Joanna Priestley

Joanna Priestley has directed 27 animated films that explore abstraction, relationships, botany and prison. Bill Plympton calls her “The queen of independent animation.”

Joanna has had retrospectives of her films at REDCAT (Los Angeles), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Center for Contemporary Art (Warsaw, Poland), Stuttgart Animation Festival (Germany), American Cinematheque (Los Angeles), Portland Art Museum, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and the High Museum of Art (Atlanta). Programs of her films have been shown on PBS and BBC2. She is also a plant lover and medicinal herbalist.

Featured image credit: R. Dennis Wiancko

Joanna’s Website, Vimeo Page, Youtube Channel


Select Filmography:


Bottle Neck (2015)

A luminous crush of still life silhouettes, abstract shapes and complex, interlocking patterns, Bottle Neck renovates the commonplace objects of a classical painting genre in a modern setting. The final film in the Eye Liner Trilogy that includes Eye Liner (2011) and Split Ends (2013).


Split Ends (2013)

The luscious colors and delicate lines of Split Ends playfully construct animated full field patterns and reference mass produced ornamental designs of the industrial era. Without relying on pop culture reference points, some patterns stimulate a collective memory of youthful self-hypnosis and visual absorption. Split Ends is the second film in the Eye Liner Trilogy.

Still from Split Ends (2013)

Still from Split Ends (2013)


Dear Pluto (2012)

A tribute to everyone’s favorite planetoid, written and narrated by Manhattan slam poet Taylor Mali, Dear Pluto blends 2D and 3D animation to explore Pluto’s unfortunate demotion in our Solar System.

Still from Dear Pluto (2012)

Still from Dear Pluto (2012)


Rumpy Pumpy (2013)

A ballet of private parts, in all their glorious combinations.


Choking Hazard (2012)

A plastic tub takes a long trip in this short short by award winning indie animator Joanna Priestley. Our best intentions can go awry when it comes to recycling plastic.


Clam Bake (2012) iOS App

Clam Bake begins with a simple group of static turquoise clams, olive figure eights and a vermillion ball. Each click of the mouse revels new sequences, pointed twangers and zoetropes. Bonus when the particiant opens each item.


Eye Liner (2011)

Using luminescent layers of organic abstract animation, Eye Liner delves beneath archetypes of the human face.  Mysterious geometric patterns, rendered in cerulean blue and rust, evoke a fantastical earth-and-sea relationship between bold shapes and ethereal backgrounds.  Eye Liner simultaneously echoes facial features and challenges traditional notions of appearance. It is the first film in the Eye Liner Trilogy.

Eye Liner from Joanna Priestley on Vimeo.


Out of Shape (2011)

Sixty seconds of abstract animation inspired by the paintings of Joan Miró and the palette of Piet Mondrian.


Missed Aches (2009)

A witty commentary on ignorance, idiocy and our over-reliance on spell check. Written and narrated by Taylor Mali, who led teams to four championships in the National Poetry Slam, this dirty ditty animates text and plays up phonetics with hilarious results.


Streetcar Named Perspire (2007)

A wild roller coaster journey through the mood swings, hot flashes and brain fog of one of life’s great transitions.