Friday, June 13, 2008


Web posters, they're like disk jockeys, fetishizing their "stuff". Instead of "listen to this fab Dino, Desi and Billy B-Side!", you read "look at this cool new secret thing I know about!"

In this new tradition of sharing stuff, I'd like to inaugurate this little diary by sharing some work from one of my few animation idols, the late Fred Mogubgub.

We don't hang much art on the walls of the studio -mostly books, and shelves of production materials. One day when we move into a bigger space we'll have gallery upon gallery of modern masters.

This one of the few pieces we have hanging.

"Day of the F.B.I." published in The East Village Other, dated November 1970.

Swastikas, Tropicana girls, cats, American flags, eyeballs of all shapes and sizes.

Mogubgub's illustration is similar to his films. There's the feeling that the frame can't contain all the imagery. There's the loose 1970s draughtsmanship.

Visitors generally gravitate towards this piece. Maybe they feel like they're getting stared down.

At home, there's a different stare down.

This lady was painted by Mogubgub in the the late 1970s. She's one of a series of "Spirit Paintings" he did. These are portraits of visitations he experienced.

This woman spirit is lovely and mysterious (and about 4 feet tall). I've had the fortune to see several more at Fred Jr.'s apartment, they're a diverse and interesting crowd. (Fred, if you come across this, get in touch.)

The paintings are different from the films -equally intricate, but somehow calmer -the difference between this illustration and the painting.

Some of his painting moves into color play and shape dynamics -relating to the animation work he did on R. O. Blechman's "L'Histoire du Soldat". This film was my introduction to Mogubgub's work. I had worked very closely with R. O. at The Ink Tank in the late 90's and early Aughts, he had the deepest affection and admiration for Freddie. Something he's passed on to me.

I hope you enjoy these two little gifts of sharing to the internet universe. We've posted a few of his films on youtube. They're in our account somewheres:

If anyone would like to share their experiences with Freddie, please post them or e-mail me. I have a small collection of personal anecdotes. By the same token if anyone has any questions, throw 'em at me -I'm no expert but I can sound convincing.

Well, I hope this diary works O. K. We'll be posting all sorts of stuff -works in progress, final projects, failed proposals, rambling theories and philosophies, and most importantly COOL STUFF!

And I haven't told Brian here at the studio that I'm doing this. If he doesn't kill me, and if we figure out how, maybe he and other folks here will post too.



Oscar Grillo said...

Such is life, Ricardo, such is life.

George Griffin said...

Fred was one of the first animators I tried to work for (to actually learn how to do it). I found his studio on 45th St, wallpapered with mylar; he offered me his joint while he threaded up my 16mm Kodachrome original pixilations of traffic patterns; upon exhaling, he said "cool stuff" and offered ten bucks to get a workprint.

At that moment of learning (in the late 60s when "cool" was more cult than common) I felt conspiratorially validated.

Jump cut to Blechman' "Soldat" and I am acting as producer to Fred's mad genius animation wizard, whose stunning Constructivist abstractions perfectly define Stravinsky's exuberant optimism. Just imagine if he had gotten that million that his 4 story high cartoon mural babe was asking for, to make a feature (a concept that was about 35 years ahead of the trend).

But wait, there's more: "Enter Hamlet" (so radical it doesn't even "animate") and that film in which actual products are stop-motion marching to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (so radical that we had to wait until President Bush's post 9/11 exhortations to "go out and shop" to understand what our culture hath wrought).

Richard, keep up the provo.

Liesje Kraai said...

I always wondered about that painting. It's neat to hear that it's a spirit... I kind of thought that's what she was.

Great blog... almost as good as Murray's.

David B. Levy said...

welcome to the blogosphere, ROC!
Now, keep goin'
: D

Anonymous said...

I have the pleasure of owning most of the spirit collection. They were left to me by the late Fred Jr. along with many other paintings.

roconnor said...

Don't tease me like that, anonymous!

They are fantastic paintings. I'd love to visit them again.

Fred Jr's. cousin emailed recently asking about them. I very glad the work has been passed on.

Anonymous said...

My favorite painting is very similiar to your "goodnight Harry Houdini" it's called "window picture on the wall". I've had it hanging on my wall for 15 years now, i absolutely love it.
My favorite spirit picture is #12 , ill have to send u pictures of them .