Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday Inspiration

Sunday Inspiration is a weekly occurence inspired by Michel Dudok de Wit's masterclass where he talked about creativity. Going to a museum is one of the things you can do to get those creative synapses a firing. Today's sermon is about that big spider outside of the National Gallery in Ottawa. I don't know how many people that attended the OIAF this year took the time to find out about the sculpture that makes you feel like Frodo when standing beneath it. The title of the piece is Maman and the artist is Louis Bourgois. You can get an audio guide of the sculpture and some cool video clips here. Louis Bourgois has had an artistic career spanning decades and has been at the front of every major art movement of the 20th century. She deals with themes of identity, sexuality, memory and death in her work. A fascinating artist not just on her art but on the life she has led and the creative influence she has exerted on the world of art.
I know it can be hard to penetrate the academic 'artspeak' world but just remember that you can take as much as you want out of it. Both use the same visual language when creating the art. So whether, it is the subject matter,the materials used or the effect that the piece has, all of them can be used as springboards for your own creation. As for example, imagine the giant bronze spider coming alive out of its cement moorings only to find itself being attacked by the War Memorial statues near by. Or one could explore the theme of fear and vulnerability. My point is there are limitless possibilities. This modern day concept of the artist going into seclusion to create some magnum opus is a fallacy! The more things you expose yourself to the less likely you will be trying to re-invent the wheel. I hope this helps as I know the digital tools take alot of time away from students let alone trying to find one's creative voice.
Done with the diatribe.
For a daily dose of inspiration go to YourDailyArt.

What Seas What Shores

This is in collaberation with Sunday Inspiration. Music is a constant source of ideas for me and a local band that gives me sonic inspiration is What Seas What Shores! They will kill you! I mean it they will wait until you are asleep and they will eat your soul. That's my soul above after I heard them play on friday. Great set, Kev!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema

There has been a small but cool animation festival happening in Waterloo for the past five years now.
The WFAC05
(November 17-20th) is showing some of the hottest feature films playing the festival circuit this year.
The one I am looking forward to seeing is
Mind Game by Yuasa Masaaki. Here is a good write up about it here.
They will also be showing The District! which has won at both Annecy and Ottawa this year, Frank and Wendy, Strings, Alosha Popovich I Tugarin Zmey and Terkel i Knibe.
So get out of that specimen jar, stretch the rigor mortis out, go to Waterloo and stimulate the ocular nerves with visual shock therapy!

Friday, October 28, 2005

sketch friday

concept sketch for a film idea that has been burning a hole in my head for awhile now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Animation Blast off with issue numero nuovo!

Amid Amidi of CartoonBrew is finally coming out with the long awaited Animation Blast #9. Preview it here! An animation magazine written by animators about animators, unlike some other mags that deal with the business/merchandising of the industry. Order it now and fill that gap in the cranial void with inspirational goodness.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Machine Molle

Here is another french studio producing cool videos. Check out Machine Molle's video for Air's, Electronic Performers and the excellent Don't Give Hate a Chance for Jamiroquai!! 'Nuff said...have to go burn the midnight oil.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Quadrivium of advanced comix studies

Just a friendly reminder to all who might find themselves in Toronto this weekend. Seth, Chris Ware, Charles Burns and Chip Kidd will be at the International Festival of Authors on Saturday. Check out the info at the Beguiling site. Can't say enough about these guys except that if you don't know who they are then you are missing out on the making of comix history.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Baerbel Neubauer

Dare I say experimental animation without people reaching for the utensil drawer for a sharpened spoon. I know there was a plethora of ocular damage incurred at the OIAF this year when Barbara Doser's , Even Odd Even was shown. But I digress, I am still writing my thoughts on the subject and know that I am preaching to the uncoverted. However, I did notice that Baerbel Neubauer's work was shown at the Egyptian theatre in LA yesterday sponsored by the Goethe Institut. I just want to expose a flicker of her work to enlarged 'playstation' pupils to induce some sort of cultural seizure. I will not go on some raving diatribe just yet but if you want to stop complaining about the juvenile quagmire that animation is in please check her work out.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


The Sleep of my reason produces animated monsters being interviewed about their view on art, technology and education. My insomnia paid off last night as I stumbled upon a genie of the lamp and it's mine, all mine, mine,mine, mine! But I figured nobody reads my blog (except kevin and katie) so it is safe to post this diamond in the rough. Daniel Durning interviews sound and visual artists relating to computer animation on WPS1 MOMA online art radio. The Art and Technology program features interviews with artists working on the cutting egde of computer animation to educational issues of how to teach CG in this rapidly changing field. There is an extensive backlog of programs that you can listen to so go and enjoy this Sunday inpiration of art, animation and technology. Quickly, before I delete this blog and deny that it ever happened.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A book you can climb into...

