Tag Archives: legacy

“The Chuck Jones School of Creativity” by Jen Myers

Chuck Redux stumbled upon the blog of Jen Myers, a professional designer/writer/speaker/teacher, and a post she wrote recently titled "The Chuck Jones School of Creativity". In her post, Ms. Myers writes about how she came to understand and nurture her own creativity as she read Chuck's autobiography, "Chuck Amuck." Her perspective is one well-worth sharing and so we've posted a bit of it with a link at the end to the rest of her story on her own website. Enjoy!

School of creativity

When I was a teenager, after I had completed the mandatory girl career aspiration phase of marine biologist, I determined I wanted to grow up to be an animated cartoonist. It seemed to be the natural fruition of my interest in sketching, my attraction to the bright and frenetic and my affinity for philosophical anarchy. I studied the limited number of films I had access to, planned to go to art school and thought that, since Disney was likely out of my reach, I would shoot for a job at one of the smaller network studios.

I am not an animator now. I didn't even come close. I decided not to go to art school, with the help of stunningly nonsensical logic along the lines of "I'm not good enough" (isn't that what you go to school to fix?), and thus began an almost comical progression of educational and professional missteps, false starts, backtracks and strange, unforeseen successes. I managed to stumble into a job I love but which is very unlike the one I first anticipated.

At least, it is superficially. As a web and interface designer, I'm not drawing cartoons. But I am creating things, and creativity draws both inspiration and instruction from a variety of sources. There are still lessons I learned from cartoons that I apply to my life and work now – especially as it concerns the creator who me want to make them in the first place.

I have a theory that Chuck Jones is the most well-known and yet most overlooked creator of the twentieth century. Everyone knows what he made, but not many people know he made it. Which is a shame, because beyond his legacy as the artist/director who made some of Warner Brothers' most famous characters and short films during the 1930s-60s, he was also an astute observer of human character, a learned storyteller and one hell of a writer. Most notably, he knew how describe and explain his process of creation. This is very rare, and equally valuable to someone else learning the process. His two autobiographies/drawing manuals are treasure troves of stories, advice and guidance on how to be creative. Which, as I've discovered, you can be no matter what you do.


… my first instructor at Chouinard Art Institute, like Nicolaides at the Art Students League, greeted his beginning classes with the following grim edict: "All of you here have one hundred thousand bad drawings in you. The sooner you get rid of them, the better it will be for everyone." ¹

More than ten years after I more or less gave up on being an artist, I started drawing again. It was, in a word, demoralizing. Whatever skill I once had has most certainly fled with disuse, and I'm essentially a beginner again. There's an impulse to repeat history and declare I'm simply "not good enough" as a precursor to quitting.

But I think often about this anecdote. It's not truly grim, even if you're just starting out. In fact, when you're just starting out, it's liberating. It takes away the pressure of being judged. It's okay if you create something bad. It's okay if you create many things bad. You need to get it all out.

And it leads you into the next lesson – you need to keep doing it, over and over again, until it is good.

To continue reading, click on The Chuck Jones School of Creativity, it will open in a new window.



Remembering Chuck Jones

Chuck Jones passed away on February 22, 2002.  It doesn't seem possible that a decade has passed since then, for his spirit truly does live on, not only in each of you, but also in the hearts and minds of his three grandchildren, Valerie, Craig, and Todd.    

Craig linda valerie todd AMPAS 5.13.2010

Pictured from left: Craig Kausen, Linda Jones Clough, Valerie, and Todd Kausen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Chuck Jones's Oscar® for his 1965 short animated film, "The Dot and the Line". 



From Valerie: People love Chuck Jones. In the decade that has passed since Chuck’s death, I have found myself getting to know (and love) him even more deeply. I have the great honor of working with the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and witnessing innumerable people being inspired by Chuck’s work, his words, his philosophy, the memories of his kindness and humor.

Valerie Chuck copyright

I had the great pleasure of growing up with Chuck, being able to work with him closely for many years, to represent him in many situations over the years and be his only granddaughter. 

It would seem that when someone leaves this world that the memory might fade, become less important over time, but Chuck’s influence is growing stronger. The importance of a heartfelt, humor-filled life is now more clear than ever. I am more inspired, connected and dedicated to a creative life and to the pursuit of my own soul’s contribution to this world and I know that this is because of Chuck and what is still alive in this world that he left for us.

People love Chuck Jones. It is a love affair that never seems to end. Chuck changed lives through his work, his encouragement or just by his deep love of living. He is still changing lives, ten years after his passing. 


