Even though animator Ben Radatz moved from Kansas City earlier this year to Los Angeles, his presence can still be felt through his partnership with MK12, a filmmaking studio in the Crossroads.
While in Kansas City, he lived in Pendleton Heights, a historic neighborhood in Northeast Kansas City, where he was able to set up a studio in his attic for his work. He said he loved living in the area due to its acceptance of artists and affordability.
“The Northeast is a wonderful part of town to work in,” said Radatz, “because of the vibrant artist community that has taken hold in the last decade and its proximity to downtown and the Crossroads.”
Radatz is someone who loves traveling and the experiences of those travels often spill into his work. Not only does he travel from place to place, he also enjoys hopping from style to style. His works can be in the cartoon style of Disney, other times they experiment with new technology that he’s curious about. Sometimes it’s a direct copy in animated form, or, in other cases, the influences are more subtle. His love for art began with his interest in Disney, which is what drew him to the Kansas City Art Institute. Once at the Art Institute, he said he lost interest in Disney, but found that animation was still a perfect artistic medium for him. In 1998 he graduated and kicked off his career in animation.
In the late 1990s, he became very interested in the new digital tools that were just becoming available.
Today his work and that of the MK12 studio can be found anywhere from video games to movies. Radatz’s style changes from project to project. Some bring feelings of nostalgia with their similarity to classic cartoons, while others are slick graphics perfect for any modern release.
Radatz’s love of animation continues to this day. This passion has been noticed outside of Kansas City, with his collaborative short film with Brian Alfred, Overload, having a home in the archives of the Guggenheim. Radatz’s work has won him some acclaim, with his awards including the Mile High Horror Film Festival award for Most Innovative Short Film in 2013 and the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.
He recently created an opening sequence for Carpenter Collection’s Made in the Middle that showed at their design conference at the Nelson Atkins Museum.