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.

Monday, February 23, 2009

WALL-e wins Oscar. Andrew brings it home

"Out there, Barnaby!" Andrew Stanton comes home brandishing a golden statue. These small traditions we have are what I know I'd remember fondly when I'm in the old folks home for aged and decrepit animators. The company is a family and one of our movies went out and did good. That means we all did.

I worked on the first act of Wall-e a long time ago before I went to be part of UP. I had a short stint in Andrew's push to get the reels on its feet. Pete Sohn, Nate Stanton and myself went in and drew/designed and made up the moments with Andrew about Wall-e's time on earth (Eve's arrival was my section and I did forays into the second act in the sewers). It was a blast. Maybe it was because I was never meant to go the whole distance. Maybe because I got to go in there with blue sky and try anything. I could do that till the cows came home. Come on, robots!!!

My thanks to Andrew Stanton and Jim Morris who then were the only other folks with us conspiring and dreaming to accelerate a notoriously glacial process.

Congratulations and good work to all involved.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Totoro Forest Project: Built by volunteers

That's Noelle, front row, second from left. Zoe, same row, framing me, Dice and Enrico. Our bookends, keeping us from toppling over.

Noelle & Zoe. The plain truth of the matter is that that event at Pixar would not have happened without these ladies. Noelle had been part of many of our other auctions and galleries so we don't hesitate to ask. Actually, we barely get a proposition out and she's already signing up. Zoe had impressed us throughout the whole process that if there was something to ask about the process it would be a safe bet that she'd know the answer. And all that was donated time and energy. Mind you they both have day jobs and lives outside of this project.

After the event we all took time to recuperate and some of us deserve it more than others. Zoe and Noelle went back to their lives, as did all the volunteers. We've tried but we've yet to get together again and mark the event for the monumental effort of faith and goodwill it was. It might point to how everyone did this to contribute to the cause and what it means--with no need to focus on their part in it. I figure that has a lot to do with it.

The tireless crew who put that show on the Pixar Atrium floor.

This past Saturday we finished the second half of packaging the artwork from the auction in preparation for their rightful new owners to send for them. It marks, effectively, the end of the entire arc of these amazing works of art. From artists donating them to the wonderful people who bid and won these beauties and finally the trip to their respective new caretakers.

The last look at these amazing works of art before their final journey. Still more donated time. Dice was sick but there he was ready with supplies and lunch!

To the volunteers: We thank you with the most heartfelt of emotions for all your time, energy and heart. It would not have happened without your part in it. These things are not easy to stage, we hoped you all would show up and that you did. For that a part of a forest somewhere outside of Tokyo will remain untouched and you should know that it's because of your contribution to this project.

That very night after the event we struck the show. Cleaned up after, took down the exhibit and re-wrapped the entire lot and stowed them. All that after being dead tired from putting on the show. The very next day, there's Noelle and Zoe dealing with the details of what we had wrought. We can't love or thank these ladies enough.

Be well and hope to see you all again soon.

Noelle Page
Zoe Boxer

For more details of what the project has accomplished please head on to the Totoro Forest Blog.

Photo credits: Carlos Baena, Boon Heng Pang and yours truly.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Darwin day!

Two days ahead of Valentine, I highlight this as a red-letter day instead.

No Chocolates or roses necessary. I don't celebrate Valentine's day but instead make it a point to appreciate the union I have with my wife over many days of the year. Beats having to claw my way into a restaurant after battling for parking for a meal that could be enjoyed away from this lemming-like imperative. Not holding it against any of youse who do celebrate this cherubic love assassin's day. And chocolate? Fuggeddabowdit.

On matters Darwin. Born 200 years ago in 1809, February 12. Interesting article about Darwin's reaction to seeing slavery up close during his travels on the Beagle.

This itinerary of far-flung places is well-known. What is less generally realised is that the voyage had multiple objectives. Darwin sailed as gentleman companion to the prickly Captain Robert FitzRoy, whose first aim was to return three Alakaluf and Yahgan aboriginals ("Fuegians" to Darwin, as they came from Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago of islands at the southernmost tip of the Americas). They had been snatched during the Beagle's previous voyage and Christianised as an experiment. Darwin lived for months with these so-called civilised "savages" and came to understand first-hand how, as he put it, the savage-to-civilised distance was no more than that between wild and domestic animals.

Still more significantly, the voyage exposed Darwin to what few English gentlemen of his day would ever see—the full barbarity of slavery in the raw.

Pertinent stuff in these times when race relations are enjoying an emblematic period with our new president. Also heady times for science as well. I'll close with the ending paragraph to the article above.

To celebrate historical figures we have first to understand them. In 2009, 200 years after his birth, it is time to switch the spotlight onto the younger Darwin—the man whose belief in human brotherhood transmuted into an evolutionary theory of common descent. Rather than being morally subversive, as his Christian critics claim, Darwin's achievement was morally grounded. Rather than being a dispassionate practice, his science had a humanitarian drive. It made brothers and sisters not only of all human races, but of all life.

Live long and prosper.

And if that don't beat all, it's also Lincoln's birthday.

Prospect article: Darwin the Abolitionist

Abraham Lincoln
Charles Darwin

Friday, February 06, 2009

Three Trees at Galerie Arludik

Tadahiro Uesugi, myself and Enrico Casarosa at Galerie Arludik the night of our show. New and recent work will be on exhibit from January 27 to March 7, 2009.

Bonjour! I was happy to be back in Paris last week but especially so because we have a big show that reunites Enrico, Tadahiro and myself for a new showing of our latest work. Our hosts were the beauteous Diane Launier and her spouse businessman/adventurer Jean Jacques Launier, owners of Galerie Arludik.

A visit to Album, a bande dessinée treasure trove in Saint Germain, reveals a poster for our show. Neat!

J.J.(I believe is a nick name Lisa McLain of ACME archives christened him with and stuck)describes their mission...nay, crusade! is to present bande dessinée, comic book art, production art and animation art to be on par with fine art of traditional galleries. The gallery is on the Île de la Cité (the island cradle of the French civilization no less) and home to a host of those aforementioned traditional galleries, thus striking at the heart of that argument.

Tadahiro and Kuro had been in Paris a few days ahead of us and we proceeded to merge our schedules post haste. I don't know about you but the social event that rules my world tends to be coffee, espresso to be exact. But having the pleasure of being with good friends surrounded by the astounding cultural lushness of Paris makes for a particularly special visit.

The show itself was a blast. Diane had warned us that several hundred people had been emailing the gallery with questions and intentions of attending. "We might have more than four hundred people tonight." It ended up being around six hundred, with people spilling out into the street outside.

We met so many of the luminaries of bande dessinée fame. Nicholas de Crécy, Juanjo Guarnido , Sébastien Cosset of Kerascoet (Marie Pommepuy was not feeling well and sent her regrets) , Arthur de Pins... the list goes on.

I was especially happy to be reunited with Bibo Bergeron who looks the same as the days when we were trying to shoe horn a rockin'south american musical number into a sagging section of the El Dorado reel. So fun to talk to him again. His movie, A monster in Paris looks amazing! He showed me a clip of the unjustly beleaguered production. I wish him all the best.

It was an amazing show. Our heartfelt thanks to Diane and Jean Jacques for taking good care of us and orchestrating this grand show. We hope to be invited back soon and maybe even stay longer. But hold on, they weren't done with us yet.

Next: Angoulême!

Galerie Arludik

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