Literally! This magnificent book reprints the beautifully restored sunday pages of Winsor McCay's, Little Nemo in Slumberland. It's size is a small island, 26 inches long by 16 inches wide, where you can curl up and marvel at the superb draughtsmanship and surreal adventures that make up the world of Little Nemo. Openning it up you are enveloped by the rich restored colours.
Here is an interview with Peter Maresca who published and edited the book. Also, the NewYork Times wrote a good column on it.
I saw this book at the Beguiling and was too intimidated by it. The price rings in at $160 cdn or $120 american. I also heard that the print run would exceed 5000 copies. So with fork truck in hand go out and buy a copy to prop up beside or as a base for the X-mas tree! Item wish numero duo for those concerned to know!!

Guinness 'noitulove'

Cool guinness ad highlighted by Amid at the Brew. Not only is a pint of the good ol' black stoof close to me heart but seeing a gobsmacking ad for it makes me like it even more. Done by the good folks at Framestore CFC. Slainte!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Iron Artist

Douglas Gordon's Play Dead:Real Time Nicolas Deveaux's, 7 Tonnes 2

The Iron Artist! Today's ingredient--elephant!! France vs. Scotland.
When I saw Nicolas Deveaux's work 7 Tonnes 2 CG short I immediately thought of Douglas Gordon's installation piece Play Dead: Real Time. Not just because the main subject is an elephant but because both of them deal the absurd. Deveaux's work starts out with an elephant, beautifully rendered, lumbering in a gymnasium. As he labouriously walks he encounters a trampoline and then proceeds to get on it. The next shot shows the behemoth bouncing up and down. The absurdity of the sitution leads to more as the elephant breaks into a gymnastic routine twisting and contorting about in mid-air.
Douglas Gordon's installation Play Dead consists of 2 floor to ceiling screens and a small monitor where the viewer watched a film loop of an elephant walking in a gallery space playing dead and then getting back up. The camera circles around the elephant as she walks, sits and inhabits the space. The absurdity comes in the guise of the pachyderm playing dead for the audience and then ever so awkwardly and clumsily has to rock back and forth in order to get back up. Of course there are more levels in this piece for various reasons but the main one is the connection between the real elephant and the viewer. Why I juxtaposed these works together is to show how an idea and theme is executed out whether for an gallery or a short film. I hope it is also a good staging point to expose art and animation on the same level without sounding either too low or high brow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Edmond Baudoin

One of France's most celebrated comic artists is Edmond Baudoin. He has had very limited exposure in North America although he was at the first Toronto Comic Arts Festival in 2003. The above photo is the sketch that he drew for me. Amazing brushwork! Total fearlessness of ink on paper. He spoke no english and I very little french but through gestures he conveyed to me his philosophy of drawing. He started off with the fine details of the face and stated that this was the foundation of the drawing. But then he charged his brush with black liquid chaos and with a 'Big Bang' the universe was created. He announced that that thick bold brush stroke was 'La Vie'!! Life with a capital 'L'!! It sounds a bit cheesy as I write this down but it was inspiring.

