Category Archives: Quote of the Day

“Use a Bigger Brush” –A. Starr, Artist and Doctor of Neurology

“Chance favors the prepared mind,” said Arnold Starr, artist and founder of UCI’s neurology department, quoting Louis Pasteur. Last Friday, Craig Kausen, spent a few hours with A. Starr (that’s how he signs his paintings) at his home in coastal south Orange County talking about many different topics including what is “it” that people are searching for?  “Their color” the response. As well as touching on the topics of creativity, arts education today, neurology, science, and discovery, We were fortunate to have video-taped the conversation and over the next few months hope to share snippets of that conversation with our readers.

Dr. Arnold Starr, left, with Craig Kausen, chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, gifted the Center one of his paintings of a cochlea.

Dr. Arnold Starr, left, with Craig Kausen, chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, gifted the Center one of his paintings of a cochlea.

By the way, “use a bigger brush,” was Starr’s answer to “I don’t paint often because I have to think too hard about it.” Advice we’re taking to heart.

Photo by Stephen Russo.

Chuck Jones on What Makes a Comedian Funny

Many thanks to the editors at and to Patrick Allan at for sharing this terrific story and quote from Chuck Jones!

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Chuck Jones (1912-2002) was an American animator, cartoonist, and director of animated films. His most famous work consisted of numerous Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies shorts for Warner Brothers featuring characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote, and others. Jones was nominated for eight Oscars, won three, and was awarded an honorary statuette in 1996. Robin Williams called Jones “the Orson Welles of cartoons.”

Many luminaries of humor peddle varying definitions of comedy. Jones’ stance was that comedians are funny people who do funny things against a backdrop of relative normality.

“A comedian is not a person who opens a funny door — he’s the person who opens a door funny.” [Wikiquote]

Source: “The Art of Chuck Jones: John Lewell Interviews the Veteran Hollywood Animator [1982],” in Animation – Art and Industry, ed. Maureen Furniss (John Libby Publishing Ltd., 2009), 134.

From Patrick Allan writing at

Having a good sense of humor can make you more charismatic and become the type of person people like to be around. Being funny isn’t always easy, however, and legendary animator Chuck Jones believes the main ingredient is how you say or do something—not what you say or do.

Chuck Jones—most known for his animation and direction on Looney Tunes—has been nominated for eight Academy Awards and received four for his cartoon work. Needless to say, Jones—who passed away in 2002—knew comedy pretty darn well. Jones believed there was a secret to it all:

“A comedian is not a person who opens a funny door — he’s the person who opens a door funny.”

Ever tried to listen to someone repeat a stand-up comedian’s joke? It’s amazing how unfunny it can be. So as you work on your jokes and humorous conversation, remember that you don’t need to stress about material. Instead think of ways to be funny without relying on a “funny door.” Of course, you don’t want to be all jokes all the time, but a sense of humor can get you a lot farther than you think.

How Creativity Works (sometimes)

Chuck Redux stumbled across this poem by Frank O'Hara, one of mid-century America's great poets and critics, the other day, as one does when surfing the internet and over the intervening days as it has sunk in and had time to percolate, CR has come to think of it as a poem about the nature of creativity and thinks you will too.

Why I Am Not A Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES

Critical Opinions on Chuck Jones’s Work

We're in the midst of a big scanning project here, digitizing press and publicity from the past couple of decades so that we can share it with you at some point in the future as a resource on Today, a sheet of paper, a photocopy really, surfaced that had a series of comments from a variety of writers, historians, and critics about the work of Chuck Jones. They're just too wonderful not to share them with you now. 

"Chuck Jones is considered by many to be no less than a seminal figure in the development of the animated film." –Alex Ward, Washington Post

"He has made moviegoers laugh as often and as well as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. His work is among the best of American film comedy." —Jay Cocks, TIME Magazine

"Chuck Jones is a worldly-wise child who knows animation downside up and outside in and can also do a perfect imitation of a cat swimming…" –Joseph Morgenstern, Newsweek Magazine

"[With animation becoming a vital part of modern cinema] is Chuck Jones the real successor to Walt Disney? Many knowledgeable observers of the scene think so." –Dr. Richard MacCann, Professor, University of Kansas in an introduction to an evening with Chuck Jones at the University in 1967.

