Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cartoon Controversy

If you look to the right, you'll see that Blogger has recently redesigned the gadgets so our favorite blogs float to the top when they are updated.

Yesterday the "Animation Pimp" was first in line. I shouldn't be surprised that "toon" people have issues with Theodore Ushev's poster for this year's Ottawa International Animation Festival, but I am.

In 1997, at The Ink Tank, we were proposing Mats Gustafson to illustrate a campaign. His rep sent his portfolio for us to present to the ad agency.

A guy like Mats Gustafson doesn't send his portfolio out for every illustration cattle call. When he does, his portfolio contains (or at least it did contain) original paintings.

Opening his portfolio, flipping through, I had never experienced anything like that looking at drawings. The work was visceral, sensual.

Theo Ushev's poster is similarly visceral.

The poster is more intellectual than sensual -but still, I think, "visceral" -from the gut. That's an unlikely combination -viscerally intellectual.

"Toon" folks complained that it doesn't say "animation". If one's view of "animation" is limited to neo-retro Hollywood styles. No, it doesn't looked like warmed over Gerald McBoing Boing or nouveaux Tex Avery.

My first reaction to the poster was that it felt like animation. There's kinetic power in the composition. This comes, in part, from the layering. The image developed over time and we approach it and understand it over time. The cubist-like face implies time, as does the shouted "OIAF".

The whole approach is sophisticated and complex, the results naive and energetic- similar to many cartoon favorites.

1 comment:

Michael Sporn said...

What nonsense! This is why animators mocked UPA back in the mid forties. They were stuck in their 19th century graphics and couldn't accept the world of Picasso, nevermind Jackson Pollock.
I'm not sure things have changed much given the look of most of the viewmaster cg features we're offered. Animators have to grow up again.