He has now come out with a new book called Crazyman. It is his take on the Superhero comic and more specifically on Superman. Here is a good write up about it via the Comics Reporter. So hopefully with every publishing company jumping on the graphic novel bandwagon now someone will translate it for us and bring it out here. You can see a translated piece of his work in the Rosetta 2 anthology and the Warburger Anthology. Needless to say that Edmond Baudoin is one of the top comic artists today and should be heralded in that elite pantheon of sequential art.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Character Design 101

Why the fug didn't I think of this!! A great blog started up interviewing artists about character design. Characterdesignblog has interviews with Harald Siepermann, Stephen Silver, Robin Joseph and James Robertson to name a few. Take pen and paper in hand and slather on the sun tan lotion so that you can bask in the warmth of a hand drawn sun.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Arthur de Pins

I was just going through some old sites that I haven't visited in awhile and ran across Arthur de Pins. La Revolutions des Crabes is a nice animated piece that I saw last year. The look of the film belies the curvaceous femmes and caricature illustrations that Arthur draws. You can view all of his animation projects on the site but I still like the crabby one zee most. Viva la Revolution!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday Inspiration from the Pulpit of Ed

I heard a good interview with Art Spiegelman today on Definately Not Opera on CBCradio. He was asked what makes a good comic and he said (I paraphrase), 'like in all art, it is the unique voice or vision of the artist'. With that I thought I would share with you artists outside of the animation/comix scene to give inpiration and bleed the veins that connect the body of creativity. So open up the hymn book to page one and sing praise of the work of Ed Pien. Ed is inspired by Eastern and Western mythologies and mixes the two together into a disturbing vision of man and monsters. Like medieval beastiaries done in Sumi-e, Ed creates worlds that Bosch and Goya could easily inhabit. He uses ink on transluscent paper to create floor to ceiling installation pieces, like The Garden of Earthly Delights, for the viewer to explore and interact with. Images of the grotesque and mundane are illuminated and float through an organic world of colour and light. Ed pushes the traditional medium (ink on paper) not only in scale but in the use of video projection and audio recordings he creates an entire immersive world.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Prelude to Eden

I know this is old news for some but Michel Gagne has his Prelude to Eden on-line for everyone to view!!! Also, his Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppet show was picked up by Nickelodeon and he will be showing the episodes on his site as of NOVEMBER 1st!! Break out that giant sharpie and mark it on the big ol' cranium calender so that you see it in the ceiling mirror every morning!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ottawa Part Pas de Deux de Deux

The other masterclass that the NFB so graciously sponsored was film maker Paul Bush. This was a relaxed friday morning coffee in hand chat with Paul as he discussed his background,technique and philosophy about animation. The best thing that I like about Paul as an animator is his continual fearlessness of techniques to get across his ideas. Scratch film, pixellation, time-lapsed and film collage are the various tools he employs to challenge and further push animation as an art form. Paul's film were shown and then he would talk about the ideas, techniques and if we were lucky funny asides about the film. His Comedy was his first film and he used the scratch film technique etching away the dark negative on the film of Gustave Dore's engravings. You can see the same technique used in his bigger budget film, The Albatross.
In his talk he compared animation to just being a 3 hand card trick fooling the eye and that all one has to do is set up the idea and the viewer fills in the gaps. You can see this in his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde where two people play the lead role as he continually changes between actors. The changes happen quick or slow according to mood, tempo and drama. We, as the viewer are fully aware of the film trick but get captivated by it at the same time. Keep the idea simple he stressed, as long as there is something happening for the viewer that is important.
My favorite film that was shown in the retrospective of his work was Bugsby Berkeley's tribute to Mae West. It is a four panelled split screen of the male penis from arousal to not using time-lapsed photography. It is hilarious and uncomfortable at the same time. Paul Bush's films are where boundaries are pushed and life lessons are dealt in this 3 hand card trick that we are happily fooled by ever time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Sorry about the gap in postings but I have been having technical difficulties with my server and uploading images to the blog. But Ward Jenkins is doing a bang up job at reviewing the Ottawa Festival. I was going to give my 2 cents on Rosto's Jona/Tomberry but Ward sums it up nicely.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Ottawa Part Deux

