I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays

Have a safe and happy holiday break to all. See you all in the new year and here's wishing for a grander one.

Above sketches were done on the paper table cover of Basta Pasta in New York. Enrico and I spent the day walking around town and by evening we were ready for a grand dinner. This was one of Enrico's favorite restaurants and we decided to doodle some mementos.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Party directly after da big night

At the MOMA. All dressed up and the night is young. Hmmm...

Par-tay! The museum event seem to end too soon for most. Everyone apparently schlepped back to the hotel (Ladies in heels had a time with this. No cabs?! Oh, the pain). Once there the party at the two rooms by the lobby gathered momentum and, well, exploded. Loud music, packed dance floor and dance moves only reserved for wrap parties are in full swing. A well deserved celebration was underway.

An animation man for all seasons. Bud Luckey, THE classiest act going.

The party commences at the dance floor.

Those who don't dance or wanted to take a breather went to "The Library" to sit and gab

Is that Ralph Eggleston holding court? And there's Robin Cooper. We worked on a short together. Awesome lady. Oh, you guys can't see anything in my crappy photo. Sorry.

Ricky Nierva shows off wallet photos of his and Angie's new baby, Olivia. So cute! Steve "Eagle eye" Purcell inspects the photos as Angus Maclane does a calm Bondian profile.

I'm not the party animal I used to be. I leave way earlier than anybody else. The view from the Hudson's uniquely lit escalator. That's the dance floor above it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Big Night

That Pixar kid did good. There are an estimated four hundred people from Pixar who made the trip to New York to be part of this night. The 22 degree weather, holiday shopping season foot and car traffic didn't slow any of them down from converging at the Moma on West 53rd in their heavy coats and scarves. This is the culmination of months of preparation from all parties involved from either coast in mounting the exhibit and the celebration of two decades of steady, nose to the the grindstone work by artisans from a little company that could from San Francisco.

Pixar's resident "shy guy" spoke at the premiere of Pixar's latest animated short screening to start things off. As creative founding father, John Lasseter speaks in the very voice that Pixar has come to stand for for all audiences: The man is one of us. "As I stood here tonight I realize that, man, we're at the Moma! Along with all these great artists of our modern age...We better hurry before they realize they made a big mistake." That personal check of reality and ability to have fun with it anyway is just the way Pixar culture is. It seems to say that we don't know how this is done but we can have a great time anyway. And for a company that hadn't done animated features when it started it has become the only company who seem to have inherited the magic of making them from now on.

Walking the exhibit halls of giant canvasses of Jasper Johns and the like, Pixar's exhibit is a clear shift in tone and intent. Done mostly on paper the pieces are all the hand made work that nobody sees in person. Chalk, charcoal, watercolor, pen and pencil. Even the digital illustrations are about the creator's hand doing the heavy lifting. And where most galleries would require the contemplative mein when you face the artwork, here people break into wide open smiles and pointing--the charm of the animation artist's character's at work.

People huddle close around the zoetrope. Inspired by the Studio Ghibli zoetrope in its ode to hand drawn animation museum in Mitaka.

The piece de resistance is on the upper floor in a dark room. There will be two offerings there to inspire awe but the little marvel is a in half round glass case. The lights will go up to reveal the cast of Toy Story in multiples of themselves. In-betweens. But they are little sculptures, figurines in acting poses! From Woody and Buzz to the green aliens, the plastic army men and even Wheezy the toy penguin. All frozen in place, arrayed in merry-go-round fashion. The turn table spins to blurr them into ghosts then...the strobe lights hit. Voila! They come alive and move right before your very eyes. Woody rides Bullseye as it prances around rodeo style, Buzz stands tall on a ball and bounces as the army men perpetually parachutes from their plastic tub. You can stare at this for hours but the lights go down on this show as the ones behind you go up to set your sights on the wide wall. Soon that very wall becomes a screen and you are treated to wondrous fly through of the world of preproduction art, literally through the pastel layers and conte crayon sketches. An after effects wonder created by Andy Jimenez and sound design by Gary Rydstrom. Mezmerizing, confirming once again how the artist's hand at work in actual media begins the magic.

Turn around quick! Soaring through artwork in the Artscape presentation. Makes you wanna draw, is all I'm saying. That shaggy sillo second from the right is of world famous Andrew Stanton, just in case you were wonderin'.

You may notice that there is a severe shortage of photos from inside the museum itself. I took pictures but the whole point is to see it for yourself. And there's no sense in diluting that impact. The exhibit will start today, December 14 and will last till February 6 next year. You got time. I'm going back sometime this week to see it with a regular audience so I can people watch.

Next post...The Party after.


Pixar at the Moma

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

New York trip: Second post

Man it's cold! But I love it. More people are here. Had decadent dessert at midnight here at the hotel with the Docter's and Paulie's, then sauntered over to the Kubrick bar (the 2001 floor, see) and had some drinks with da rest of the folks. It's now five-thirty in the afternoon of the premiere and I've got to put on the monkey suit. Must hurry. Here's some pics from last night.

Monday, December 12, 2005

New York Trip

Number nine...number nine...number nine...

