In response to what Peter said, I do believe coming in from the outside can spark change. When I did Rocko, I came in to a group set in their ways, and had the optimism to shake things up. I designed a new way of production ( which is still in use today) and I don’t suppose that could have happened if I wasn’t an outsider. Animation is now again set in it’s ways, with some worn out structures in place.
But I’m also a shy introverted outsider, which others perceive as arrogance at times. I have a phobia of social situations ( which is one of the reasons I used to drink so much) and a fear of crowds ( which is why I don’t do comic cons). In fact, even though I do public speaking, I’m pretty awkward in small social settings. Some call me A-social. I prefer my drawing board or writing, to going out. I enjoy my family, but even that wigs me out at times if it’s too large and crazy.
And what about rumors of crazy behavior with anger issues. Yes, I get very passionate about the creative product. ( although the anger and craziness has greatly subsided. On Rocko, a lot of it was due to my wife committing suicide 2 months before production began). I protect my crews from corporate bullshit when I can, but even my crews think I should just go along and play the game. I can be outspoken when I feel something is wrong.
I have trouble playing games. I have no patience for it.
I’ve always been an outsider.
Never really fit in to any group. Not part of the entertainment community really. Came in as an independent animator. Even though I’ve had two shows, I’ve never fit into any group that circulates through the industry. And even though I’m making an independent film, I’m no longer part of the independent community. I’m looked at as a television guy.
Hmmmm,,, well. It’s okay. I don’t mind. Was never much of a joiner. Always kept to myself. Still do.
Say what you will about doing art exclusively for the money, but nothing of worth comes from me unless I remain true to a personal vision with as much persistence and diligence as a pitbull’s jaws locked on a mailman’s leg. I have trouble doing entertainment for the sake of entertaining. When a piece doesn’t say anything. Has nothing relatable. Is not part of me.
This gives me many headaches. And schizophrenic episodes . At times I wish I could be that. It would make my life easier. (And my wife’s). But I have to make peace with it.
I’m an independent animation film maker and artist. I’m more alternative than mainstream. There are many new young people who can pump out the stuff better than I can.
Just some thoughts in a time of inner constipation.
Leanin’ Tree Greetings has licensed my art and writing for a line of greeting cards that is scheduled for a June 2015 release to retail.
Happy Indigenous Peoples Day
I wrote about this on my Facebook page on friday, and got quite a response. But I want to start a movement ( already started in South Dakota and Seattle Washington) to replace Columbus Day ( A eurocentric archaic holiday honoring someone who enslaved and tortured the native people he found when he landed) with one honoring the first people of North America.
The native people that Columbus found when he landed were so peaceful they didn’t even own a weapon, much less no how to use one. They were quickly enslaved and tortured to mine gold for the Spaniards, and those not killed, died quickly of disease, wiping out the whole island of it’s indigenous people. This of course was the beginning of the ethnic cleansing that occurred in North America by the onslaught of Europeans into the continent. Yes, many were responsible for this sad chapter of American History, but Columbus is zeroed in on because there is an American holiday devoted to him where many enjoy a day off. Yes, there were many violent Native Americans, but I would be too if my homeland and culture were being destroyed before our eyes. I think many of us would. And there is even debate whether Columbus was the first European to land on North American soil. Many say the Vikings came first. But who cares. There were already people here.
Let’s instead honor those people who gave us the first culture of these lands, and whose ancestors perished in the name of “American Expansion”. I think that’s a better use of a holiday.
Don’t just take my word for it. Read more about it HERE.
Art and the Family Balance
As artists, we’ve all been there. Choices on behalf of our art, or to feed the family. Lucky if they both serve the same master. A challenge if they don’t.
Are we selling out if we need to feed the family? ( who was it who said, “You can’t sell out if no one is buying in”) I feel at times I’m going after fruit that I’m quite allergic to, but the universe is looking out for me. Or is it a case of the “Fox and the Grapes”. I’ve got a deep inner drive of what is right for me, but I also look the needs of my family, and think that they should’nt suffer because of my obsessive artist struggles. But maybe they want me to be happy. Hmmm , I don’t know.
I had two projects that were in play. One that brought the most money, but didn’t sit well with my soul ( and therefore maybe I didn’t put my all into it) got axed. I think my ego was bruised more than anything. Another project which is more in alignment with my values but won’t bring in the same money is still in play. I think I was gunning for it all along.
We have a saying in a group I belong to where we are thankful for what we are given, what is taken away and what we are left with.
They are building a new house just a little ways down the street. The smell of the dirt reminds me of growing up in the orchards of San Jose. They started building houses around us, and my dad would send me down to the building sites to collect nails that had fallen to the ground.
For No Good Reason
Yes, I was into Hunter S. Thompson, and the twisted drawings of Ralph Steadman. I wanted to be both. Possibly writing like Thompson and illustrating my own articles with the genius of Steadman. Unfortunately, neither did, or could come to pass.
I recently watched a great documentary on Ralph Steadman called “For No Good Reason”. Fantastic and full of stories of his warped time with HST. If you can stand Johnny Depp hovering over his shoulder chain smoking, you can actually watch the master Steadman producing his iconic splattered masterpieces before your eyes. There’s a bit of animation in it as well.
I know you are saying, “Joe, stop watching documentaries and finish your damn film”. Well every now and then I need some inspiration, and a break. But it’s showing it’s fleshy side and becoming quite crisp. I LIKE IT.
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 . . .