This Sculpture Contains $5,000,000 in Illegally Downloaded Files

Ever so slightly off-topic but still very relevant is this “sculpture” by Manuel Palou.

Via: Rhizome

Yes, it appears to be your bog-standard 1 terabyte Western Digital MyBook, except that is not what makes it worth so much. It is the content stored on it that is so “valuable”.

While some over on Reddit were questioning its artistic merits (of which there are very few), this “art” should nonetheless serve as a bit of a reminder that content should not be valued at how much you wish to sell it for but how much the customer is willing to pay for it. Just because something is sold at a price does not give it “value”.

The picture also serves as a bit of an eye-opener as to how much content people can store at home these days. Way back when, you could maybe spend $10,000 on a nice record collection but you’d have to give up most of your wall space, or your basement. Now I can store the entire published works of fiction from 2003 to 2011 on my bookshelf and still have more than enough space left for much much more.

Content creators (animators included) MUST keep this in mind when posting stuff online. The internet immediately increases the supply of your product to near infinity, and as any economics professor will tell you, as the supply of a product approached infinity, the price people are willing to pay approaches zero. Embrace this by giving people a reason to give you money. Remember, anything that’s scarce is valuable, anything that’s physical is scarce.

Yes, Animation Can Make For Fine Art

There are plenty of people who collect animation artifacts. I would be one of them if only I had the money (Bob Cowan does, however, because he’s retired. His collection is enormous in its breadth and scope and well worth a peek)

So if you can’t collect actual bits and bobs from animated films, what can you collect? Why original art of course!

Via Richard Mullins on flickr

The above is another piece in my [miniscule] collection. It’s by Richard Mullins who has done an entire series of similar pieces based on cartoon characters which he has titles Whatever Cartoons. The entire set is up on flickr and can be perused at your leisure.

The likes of deviantArt is stuffed to the gills with original art from people who may or may not have the necessary skills. However, there are plenty of professional and weekend artists who definitely do have the skills, in addition of course, to any animators out there who happen to dabble in art as a hobby on the side.

Animation in itself is art, so it should come as no surprise that animation lends itself so well to a wide variety of artistic styles. Indeed, Banksy is famous (infamous?) for using cartoon characters in his creations. In fact, Amid over at Cartoon Brew dedicated an entire post to the animated characters at MoCA’s “Art in the Streets” exhibition. That’s not to say that ‘street art’ is fine art, just that art can take make forms and that animation lends itself well to any of them.

There is literally tons of great animation art out there, so why not consider supporting an artist by buying some original pieces?

EDIT: I am aware that Cookie Monster isn’t animated, however the remainder of the set is, and I consider the Muppets to be practically animated characters for all intents and purposes anyway.

Sometimes I Raid my Tumblelog For Inspiration…

…and instead I become engrossed in the stuff I find there, even from years ago. Feel free to follow me if you’re on Tumblr too. 🙂

Here’s a few of the wilder examples of animation stuff I rediscovered.

Mickey contemplating recent developments in the world of medicine
Homer shilling my favourite shoes
Woody hitting the moonshine
The Big Bad Wolf from the Three Little Bops
The real-life Wacky Races

Recommnded Reading: Dresden Codak’s Tumblelog

It’s been a while since I’ve done a website recommendation and in order to get a bit of structure back into this blog, it’s time to start doing them again.

Today, it is the turn of Dredan Codak a.k.a talented maestro, Aaron Diaz.

If you’re not already familiar with Dresden Codak, you probably should get yourself over to the website and do some catching up. It’s a superb (web)comic with a diverse cast of characters and a great look/design.

However, that is not what I’m recommending today, well it is, but the actual site is slightly different. It’s actually the Dresden Codak tumblelog, “Indistinguishable From Magic“.

Plenty of artists use Tumblr as more of an auxiliary blog for posting scraps, development work, personal stuff, etc. Others, like the too-talented-for-words Dan Meth actually use it as the base of their entire website!

Either way, many people appreciate the flexibility that Tumblr provides in terms of design and use as well as the following capabilities and reblogging features that help grow and maintain a devoted audience.

IFM is no exception to that rule but it is the content that sets itself apart from the rest. Far more than an auxiliary blog, Aaron has turned it into a veritable gold mine of art, advice, opinion and lessons.

For example, his excellent post on character’s figures (see image above) contains the kind of honest advice that is kinda hard to come across these days. One you read it, you begin to look at characters in a whole new light.

Aaron also uses the tumblelog to interact with people who ask various questions on the comic, art and drawing in general. All are answered with the upfront honesty that defines a creator who appreciates the devotion of his fans.

In addition to all of the above, what kind of artist would Aaron be if he didn’t post some cool sketches as well?

Sketch of Janelle Monae

If you’re an artist, comic or otherwise, following Indistinguishable From Magic is a must. You simply cannot miss out on all that Aaron is posting.

