Fish Head Progress Life in Art

August 30, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray


Yes, but. . .

In a delirium. Water heater takes a shit. ( Do teenage girls think it’s the end of the world without showers? Try it and see). Run to my studio to animate some more.  Fish a toy out of the toilet or clean up two steps behind my one and half year old son. A friend has a heart attack ( he’s going to be okay,) and part of my wife’s school where she teaches burns down.

Run to the studio with a fan trying to alleviate 100 degree heat. No, my computers do not like it. “You are killing us. We will take a crap on you” they moan. Animate a pivotal scene listening to some Neil Young and Peter Gabriel.

“More Fruit” my son demands. Read my son’s favorite book for the 100th time. It’s all good.

Animate some more. The computers don’t take a crap. They show love.

More later . . .

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Life is so Daily Serious Thoughts

August 18, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray

thanksToday is an Important Day

Today is an important day.

Not because anything monumental happened today. I’m not celebrating anything out of the ordinary. In fact it’s the ordinary that I am celebrating today. The things we sometimes take for granted. I and my family have good health. We have a comfortable place to live. My bills are paid. I make a living off of my art. It’s my 10,084th day of clean and sober living. I have a wonderful marriage and amazing children.

I did some art today, and sat and read books with my one and half year old. Hugged my daughters when they came home from school.  Projects have good possibilities.

It’s a good day. An important day. An important moment.

What will tomorrow bring? Probably another important day. Many important moments.

I’m grateful for that.


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Animation Fish Head Progress Life is so Daily

July 11, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray
" Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Ice Cream!"

” Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Ice Cream!”

Racing to the End? Or Enjoying the Process?

Sometimes I think that my independent film work is the yin to the yang of television work. It’s polar opposite. Television work races to the finish. It’s all about the volume. It has it’s own fun in working as a team to put out the best possible with the canvas you are presented to work with.

But I often feel that my independent work is too much “in the moment”. I enjoy it so much that I have little interest in finishing it. That’s not good, since sharing it is part of the art of animation. The audience experiencing it ( whether good or bad) is part of the art. Of course if you love something, you will make the time to work on it as much as possible ( unless it’s time to earn some money for food), so eventually it will be finished. But someone asked me last week ” Why don’t you hire or ask some people to help?” I replied “What’s the fun in that?”  But I most likely will when I am closer to the finish of it. I’m a good ways through “Fish Head”, and it brings me tremendous joy working on it. I am definitely in the zone, or the “flow” when I’m working on it.

Very grateful for it. And I still feel it’s something and tangible even though it is still not completed. I’m also grateful for the work I receive that is for commercial purpose, for I am able to do what I love ( create characters and stories) while supporting my family. Without that work, it would be difficult to keep up the independent work. That coupled with the fact I love being a husband and a father makes for a pretty full life.

But then again, I might feel different tomorrow and find something small to be pissed about.

Hope not.

Posted in Animation, Fish Head Progress, Life is so Daily | 2 Comments

Life in Art Life is so Daily Serious Thoughts

June 7, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray


Nobody Knows….

Nobody knows the private hell I’m going through right now. Some would think me spoiled. Some would call it artistic angst. Some would call it insanity. It is of the artistic nature which leads me often to the dark nights of the soul.

On another frustration, I have sleep apnea . I sleep with a machine attached to my nose. But lately it feels like life support. Keeping me alive until I’m sucked dry. Sounds over dramatic. It tries to give me a decent nights sleep to battle with the mental condition I have during the day.

I volunteered for the artistic life. So here it is as I get older.

Posted in Life in Art, Life is so Daily, Serious Thoughts | 1 Comment

Animation Business as Unusual Filmmaker Spotlight

June 2, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray

A New Animated Trend?


