As a young child John Oz’s introduction to sculpture happened in one of the most unlikely places, the kitchen. Surrounded by gooey mixing bowls and bags of flour he stumbled across a rare talent for making elaborate and complex birthday cakes. It was here, taking on the icing jobs that were a little too complicated for his Mum, that a passion for sculpture and creation was born.

Having cultivated a love for music and art while at high school, John decided to study printmaking at school. It was here that he first met artist Billy Apple. From the age of 18 to 23 John assisted the pop artist, honed his craft and collaborated with him on various pieces. A photo of Billy and his young protege can still be seen today in the Titirangi Art Gallery.

Being a keen musician and heavily involved in Auckland’s music scene was an entry point for John into film. He started helping to shoot local band’s music videos, often on a shoestring budget. This work foreshadowed what was to come, a long career in film and television sculpture and animation.

Over the years John has proved his creative and practical abilities working on various adverts and big budget blockbuster movies such as the The Last Samurai and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. In his roles as a sculpture and props sculpture looking after his own department, John created breathtakingly detailed armour, elaborate ornaments and royal crowns.

While working on The Ring, a ⅙ scale stop frame animation telling the story of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, John fell in love with the art of animation. The challenge of bringing to life his creations has become a great passion. For John the transition from working on the necessary mechanics needed for a puppet to making the object move is a greatly rewarding process.

From edible leeches to lifesize moas, John and his team’s eclectic back catalogue of creations is vast. Working within the realms of sculpture, puppeteering and animation the Oz Studio dream factory is somewhere where your imagine really is the only thing that limits you.


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