Having a blast already. All throughout the trip we were seeing people from work. From checking in at the Oakland airport to the streets of New York. A mass migration from SF of Pixar folk were dotting the landscape. I think we just took over this town. It' so much fun seeing all the familiar faces from work in a different setting. We are given to enthusiastic yelling, waving and clumping together.

The flight was quite pleasant and though I thought I'd catch up on some correspondence I ended up snoozing and watching the inflight t.v. shows. Hey man, Discovery channel. We had to circle the airport because it was crowded down there with planes. A later flight with people from work had the unfortunate fate of being re-routed to Syracuse to refuel because they ran out of fuel.

Tess' sister Layza and cousin, Roman, picked us up at the airport and we promptly went to our favorite chinese buffett (read, stuff yerself silly with so much food), East Manor in Elmhurst. Afterwards it was off to find the Hudson. They weren't kidding that it's hard to locate 'cause the hotel does not have a sign outside. A hip hotel on 58th street whose rooms could give Japan hotels a run for their money for smallest rooms. Spare and austere, a layout man's right angle heaven.

Afterwards it was down to the bar where all the travelers gathered for some libation. A grand time all around. Andy "The Menace" Jimenez has been at the Moma getting his part of the gallery set up since last Wednesday and he can't wait for all of us to see what's in there. Well, we can't wait to see it.

I'll post more later.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Oh,Mama! I'm at the Moma!

Ralph Eggleston loveliness in New York City! I'm going!

Twenty Years Old. Not able to drink legally but already served the world on notice. Not much about Pixar's history and films isn't overwhelmingly endearing, pioneering and gosh darned successful. This is along the same lines.

In keeping with the Museum’s long tradition of presenting animation, this is the most extensive gallery exhibition that MoMA has ever devoted to the genre. Featuring over 500 works of original art on loan for the first time from Pixar Animation Studios, the show includes paintings, concept art, sculptures, and an array of digital installations. These works reveal the intricate, hands-on processes behind Pixar’s computer-generated films—including Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, and numerous shorts.

I'm going to New York next week to see this and celebrate this milestone. Apparently I have pieces in the exhibit but I've no idea which ones they are (shudder). But if can have a shrieking animation/art geek moment...OH..MY...LORD! I'm at the MOMA!

'Nuff said. Will report back once I get back in a week.

Pixar at the MOMA


ADDENDUM: I got a copy of the catalog of the show and to my dismay no art of mine in them pages. When I got the invite to go on the company dime it was clear that it was because I had work chosen for the show. So, just in case, I offer this clarification: I think I have work at the MOMA. Maybe the catalog does not list the entire show's pieces. Or perhaps it is because of my personal involvement in a number of projects that got me on the list. Or maybe I should check that catalog again.

No matter, it's not lost on me that I'm just a lucky schmoe to be be part of the whole magilla in whatever capacity or even by virtue of mere proximity. It's all good.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Maverix auction time again!

Derek Thompson's plethora o' monsters. No slow button on this guy. I personally want one but will have to wait for the next round.

"Dude, I thought I had that one locked!" I heard this a lot at the end of last year. I was saying it myself. Arrgh! This event is a lot of fun and I'm really sorry I'm going to miss it this year. I donated a little sketch to the venture and hope that a lot of youse guys can make it. Brings out the competitive bear inside these timid artists and art lovers who normally would gently pace through a gallery just whispering, careful not to intrude on other's experiential space. Not here. All's fair in art acquisition. All auction strategies are welcome--you know, running down the clock to put in your winning bid, outright intimidation, shouting matches...Like I said, fun. Mingling and talking about artwork all in the service of a good cause makes for a well-rounded evening, I say. So, gear up and bring yer checkbook.

Pencil and watercolor. A line from a Steely Dan song written at the bottom of the artwork (not shown). What? did you say contest? Name the song a Paper Biscuit character is named after.


Doors open at 7:00pm for drinks and the start of the silent auction;
all bidding ends promptly at 10:00pm.

If you have questions or are interested in donating art, money or time to this event, please call MAVERIX STUDIOS (415) 522-1717 for more information.

Maverix blog for more info.

UPDATE: They put up a page of the submitted works so far. Take a gander at these.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"It's not a tuba!"

Say the headline above in beefcake cali guv'nah style. Taken in San Diego last summer. David making his best Gil Elvgren pin-up take.

The mystery person (see post below) is none other than, David Silverman of Simpson's and Monster's Inc. fame. Thanks for playing. Just a little goofing around. David and I worked on a feature together long ago and we still get a hoot out of quoting line readings from reels that never made the light of day (Ted Mathot has them all in his head much clearer, really). We were briefly in the same studio again up here before more adventures called him away.

He is an accomplished musician, plays the sousaphone in the rag-tag band that forms together for impromptu performances when he comes up to visit. Sousa what now?

Sousaphone entry in Wikipedia.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Animation folk in the neighborhood

My neighborhood to be exact. I love this photo because I couldn't have staged it better if I tried. And the cast, what can I say? The awesome celebs are Lou Romano and Don Shank talking to each other (man, like long lost brothers every day. I mean, they work four paces from each other), leaning into the shot is the awesome Pete Sohn --we can't love this guy enough and an all around talent of note. And a contest of sorts could be made here. Who can name the individual who's head (cut off) is joyfully peering at us from the bottom of the frame. Write in your guesses.

Shank Pile
Lou Romano