I recently caught two documentaries  on netflix which also have a strange trend to them. One was on title sequence artist Pablo Ferro ( Stop Making Sense, Dr. Stranglove) and the other on the very talented artist Tomi Ungerer. Both relied heavily on animation to pace the narrative of the story. The animation used in the Tomi Ungerer animation had a lot more quality to it ( and the subject matter lending itself much more) than the Pablo Ferro animation. Granted both dealt with a highly graphic medium, but while browsing documentaries, I also noticed a Noam Chomsky documentary also illustrating points of conversation with animation.

Are the festivals or competitions bestowing more awards on partly animated documentaries? What has sparked a sudden emergence of this form of storytelling.

Granted I’m not complaining ( okay, a little because the animation for the Pablo Ferro documentary didn’t do justice to the talent the man himself had. )The Tomi Ungerer documentary was just plain brilliant, and would have still held that power without the animation. But the animation held it’s own and added another element to the storytelling that was very welcome.

I just find it quite interesting.

Going in today to the belly of the beast to start a new project. We will see what happens.

Posted in Animation, Business as Unusual, Filmmaker Spotlight | 1 Comment

Animation Life in Art

May 30, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray

The Mighty Shoe Horn 

I’ve got a one year old who teaches me that we can still lie on the grass and stare at leaves dancing on the trees. But I have not been there too much for everyone else. I’ve got three major projects going on. Juggling and fitting work in between providing bites of pear and carrot baby food. My son tests gravity on a daily basis. How fast can a berry splat on the floor at high velocity. Where my work when animating is not much different. We are both testing distance, balance and how funny can you make a noise.

No I’m not keeping up with my mail, feedback and such very well these days. I feel bad about that. But I have some opportunities work wise I need to focus on , and these days with my baby will not last long.

I know others understand.

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Animation Business as Unusual Serious Thoughts

May 19, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray


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Business as Unusual Life in Art

May 8, 201

Posted on by Joe Murray

Qualities of the Professional

When I’m talking to students, I am always discussing what sets an artist apart, and it’s usually the quality of commitment to the craft, to service, and to further growth. Just being on time with your art commissions can break you out of the pack.

The following is from Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art” and it is also reprinted in his book “Turning Pro” which I highly recommend.

Habits and qualities that the professional creative possesses that the amateur doesn’t:

1.  The professional shows up every day.

2.  The professional stays on the job all day.

3.  The professional is committed over the long haul.

4.  For the professional, the stakes are high and real.

5.  The professional is patient.

6.  The professional seeks order.

7.  The professional demystifies.

8.  The professional acts int he face of fear.

9.  The professional accepts no excuses.

10. The professional plays it as it lays.

11.  The professional is prepared.

12.  The professional does not show off.

13.  The professional dedicates himself to mastering technique.

14.  The professional does not hesitate to ask for help.

15.  The professional does not take failure or success personally.

16.  The professional does not identify with his or her instrument.

17.  The professional endures adversity.

18.  The professional self-validates.

19.  The professional reinvents herself.

20.  The professional is recognized by other professionals.


Posted in Business as Unusual, Life in Art | 4 Comments

Animation Business as Unusual Life in Art

May 5, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray


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Animation Fish Head Progress

March 31, 2014

Posted on by Joe Murray



Discipline comes into all aspects of your life.What time you wake up. When you go to sleep. What you eat. When you work on your projects. A well disciplined life leads to health and happiness. But sometimes it can feel like neglect to the “in the moment” times. What do you turn down to keep on track with your art. Your creative outlet. How do you feel afterwards?

Animation is really tough on the discipline. It’s so long term. I used to ride those bicycle double century rides, where they are so long, sometimes you just need to concentrate on the road that is directly beneath your feet.

But the decision you make now. Are you still being a good parent? A good husband?  Are you being true to yourself. If you wake up earlier can you get more work done before the baby wakes up?

To me, it feels good to be with my wife and kids, but if I”m away from my work too long I get grumpy. It needs to be acknowledged. Given a comfortable place to sit.

Work is coming along well. My animation is improving.

Posted in Animation, Fish Head Progress | 3 Comments