It’s Comic and Cartoon Time This Weekend in NYC!

Via: MoCCA

Starting tomorrow at 9am and continuing through till Sunday evening, the Lexington Ave Armory in New York City will pay host to the annual festival of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, better known as MoCCA.

I’ve never been before, but from listening (and eavesdropping) on twitter, it seems like its going to be a blast. The exhibitor list has been posted contains many, many artists whose work I am dying to see along with plenty of folks I’ve met before and am looking forward to seeing again. Besides that, there will be literally a ton of art on display and for sale.

I will be there on the Saturday (tomorrow) rambling about chatting to people. If you are about the festival yourself and you happen to see me, come up and say hi. I’ll be the tall fella with glasses wearing the brown cap. Don’t worry, I don’t bite (much) 😛

5 Fundamental Differences Between Fantasia and Fantasia 2000

Via: Collider

It has been well noted how one of the greatest animated film ever made managed to spawn a sequel many, many years later in the form of Fantasia 2000. What has not been well noted are the fundamental differences between that film and the original.

1. The Opening Sequence

Not to denounce the choice of music (Beethoven’s 5th is a favourite of mine) but to focus instead on the animation. In the original, it was animation meant to represent the music visually, with plenty of clouds and streams of light.

The sequel instead took the same visual concept and turned it into a story.

Such a move has the effect of distracting the user from the music and the visuals as they try to determine who the characters are, why they are flying about and why are they being attacked. At the end of the day they are a distraction that draws the viewer away from the attempt to link artistically the music and and the animation.

2. The Colours

The original was full of bright, vivid colours that literally jumped off the screen. In Fantasia 2000, the Pines of Rome segment has by far some of the dullest and flattest colours I have ever seen. At one point I was straining to make out the whales from the background.

While some segments have undoubtedly vivid colours (the yo-yoing flamingos comes to mind), on the whole, the sequel contains much more muted colours and palettes than the original. It is, as a result, less exciting, less eye-popping and ultimately just a wee bit less interesting.

Plenty of wacky cartoons on TV manage to look extremely vivid, Fantasia 2000 simply lacks a similarly broad palette.

3. The Use of Multiple Hosts

The original had a single host, Deems Taylor, which had a purpose as that film was intended to be a roadshow where audiences of the day would have expected a single host for the evening. The sequel uses multiple hosts.

This has the effect of making the film seem like a seminar or presentation. A single host would have unified the viewing experience and provided some continuity between segments. With multiple persons and multiple personalities filling the space, there is a tendency for the film to lurch at each scene as each presenter has a different style.

4. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Yes, it is in both films and is perhaps the most recogniseable segment of the original and that is the difference. Mikey’s appearance in the original had a reason (he needed a new vehicle in the years rolling up to the Second World War) whereas it’s inclusion in the sequel appears to be an attempt to provide some validity to that film’s very existence.

What irked me more than anything though, is that the soundtrack appeared to be re-recorded, at least to my ears, although I was listening to it through some old speakers. Besides the dubious sound, they also re-recorded Mickey’s voice for his interaction with Igor Stravinksy. Unforgiveable perhaps, but ultimately a poor choice for a supposedly ‘new’ film.

Another aspect of the sequence’s inclusion is that it steals the thunder of Donald Duck, who is given his own sequence to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance and must content himself to remain in the shadow of his friend instead of in the limelight where he should be.

5. The Conclusion

The original end sequence was very much a statement on the constant battle between good and evil and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. It is exceedingly spiritual on many levels and has been noted for the many profound effects it has on viewers.

The sequel is also in a natural setting and on a mountain, but instead it focuses more on the battle between natural forces in their fight to control the landscape. As admirable as this is, it does allow for a certain amount of disconnect from the audience. It is about nature, not about us, and I can’t help but feel that a certain amount of the meaning is lost in that gap.

Three Solid Steps To Encouraging A Kid To Take Up Animation

Via The Animator’s Survival Kit.com

Animation is kind of a funny industry in that a vast majority of its ultimate customers have no idea about the nuts and bolts of the products or even the industry behind it. OK, granted, that could be true about any industry, for instance, do you know how roads are designed? Perhaps, but could you tell me how to lay out a road profile, complete with PVC, PVT, K, SSD, HSD and e values? You could! Oh I see, you were pulling my leg, well, shame on me.

One difference is that adults can generally go and read about how to do it but the real difference is that adults have a choice about whether they go and read about it. Kids (for the most part) do not care.

This morning as I sat down to write this post, it occurred to me that the path to my current career was pretty much laid out in advance, school-wise at least. I mean, civil engineering isn’t a spectacularly complex career; it’s not like we’re competing with the medical or law colleges for the best minds in the nation so planning for a career as one was fairly simple.