University of Kansas Jayhawker 1967 cropped copy

"I may get an argument from people franticallly pointing at light bulbs, but yesterday I met the greatest inventor in the world, a man far greater than Edison–and funnier–Chuck Jones…" –Herbert Lockwood, San Diego Daily Transcript

"Since Jones never made topical jokes, his stuff remains, like all good fables and only the best art, both timeless and universal." –Peter Bogdonavich, Film Director, writing in Esquire Magazine

"For more than a generation, Chuck Jones has been one of the most imaginative and accomplished film makers in the America…" –Jeff Simon, Buffalo Evening News

Ray Bradbury and Chuck Jones

With the passing of Ray Bradbury this week, it brought to mind a wonderful quote from him when he was at a birthday party celebrating Jones's 55th.  Someone asked Bradbury what he would like to be when he grew up and he replied, "I want to be 14 years old, just like Chuck Jones."

Chuck Jones (r) and Ray Bradbury enjoying each other's company.  

ACME Quicksand, the Tool Drawer, and a Spiny Frog

Chuck Jones Homage artist, Bob Elias, dropped by the other day to show us his progress on a new painting he's been working on of Road Runner with Wile E. Coyote mired in a puddle of ACME Quicksand.

"The Coyote is a history of my own frustration and war with all tools, multiplied only slightly. I can remember my wife and daughter would start to weep bitterly and seek hiding places whenever they saw me head toward the tool drawer, if only to hang a picture. I have never reached into that devilish drawer without starting a chain of errors and disasters of various but inevitable proportions. Like any other man, I would rather succeed in what I can't do than do what I have successfully done before. I have never reached into that drawer without encountering one of those spiny things you stick flowers in. We don't keep that thing in that drawer, but it is always there. I count it a good day when I get only one spine under a fingernail. I tried to get the spiny thing out of the drawer once, but found out that the last time, when it had stuck to four fingers at once and had been lifted a few inches out of its next in the resulting shriek, it had fallen on a tube of glue, puncturing the tube and affixing itslef to the drawer for all time. I have tried lackadaisicallly from time to time to remove it, and have succeeded in breaking a rattail file, a kitchen knife, three fingernails, a nailfile, a pair of manicure scissors, an eggbeater (in one of my more fanciful efforts), and a window, when the tail of the rattail file separated from the rattail file." –Chuck Jones, writing in his 1989 autobiography, "Chuck Amuck, the Life and Times of a Animated Cartoonist"

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Chuck Jones Homage artist Bob Elias on the left with this blog's author posing with a painting of quicksand that also includes Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. And yes, you're not mistaken, those are Christmas decorations hanging up above our heads. We would have taken them down sooner, but decided that we liked their resemblance to planets and outer space, so left them until just the other day, when they finally were removed and stored for another time. Time is relative, is it not?

P.S. What did this post have to do with spiny frogs? Leave a comment if you think you know why. Who knows the first person to answer correctly may win something! 

The Difference Between Truth and Falsity

We stumbled upon this note from Chuck Jones the other day as we do and thought it was worth sharing with you.  His hand-writing has been translated below for your easy reading pleasure. 

Difference Between Truth and Falsity copy
The dot makes the line.

"My little dot goes for a walk." Kandinski [sic]  (editor's note: this paraphrases a quote by artist Paul Klee, "A line is a dot that went for a walk.")

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -Mark Twain

And the difference between the right line and the almost right line is the difference between truth and falsity.

Chuck Jones Quote for the Day: Marvelous Confidence

"I have come to know Bugs so well that I no longer have to think about what he is doing in any situation. I let the part of me that is Bugs come to the surface, knowing, with regret, that I can never match his marvelous confidence."

–Chuck Jones, page 26, Stoke of Genius, A Collection of Paintings and Musings on Life, Love and Art

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Chuck Jones Quote of the Day: Sensible Rules for Marriage

"The purpose of making films is to delight. The purpose of making films is to excite. The purpose of making films is to have fun. Not a bad set of rules for a marriage-which needs some sensible rules. Do these rules apply only to your expected audience? No, they only apply to you."

–Chuck Jones, page 62, Stroke of Genius, A Collection of Paintings and Musings on Life, Love and Art

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