Well this is only a part of part 2 because there is just so much to write about. I saw every program in the festival and I am a little overwhelmed at where to start. So I thought I would just start with my favorites and randomly work my way through the competitions.
Competition 2 was one that I had no expectations for. The only short that I was looking forward to was Rosto's, Jona/Tomberry. I also like Rick Raxlen's stuff but I was very disappointed with, Academy Stripper. It felt like Rude Roll (which I like) all over again. Maybe I was expecting too much? But, the one short that took me by surprise was ICHTHYS by Marek Skrobecki!! This stop motion puppet piece is like some zen monk who sneeks up and smacks you with the stick of enlightenment. No dialogue just human gestures observed with microscopic precision to convey this allegory of patience. It is a simple story of a man that has to overcome the long arrival of his (last) supper. Marek manages to capture the subtle human condition of anticipation to the utter breakdown of psyche into madness. The stop motion animation is breathe taking and while researching about this film I found out that Marek uses life sized puppets (for this film one metre high) which might explain how he captures the nuance of every movement. The story itself embodies a medieval parable like the ones you would find in the Decameron or The Canterbury Tales. The kind where faith and prudence are the moral lessons and in the end we are all just worms ready to be eaten.
Watch the trailers that are on-line and hopefully this one will make onto a DVD.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Merde! Typocrat is publishing 676 Apparitions of Killoffer in English! This free-form continuous narrative of orgy-filled anarchy will knock yer pants off. With that we can join Killoffer in full throttle debauchery as we puke, shit and stumble across the black (and white) panel-less floor. A mix of Chris Cunningham drinking with Brueghel and Dante as the author himself plays all the characters on a violent downward spiral through the various levels of hell. Blood, spit, urine stained morality tale that is a bound polyptych of boschian goodness. This is NOT available until December but I am sure the good people at the Beguiling will carry it when it comes out.


I have only one word for Frank Espinosa's ROCKETO...brilliant! What a tour de force in brush work and colour. A dynamic explosion of visual tnt on every page. Here is an interview with Frank here! Rocketo has definately rejuvenated me out of this post-Ottawa rut that I find myself in.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Top of my X-mas wish list

I read this Calvin and Hobbes today and thought of the CBC workers who have to ratify their contract (only it should be hockey Calvin is playing, eh Alex)Also, today marks the day when the complete Calvin and Hobbes collection is available to our grimy little claws. Here is an interview I found with Bill Watterson. You can add this one to the Far Side collection you already have!

Michael Dudok de Wit

Ottawa Highlights Part One:
Michael Dudok de Wit is an amazing animator with great attention to light and shadow, space and atmosphere. I was fortunate to make it to the masterclass he gave sponsored by the NFB (your tax dollars in use, not just for 'experimental wank crap' that I heard during the festival but I'll get to that later). Michael started off by showing alot of his commercial work and talked about the industry and some technical pointers. Clarity of story or purpose was one of the things he talked about and the importance of having the viewer enter the world that you create, i.e. not just having drawings that talk. Another point he made was to get feedback from friends and colleagues to make sure that what you put down actually shows what you intended. These are simple things but I think they are easily forgotten. The best part of the talk was when he talked about the 'C', that would be if JJ Villard was doing a talk...Creativity is the ellusive subject that Michael talked about. This was a humbling topic as he talked about how everyone of us gets in a rut or falls into the self-effacing mode of questioning ourselves. Working through it by taking time to be outdoors or going to a gallery or even listening to some music helps. He didn't say whether porn and cheetos was one of those pick me ups but whatever gets you going. Also, one is surprised what one can draw under pressure or just focussing on it. Unfortunately, the talk went over the time allotment but Maral was nice enough to let us see Michael's beautiful film, Father and Daughter, but the talk quickly ended. It would be nice to know how the classes in Montreal and Toronto went as there was probably more time. Anyway, I apologize to Michael for butchering his words and I thank him for letting me watch him lecture on the twitching cadavre of visual expression.
(Tip-if you buy Animation Unlimited, Father and Daughter is on the dvd that is included with the book.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

What's Living in my Enlarged Brain Cavity

A long overdue episode of What's Living in my Enlarged Brain Cavity!
Here are the spoils that I picked up last week: (starting in the lower right going counter-clockwise) Leviathan by Jens Harder, Unsung Heroes of Animation by Chris Robinson, The Sharpest Point: animation at the end of cinema by Chris Gehman and Steve Reinke, Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware, Non no.5 anthology, Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown, Pyonyang by Guy DeLisle and the one you can only see the corner of is Rocketo by Frank Espinosa!!! So needless to say I have alot of good sitting out on the deck with strong coffee reading to do.

Ottawa Photos

To see more click here! ***UPDATE*** all of my pictures are now up.