Roger Chouinard Roger Chouinard

Roger Chouinard, co-founder of the esteemed commercial animation studio Duck Soup Produckions, Inc. (rebranded to Duck in 2003), died on March 24, 2023. He was 81.

Chouinard was born on February 18, 1942, and raised in Riverside, California. After graduating from Riverside Polytechnic High School, he studied art at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (despite the last name, he was not related to the school’s founder).

Following his graduation, Chouinard worked at various studios in Los Angeles, including John Urie & Associates and Spungbuggy Works, before co-founding Duck Soup Produckions Inc. with the late Duane Crowther in 1972. For years, Duck Soup was based in Venice on Pier Ave. and Main St., and later moved to Santa Monica and again to West Los Angeles after the 1994 earthquake.

Duck Soup Produckions, Inc. logo.
Duck Soup Produckions, Inc. logo.

Besides being a principal in Duck, Chouinard worked as a designer and director on hundreds of television commercials. He and the Duck Soup staff participated in ad campaigns for global brands including Levi’s, 7Up, Nestle, Kellogg’s, Verizon, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, to name a few. Chouinard directed the Levi’s “Roundup” ad linked below. The crew working on the ad Xeroxed live-action footage onto cels and animated the clothing being herded as if it were cattle.

After hearing the news about Chouinard’s passing, long-time Duck Soup employee Carolyn Bates posted a touching tribute on Facebook:

Roger was an incredible designer/director, later sculptor. Very kind and generous. Duck Soup was an animation family I belonged to for more than 20 years… To me, Duck Soup represented a perfect animation studio of bygone days. It had great animation talent, lots of opportunities, so many fun, creative projects. This was when animated commercials had memorable characters.

The studio was a significant employer of talent in L.A. for decades, with many artists who passed through, including Corny Cole, Mel Sommers, Toby Bluth, Amby Paliwoda, Bonita Versh, Istvan Banyai, Sam Cornell, and Tom Sito. Chouinard often contributed designs and layouts, in addition to directing many of the spots. Here’s a small sample of some of the work done by Chouinard’s studio:

Over his career, Chouinard was honored with numerous recognitions including the Communication Arts Award of Excellence and several Clio Awards.

In addition to his animation work, Chouinard worked in several different forms of artistic expression from editorial illustration to writing and illustrating children’s books and creating public sculptures. His editorial illustrations were published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal, among others.

Chouinard painted as well, and his “Robot” collage paintings and sculptures have been exhibited at Mori, Hands on 3rd, and LA Artcore in Los Angeles as well as the Hakone Art Museum, Gallery EcruNoMori, and Atogoyama Art Works in Japan. A selection of his work can be seen on his personal website.

For years, Chouinard traveled every summer to Japan where he would participate in art workshops for children.

Active until the very end of his life, Chouinard was most recently working on making assemblages, sculptures, collages, and mixed-media paintings that often incorporated found objects.

Roger is survived by Mariko Chouinard, his wife of 37 years, daughter Christine (Max) Kilger (with Deanna Chouinard), daughter Nicole (Martin Hiemer) Chouinard, and son Paul Chouinard.

Pictured at top: Roger Chouinard photo via his family, ‘Car Dog’

Latest News from Cartoon Brew