however, "I was fortunate to discover at a theatre school that I was so bad an actor... I was reduced to an artist and I made my peace with it.". Between 1975 and 1991 he was acting and directing in Johannesburg’s Junction Avenue Theatre Company. In the 1980s he worked on television films and series as art director.
Kentridge is perhaps best known for his animated films. These films are constructed by filming a drawing, making erasures and changes, then filming it again. He continues this process meticulously giving each change to the drawing 1/4 to 2 seconds of screen time. A single drawing will be altered and filmed this way until the end of that scene. These drawings are later displayed along with the films as finished pieces of art.
South African artist William Kentridge’s career spans film, drawing and theater, frequently blending elements of each into integrated works of art. He is perhaps best known for his non-traditional animation technique using charcoal drawings on a single piece of paper to create works of extraordinary depth, often with political and social themes. His art has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, MOMA the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and many museums and galleries world-wide. He is currently working on Shostakovich’s The Nose, to premier at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2010.