Art Clokey was a visionary pioneer of claymation, creating the iconic claymations Gumby and Davey & Goliath. I think every child of the 80s (and earlier) remembers the early morning claymation shows... especially the sunday Davey & Goliath. Well, apparently Clokey also made his own experimental films that played with the medium in a visual, non-narrative way. The first one below is called Mandala and is a claymation trip through the psychedelic subconcious. He wanted to show "the idea of evolving our consciousness from primordial forms to human form, and then beyond the human to the spiritual and eternal. The theme was the evolution of consciousness: we begin in the mud and we just go out and up." You can see the video below:
Clokey's claymation was born much earlier though. In the 1950s he was in school he was also working on commercials for corporations like Budweiser. He says,
"The Budweiser commercials were live action, featuring basketball, airplanes, baseball people, and so on," Art told us. "But they had a close-up of a Swiss cheese sandwich and they wanted to show the cheese disappearing with bites. The beer is good with Swiss cheese. It was actually a piece of clay that we made and we formed it to look just like a piece of Swiss cheese, to fold and so on. And we began animating bites out of it. That 's the first time we ever used it professionally - clay. Then I had a two week break between commercials. So, in my father's garage, we put a 4 x 8 piece of plywood on two saw horses and put clay on there, painted it, formed it into abstract shapes, pyramids, etc., and shot them using the kinesthetic style film principles that I was learning from [Slavko] Vorkapich"
That film became Gumbasia, 1955:
Stills via All my eyes