The Help the Hodges charity auction, which we wrote about last December, is still continuing on eBay. As explained earlier, the money raised will support animator Tim Hodge whose son’s car was struck by a train last August. His son, Matthew, remains in a coma today. There are plenty of primo pieces including a lot of production and pre-production artwork from animated projects as well as illustration art, toys and books. New items are being posted to eBay regularly, and full item descriptions can be found on HelptheHodges.com.
My pal, Ray Favata, is the subject of a lengthy profile in this week’s Post-Star paper. He started his career at Tempo Productions, one of the early ‘cartoon modern’ studios that was later shuttered because of the blacklist. He went on to design commercials at Academy Pictures, John Sutherland Productions, and Deitch-era Terrytoons (where he boarded an unproduced sequel to Flebus), before starting a commercial studio with Bill Tytla, and then launching Ray Favata Productions. Since then, he’s worked on everything imaginable from projects with Frank Zappa to the TV series Doug. More of his work can be seen on the Cartoon Modern blog.
Here’s an episode of “Billy Jo Jive” that Favata made for Sesame Street:
As far as CG spots for salsa go, this one directed by Nicholas Weigel at Laika offers some impressive art direction. An in-depth interview with Weigel and production credits can be found at Motionographer. For a more immersive version of the ad, watch it on Vimeo where it takes over the screen.
Lou Scheimer tells all . . . like about the time he produced something crappy, or that other time he produced something crappy, or those few decades where he had an impressive streak of producing lots and lots of crap in a row. There’s also an uplifting personal story about the time he vowed to produce something decent, but then realized it was more important to stay true to himself and produce crap.
That’s a clip from Joe Murray’s Frog in a Suit, a new short film that doubles as a pilot. Here’s the set-up:
Peete Moss has just moved to Croakville ( a town full of toads) with his family. Croakville is a town on the fast track, with Industrialist Harvey Croak running everyone crazy. Peete Moss tries to fit in, sports a suit, and tries to “run with the bulls”. In this clip, he has a run in with a local coffee shop, and offends the love of his life, Lilly Patt, who is the local school teacher.
Ronald Searle with Walt Disney. Click for bigger version
Happy birthday to Ronald Searle, one of the true legends of 20th (and now 21st) century cartooning and illustration. His artwork is the first thing that greets visitors to my pad, which should give some clue as to how highly I revere his work. In addition to his print work, he’s worked on numerous animation projects throughout his career including Energetically Yours and Dick Deadeye, and has indirectly been responsible for the look of countless other works of animation, most notably Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. My pal Matt Jones has been posting lots of birthday celebration news on the Ronald Searle blog.
Here’s a new interview with Searle on the occasion of his birthday:
I like the simple but direct graphic concept that Stéphanie Cabdevila employs in this video for Mary’s Dream. She produced it at Paris-based Metronomic. If it’s not already clear from this video and the front page of her website, Cabdevila’s work has a playfully twisted visual sensibility. It’s also on display in this video for Claire Diterzi’s “La Vieille Chanteuse”.
GKIDS was aided by a “superfan,” Jamie Bolio, an animator who had fallen in love with the film at Edinburgh. The company essentially enabled her to be a citizen publicist, allowing her to post on “The Secret of Kells” Facebook page and giving her 200 DVDs to distribute to the Los Angeles cartooning industry.
Also, if you’ve seen the film and want to understand all of its historical references and settings, I can recommend no finer article than this in-depth analysis by Robert Tan posted on Roger Ebert’s blog.
John Canemaker (far left) with John Kricfalusi, Frank Gladstone and Glen Keane
Finally! Our friend, the esteemed animation historian/filmmaker/teacher John Canemaker has started a regular monthly blog column for Print magazine. He says that the blog will take “a wide-ranging look at many and varied artistic influences on animation, including comic art and CGI, games, book illustration, fine art, classic films, literature, and performance art,” and will explore everything “from Giotto to Johnny Gruelle, Elaine Stritch to Snow White, with the same personal perspective I bring to my teaching, lectures, and books.”
In his first post, Canemaker expresses his appreciation for the comic Bone and chats with Jeff Smith about his forthcoming animated adaptation of Bone. My only suggestion is that Print offers a direct link to his blog that always links to the latest article and Canemaker’s archives, otherwise it’ll be difficult to link to his blog or keep up with his posts.
Call me immature, but the combination of drawings and voices makes me laugh. It’s animated by Rob Bohn, and voiced by Bohn and Nate Milton. Bohn and Milton, both recent graduates of SVA, are part of the Brooklyn-based collective Amigo Unit which has numerous other short animation experiments on Vimeo.
This homage to Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is one of the nicest cartoon tattoos I’ve ever seen. A larger version of the pic above can be found HERE. The artist Holly Azzara has a post on her blog about the process of creating the tattoo. I’d like to see Disney’s legal team try to get rid of this example of “copyright infringement.”
Sanjay Patel’s Ramayana: Divine Loophole is a retelling of the classic Hindu myth with the addition of cheerfully stylized cartoon graphics that reflect the colorful spirit of Indian culture. The graphics are so overwhelming that reading it almost seems secondary; I’ve looked at the book plenty in the past few weeks but haven’t read past the intro yet.
Sanjay, who works at Pixar by day, has previously dabbled with Hindu culture in The Little Book of Hindu Deities. There’s another animation connection too: he was inspired to illustrate the story after watching Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues, which is also based on the tale. The book, published by my pals at Chronicle Books, is available for just under $20 at Amazon.com.
The Getty Conservation Institute and Disney’s Animation Research Library (ARL) division are partnering to study why the plastic in certain cels deteriorates more quickly than others and to find ways of slowing down the deterioration process. The study is expected to take three years to complete. Like the Tim Burton exhibit currently at MoMA, this is another encouraging example of animation artwork receiving serious consideration from an art institute. According to the LA Times which broke the story:
The Getty said the initial phase of research will involve an assessment of the best methods for the identification of the actual plastics used in the cels, and for monitoring the condition of cels made with cellulose nitrate and acetate. Scientists at the Getty will also examine the physical and thermal properties of the plastics. The new collaboration is part of the Getty’s “Preservation of Plastics” project that was initiated to study signs of deterioration in plastic objects in museum collections.
Another take-away from the article is that Disney’s ARL houses 65 million pieces of Disney art. Granted, the drawings and cels add up quickly in animation, but wow, that’s still a whole lot of artwork!