Which got me thinking, how would you encourage a child that seems hell-bent on doing animation? It’s a bit of a tricky one because plenty of kids love animation but only a select few can understand it and reproduce it.

The first way would be to find the signs. Do they enjoy watching cartoons? Do they doodle all the time? Do they make rudimentary comics? Have they created a universe for their comic/characters? These are all traits of a creative mind at work. I distinctly remember the kids at school who were always drawing or doodling. During the intensely competitive newsletter market in 5th class, there were one or two comics floating around trying to lighten the atmosphere a bit.

Now that you’ve noticed the talent, how do you go about building the foundation for a career? It can vary, but most animators I am aware of (and have talked to) strongly hint that their parents had a fairly large bearing in their early days. This ranges from buying the necessary supplies to, in Brad Bird’s case, driving two and a half hours to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in a hokey-poke cinema in Oregon. So the answer would seem to be to encourage creativity and to ensure that the kid has plenty or opportunities to experience the artform.

The third and I suppose final way would be to ensure that the kid receives some sort of formal education in the field. I mean, it is one thing to have natural talent but more often than not, such a skill can run wild and some instruction can go a long way to channeling that energy into something truly creative. There are plenty of good schools out there, both expensive and not so expensive. What matters is that the child at least has the option of going to one.

The ultimate point of this post is that you sometimes hear the stories out there of how parents almost admonish a kid for drawing or doodling in the false belief that they could never earn a living from animation or the creative arts. Such a mindset is defeatist and such discouragement is a sign of ignorance on the part of the parent.

I kinda feel like I’m preaching to the choir on this one, but as a non-animator, this is the kind of stuff I see animators complaining about or regaling in stories about themselves or people they knew. There is no excuse for it so hopefully this post will serve as a bit of a reminder to everyone that we should be encouraging kids to take up the skills if they have an interest in it.

What Do Animators Get Up To Outside Of Work?

You mean besides hitting the bars? Hahaha, no seriously, animators can do much more than just animate. In fact, animators are often fully fledged artists in their own right! That’s where Too Art 4 TV comes in, it’s an exhibition of artwork by a collection of some very talented animators in the New York area and beyond.

This will be the show’s 5th year and it continues to challenge the perception that animators can only animate. I attended the 3rd exhibit and wrote about it at the time, being somewhat pleasantly surprised at the range and scope of the work on display.

I admit it was kinda fun to learn that animators often have differing tastes when it comes to their personal and professional lives. Of course, that can be true for anyone in the creative field, although the fact that an animator could make awesome robots from odds and ends in his spare time had not entered my mind at all.

Too Art 4 TV 5 begins this Friday (25th of March) at 6:30pm at Erebuni in Brooklyn. The opening evening features a whos who af folks from the animation world, so if you can make it, I highly encourage you to do so.

The exhibition runs until April 23rd. Full details (including an exhibitors list and the gallery’s address) can be found on the website.

Would You Like To Win A Bunch of Incredible Original Artwork?

Who wouldn’t, right?

Well, Australia’s favourite son (the real one), Elliot Cowan is currently running a competition based on his multiple award winning all-conquering Boxhead and Roundhead shorts.

To win, all you need to do is answer a ridiculously simple question posted on the competition site before the April 5th deadline.

Now, I need to start clearing some space on the walls for the impending addition to my art collection 😛

Weekly Weblink: The Mega-Awesome Kt Shy

As I’ve mentioned before, I follow a lot of blogs of various kinds, but my favourite ones are undoubtedly the illustration and sktech ones. The reason is simple, they always contain tons of great pictures and the very nature of them means they are updated relatively frequently with fantastic new works.

One of my very favourite illustration/sketch blogs belongs to the one and only Kt Shy the erstwhile alias of Canadian artist, Katie Shanahan on the interwebs. Self-described on twitter as a “storyboard artist by day and comic making nut-bar by night!”. She does have over 2,400 followers for a reason you know!

Besides the hilarious Shrub Monkey’s comic that Katie helps draw, she also posts tons of sketches and illustrations that cover a very broad range of the artistic universe, from anime to day to day life. What sets them apart is the almost manic sense of humour that permeates them all (or, well, most of them anyway).

Kt updates regularly and her posts are always a joy to read (or see). 🙂

PS. hit up the links page of her blog for a list of plenty of other exceptionally talented folks.

 

Would You Eat At A Place Like This? I Sure Would!

Tip of the hat to Pat Smith over at Scribble Junkies for alerting me to the really cool artist that is Timba.

When you think about it though, Hanna-Barbera did a really good job with the marketing for the Flintstones. In fact, you could argue that after more than 50 years, the very existence of products like Fruity Pebbles, vitamins and so forth is testament to the longevity of the show.

The art is awesome though, isn’t it? A part of me now really wishes there was a burger joint called Fast Freds…