Lynn Tomlinson is known for her clay on glass process, in which a thin layer of plasticine clay is spread thinly on a flat surface, then moved, frame by frame, to create a painterly look. Her current creative work explores environmental themes, imagining how non-humans might view humanity’s social and environmental impact, using clay-on-glass and other tactile animation methods. She has received many grants and fellowships for her work, including Independent Artist Fellowships in Media Arts from the states of Maryland, Florida, and Pennsylvania. In the early 1990s, she created a series of short animated spots for children’s Public Television, Sesame Street, and MTV. Her short films have screened at festivals including Hiroshima, Annecy, Ottawa, Anima Mundi, Tricky Women, Ajyal Youth Film Festival, and TIFF Kids.
The Elephant’s Song (2018), the story of Old Bet, the true story of first circus elephant in America, has screened in over thirty festivals around the globe, from Hollywood to Hiroshima, Ann Arbor to Athens, and received the Global Insights Stellar Award at the Black Maria Film Festival, Best Music at Tofuzi Animation Festival, and Best Music, Best Independent Film, and the Women in Animation Award at the 2019 ASIFA East festival, among many other awards. The Elephant’s Song was included in the ASIFA selections for 2019’s International Animation Day.
The Ballad of Holland Island House (2014), the story of the last house on a sinking island in the Chesapeake Bay, received first prize in Greenpeace’s Postcards from Climate Change competition and has screened in three dozen festivals. It received several Best Animation awards and a nomination for the Student Academy Award. The film was released theatrically in The Animation Show of Shows and is part of the Museum of Modern Art in New York’s education collection. This film was included in the 2016 ASIFA’s International Animation Day and received the ASIFA-SOUTH RYO (USA) Audience Choice Award.
Tomlinson also created a segment in the viral collaborative animation Fired Up! based on a speech by Barak Obama, called the Best Artists Collaboration of 2017. Other recent projects include Medusa: The Immortal Jellyfish, a multimedia performance piece, and Kendra’s Bay, an animated digital puppet controlled by a touch-screen interface that appeared in performances at Light City Baltimore 2016 and was Best New Media work in 2016 at the University Film and Video Association.
As a curator, in 2019 Lynn Tomlinson curated Sister Cities Animated, a screening of animated short films from Baltimore’s International Sister Cities. In 2015, Tomlinson curated an exhibition and wrote an exhibition catalog entitled Cross-Pollinated, Hybrid Art Abuzz, featuring non-screen-based work by media artists and animators, at Towson University’s Center for the Arts Gallery in Towson, Maryland. Her scholarly research interests include expanded and performance animation, women as mentors in animation, and independent animators in the United States. Her writing on animation has been published in Animation Journal; Animation Practice, Process, and Production;Con a De Animación and HyperRhiz: New Media Cultures.
Tomlinson's work has been exhibited in one-person shows at Cornell University and the University of Delaware and in group shows at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Gallery, and is in the Education Department collection of the Museum of Modern Art (New York). She has been a visiting artist at many universities including the University of Michigan, Bennington College, Tainan National University of the Arts, Pratt, Bowling Green State University, Cornell University, University of Central Florida, Sarah Lawrence, and Northern Vermont University.
Lynn Tomlinson is a professor at Towson University. She is a member of ASIFA, the Society for Animation Studies, and the University Film and Video Association. Her current creative research project is a clay on glass animated full-dome film about Monet’s Water Lilies.