Thursday, January 17, 2008

At the Archive

This is my first official blog posty thingy so I thought it would be cool to start out with my trip to the Animation Archive in Burbank. My wife graciously accepted to go because she figured I earned it having gone to many "girly" stores with her lately.
First off, I was surprised to see how small the place was. The only thing you can really see when you come in is the current displays in the front room and a few computers in front of an office with a plexiglas window. Immediately to your right you see a couple tables filled up with folders and an old animation table, later on Steve Worth told us that those tables were filled with all of the original storyboards from the first season of Ren and Stimpy and the animation table belonged to none other than Les Clark with his first original "classic" drawing of Mickey Mouse, needless to say I was pretty floored with what I saw in this humble showroom so far.

The exhibit itself is on Grim Natwick right now and I think the biggest thing I was impressed with was how friggin versatile this guy was! I mean there is one drawing of Snow White that looks like it was a clean up done with a red mechanical pencil or something, yeah... turns out it was his ROUGH drawing! And then there were really loose drawings like this

and this

that Steve explained were how he drew when he was doing more "cartoony" animation. What I quickly came to realize was how big of a genius this dude was and how little you can really know about him until you look at all of the amazing drawings up close and hear Steve's stories about them. He told us that even though he never worked for Warner Brothers his influence is all over the damn place. A far as I can tell Chuck Jones loved him and knew him from Ub Iwerks' studio.

Here is a picture below of Chucks rendition of Grim seasick on a cruise they were on and having to take a shot of whiskey to feel better.

These pictures do almost no justice to the archive. You HAVE to actually go there and see these things up close and smell the history behind them to remind yourself that THIS is the reason you love animation and want to somehow, someway be a part of it's legacy. If the showroom hasn't made you explode by that point and Steve is feeling generous you might be inclined to ask him to show you the back room where there is literally tons upon tons of boxes full of animation memorabilia to look at. I mean you can't sift through the stuff or anything like it's your Aunt Gwen's garage sale but just knowing that you are standing between mountains of artwork that we could only read about before is mind boggling.

Just do yourself a favor, go look at all the amazing artwork, listen to the stories filling the file cabinets in Steve's brain, watch restored classics that you cant find anywhere else and beg him if you have to to show you the back storage room which apparently only holds a THIRD of all the archives material.

Oh, and do Steve a favor and don't have a brain fart like I did and forget to leave a donation, but thankfully I was able to redeem myself and make one through the site:)

For anyone who reads this I will be posting my own stuff in the near future so feel free to let me know what you think or give me a quick critique if you have the time.



Erica said...

Hi baby, I had fun last night! It was fun to listen to you ask Steve all of your fancy questions... ;)
We'll go back again soon :)


JohnK said...

let me know when you finish that stimpy sculpt!