As Art, Why Doesn’t Animation Challenge Our Beliefs?

Animation is making leaps and bounds as I write this. So far, 2016 is turning out to be a great year for variety in terms of choice and styles. Yet in relative terms, we’re still well within the comfort zone. Animation art is entertaining us, and amazing us, but are we being challenged?

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Some Finds at Artscape

Artscape is a huge, free art exhibition/performance festival here in Baltimore every summer and for many different reasons, this was the first year we were able to make it down and explore things. Despite the weather being very Irish (i.e. wet, oh so wet) there was lots of great (if overpriced) art on display. While there was not a lot of animation-related things for sale, I did stumble across the booth of David Burton, whose creations feature lots of toys the likes of which are most likely to be found in Happy Meals™. Here’s  a smattering of what he makes.

When Art, Pop Culture and Copyright Collide

Art, pop culture and copyright are three things I have an interest in, and when they all collide, we get awesome things like this piece by Aled Lewis which is currently for sale on Gallery 1988’s website.

A Felix Fine Art Find!

It’s always fun to keep any eye out for animation-related stuff while you’re away from home and Key west, Florida is no exception. I’m down here for a wedding this weekend (not Pride week) and besides visiting the drinking hole of Ernest Hemingway and buying a new hat, there’s tons of art galleries all along Duval Street. One of which, The Pop Culture Vault, contained something I wasn’t aware existed:

Apparently it’s by Don Oriolo, son of Otto Messmer’s assistant, Joe Oriolo who creates them and he seems to be quite prolific.

Sadly they’re a wee bit above my price range but they’re nonetheless a pretty neat, unexepcted find 🙂

 

 

TONIGHT IN NYC: It’s The 2011 ASIFA-East Animation Art Auction!

Apologies for the late notice, but while this is an event that I normally attend and willingly part with my hard earned cash in support of a good cause, I unfortunately have a final presentation in class tonight. Seeing as a good chunk of my final grade (and therefore the tuition I coughed up for it) depends on it, I won’t be making the trek to New York this time.

However, that should not preclude you in the slightest from swinging by the SVA on 23rd St (between 2nd and 3rd) at 7pm and heading on up to the ampitheatre and parting with your hard earned cash in exchange for some great animation art.

For a full list of the lots up for bid as well as pictures of everything, visit the aNYmator blog.

ASIFA-East Animation Art Auction
7:00 pm SVA Amphitheatre
209 E. 23rd Street, 3rd Floor

“Why don’t more animators use tumblr?” Is The Wrong Question to Ask

 Via: The Rauch Bros. Tumblelog

Fred Seibert has opined that more animators should be using Tumblr as a platform for their art. I do not disagree with this statement. In fact, I agree, the Tumblr platform has a lot of features to offer and has proven itself to be a great tool to build a community around your work in addition to discovering new stuff.

However, Fred’s post misses the mark when it comes to its reasoning.

Yes, Tumblr is a social platform, but so is any blog (so long as certain features are engaged).  Fred points out the Adventure Time tumblelog as an example, stating that:

 Very few of the posts get fewer than hundreds of notes (you can see the number at the bottom of each post.) Regular readers will recall that very, very, very few of our posts got even one comment on our old blogs.

This is true, except that comments and “notes” are mutually exclusive. One is a tool to provide feedback or opinion on a post, the other is simply a statistic on how people have responded to it (either likes or reblogs).

Comments are a truer measure of social interaction in that they indicate that people have thoughts or feelings on the post, not merely that they liked it or were suitably enthralled enough to post it on their tumblelog too.

This is not to diss the notes system. Indeed, you can implement Disqus commenting in Tumblr, just as Frederator have done, if you so desire and get the benefit of both worlds. I just don’t see the point in proclaiming the benefit of one over the other.

What Fred is right about is the ease at which Tumblr allows you to share content. One or two clicks and you’re done. Compare that to even twitter, where you often have to click, login, edit the tweet and click again to post. That can get tiresome, especially if you like to post multiple times a day.

A post Mark Coatney proves to be the inspiration for Fred’s post, and although it also focuses on numbers, it lists three things that are essential to building a community on Tumblr:

  • Be Engaging: Have interesting things to say, and don’t talk simply about yourself. Respond to other Tumblr users, ask questions, etc. Remember that Tumblr is a visual medium (more than half of the 25 million things posted on Tumblr each day are pictures), so look for compelling images to tell your story whenever possible.
  • Be Social: Tumblr is above all a social sharing platform. Use this space to show off your best stuff, encourage others to share it with their followers, reblog posts from other Tumblrs that you think your followers will enjoy.
  • Be Yourself: No publication has to fundamentally change who they are to connect with people on Tumblr. The audience responds most to a personal, peer-to-peer connection with you; embrace that.

