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.
Via: Cartoon Brew
While reading Amid’s post about the upcoming exhibition of so-called street art at MOCA in Los Angeles, a thought occurred to me. Is there a reason why there is animation in it at all?
What I mean is that, why on earth would such street artists choose to use animated characters? As Amid points out, some have graduated to using their own characters, but the majority will use well known characters (from perhaps some big, evil corporation).
If you think about it, it seems somewhat obvious. We do seem to have a strong attachment to the cartoons and cartoon characters from our youth. Is it a subconscious yearning for the old days? I’m not sure (but feel free to post your theories in the comments below).
I would argue that characters do tend to work their way into your life as a child and they do tend to reside in the ol’ noggin for the rest of your life. They also represent a certain time that you may like to hold dear or perhaps you identified with the character as a youngster. For artists like the ones in the exhibition, cartoon characters can represent a whole host of things, either from their own personal lives or from their work. Either way, they seem to find artistic value in the characters far outside their original purpose.
What is clear is that cartoon characters pop up all over the place. I’ve seen plenty of 18 wheelers with a Tinkerbell sticker on them! I’ve also seen plenty of old folks wearing a Disney sweater or baseball cap. They are surely well outside the target demographic for such things, right? But is it really that surprising to see such things?
All of this is a sign of the relationship that animated characters form with ourselves. If you need any proof, just think about the last time you saw someone some Saved by the Bell merchandise. Such stuff is pretty hard to come by. Now compare it with all the Ren & Stimpy stuff out there. I think the answer speaks for itself.