These are all great points, except that that they are applicable to any platform, not exclusively to Tumblr. This very blog is an example, I engage with commentators, I’m socially active through Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ and I am myself, right down to popping in a ‘u’ in places American’s find weird.

What Fred should have focused on was what he mentions in the very first paragraph:

Some young artists are using it [tumblr], but for some reason a ton of animation blogs are on Blogger, some on WordPress.

Yes, they are using Blogger and WordPress, and I dare say that the biggest mistake they make is not in choosing these platforms, but by neglecting to maintain them! I can easily say that of the 300+ artist blogs in my reader, well under 10% are updated on a regular basis. In fact, I recently went through and deleted any blog that hadn’t been updated in over a year. The numbers were depressing to say the least.

These animation bloggers can’t blame the platform for their failure, they can only blame themselves.

Instead of asking “Why aren’t more animators aren’t using Tumblr?” we should be asking “Why aren’t more animators taking blogging more seriously?”

Seven Superb Title Cards From My Life as a Teenage Robot

The other day, I cam across the blog of Steve Joseph Holt, a rather talented artist whose worked on some of your favourite cartoons from the last decade or so. Long story short, on his portfolio, I noticed that he was responsible for a couple of title cards for My Life as a Teenage Robot.

So of course, I couldn’t resist going back and looking through them all and I once again realised how awesome they really are. I mean, fair play to Fred for insisting upon them on all of his shows, and then following up with an entire book devoted to them.

Anyway, here’s 7 of the best from the entire series’ run.

 

The Return of Raggedy Android - note the Hubley reference
Daydream Believer - surely a reference to The Monkees

The Wonderful World of Wizzly – perhaps a reference to…oh, we all know who it is.

Teen Team Time
Dancing with my Shell - Don't you just love the subtle use of the clef symbols?
Girl of Steal - A great play on a familiar title
No Harmony With Melody - There's only one great reference, but it's done twice.

Wallace & Gromit Are Hosting An Animation Art Auction!

Coming by way of Tomm Moore, the Grand Appeal charity ‘run’ by Wallace and Grommit is holding an animation art auction through the 10th of November. All proceeds go to the Grand Appeal and the Bristol Children’s Hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to provide comforts and facilities for patients and their families in the Hospital which the charity fundraises for.

The bidding is being held on eBay so those of us abroad can bid too. The artwork donated is impressive and represents a wide swath of the animation landscape, as well as a script for Father Ted, which must have snuck in there when no-one was looking.

Below are just some of the pieces, there are many more that I don’t have the space to post. Please visit the eBay auction for all details. Happy bidding!

Wallace & Grommit Signed Watercolour
Danger Mouse original cel

 

Original watercolour by Tomm Moore of Aisling from the Secret of Kells
Original Morph sketch

And my personal favourite:

Pencil sketch by Richard Williams of Roger & Jessica Rabbit

What DreamWorks Artists Do After Dark: The Documentary

You may remember hearing a while back about a project called Moonshine. It’s basically a book of art collected from various DreamWorks employees that they created outside work hours.

Well, as a follow-up to the excellent book comes this short documentary which looks at the artists themselves and how they create their work and what inspires them.

Directed by Alexis Wanneroy & Christophe Lautrette it’s well worth 6 minutes of your time today.

(UPDATED) Some Handsome Cartoon Hedcuts To Start Your Day

Via: Randy Glass on Behance

Found via Reddit, here’s four hedcuts of the style that is popular with the Wall Street Journal. Created by Randy Glass, they all appear to be the real deal. In other words, there’s no digital explanation behind them so the skill is so much easier to appreciate.

Interestingly enough, even though these are animated characters that would traditionally lack the same level of details as a real person would, these portraits are given the same level of detail as a person and, in a way, almost makes them seem almost as real.

Either way, be sure to click through for the full series of celebrities as well as these four animated characters who managed to make it in there.

UPDATE: The man himself was kind enough to write in and has forwarded two more images that are currently not up on his Behance site; Remy from Ratatouille and Mr. Incredible. Thanks Randy!