From Todd: Ten years seems like a long time in most situations, but for some reason, it does not feel very long when thinking back to when Chuck left us.  When I was at the new Chuck Jones Experience in Las Vegas at the Circus Circus Hotel, I was filled with a feeling of missing him. It really is a great experience whether you knew him or not.

Todd Chuck copyright

I'm so honored to be associated with him and his great legacy, albeit strictly through nepotism and certainly not through any kind of deserved place.  However, as Chuck used to say, "Even if I don't deserve it, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it!"  So on this day, I shall reflect on him, his legacy, his impact on me personally and be very grateful for the tiniest piece of his humor, wit and genius that somehow trickled into my blood and allows me to occasionally find the humor in this wacky journey of life.  Thanks for that, Chief!


From Craig: It is quite startling for me to think that it has been 10 years since my Grandfather, Chuck, passed away.  Not only do I recall that day quite vividly, just as I’m sure everyone who has had someone important to them leave, I reflect that now a fifth of my life has been without him here to be able to visit with, ask questions, and laugh with at dinners.  The realization doesn’t quite seem to fit in the scheme of time for me.  Perhaps it is that time is much more relative these days for me, or just that my memories of him within our lives are so ingrained.  But in any case, I would describe my life as being almost completely with him and just a brief moment since without him.  I’m sure that being around his persona, his name, and the memories of him recounted by so many on a regular basis bridges the gap of him not physically being here, but my own memories are as constant and as clear as they ever were. 

Chuck Craig Bike copyright

On this day, 10 years later, still my fondest memories are the personal ones; the ones where he created a special moment when I was young(er) like jumping in the pool fully clothed when I learned to swim, or teaching me how to ride my bike, or telling me how special it was when my son was born.  No matter what the memory is for me, each of them, when it includes Chuck, makes me smile.

A Special Message from Chuck Jones’ Grandson, Craig Kausen


Mark Twain, my grandfather's favorite author, said, "You can't depend
on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus."

seen people's imaginations snap back into focus during the Chuck Jones
Center's art exhibitions and creativity classes.  Age doesn't matter
when that magical moment happens.  Suddenly, the world becomes a
fascinating place!

For example, at the opening of the Center's newest exhibition, Chuck Jones:  An Animator's Life from A to Z-Z-Z-Z
at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I saw over two
hundred people enthralled by Chuck's work, engaging in animated
discussions or simply absorbing the work in silence.  Creativity springs
from this:  Personal connection with great minds through art.

addition, I've been able to participate as a guest instructor in some
of the Center's unique classes in creativity, including at "Take the
Lead," the annual teen leadership summit in Fullerton, CA; Human
Options, a local shelter for women and children rebuilding their lives
after domestic violence; and Girls Inc. in Costa Mesa.

At Take the Lead and Girls Inc., we offered "Litter"-ally, It's Art!  What's
so special about this class?  Aside from tape and glue, nearly all the
materials used are recyclables and discards re-purposed for original
works created by budding artists.  Wire…egg cartons…berry
baskets…electrical cords…ribbon and yarn…buttons…CDs and
DVDs…spools…shoe boxes…plastic bottles…cereal boxes…fabric and
felt remnants…all were transformed, in less than an hour, into
three-dimensional masterpieces, both abstract and representational.

does this process happen?  We do something very unusual:  We provide a
creative space with the freedom to experiment and have fun with
unorthodox art materials that bypass usual expectations about what art
supplies and finished art "should" look like. 

The point of "Litter"-ally, It's Art!
is that, no matter where we are, we are surrounded by potential art
materials and sources of inspiration.  Creativity springs from this, as
well:  All we need do is pay attention and let ourselves be surprised by
the process.  Chuck Jones believed in the spontaneity of the aware,
open mind–and so do we!

Take the Lead 3.12.2010

(Photo:  Take the Lead Teen Summit, March 12, 2010)

you are reading this blog, I
know that you care about my grandfather's art and his legacy of
imagination.  And because of that I also know that you care about helping people become fully creative
and capable human beings. 

am asking for your help.  Please make your contribution today
through our website (or call 949.660.7793) so that Chuck Jones Center
for Creativity can keep installing exhibitions of Chuck's
original art and offering classes designed to free our creative
spirits and keep our imaginations in focus.  You are an important part
of our creative community, and your gift makes such a difference!

With appreciation,

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences May 14, 2010

Craig Kausen
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

L to R:  Todd Kausen, Linda Jones Clough, Jessica Kausen, Marian Jones,
Valerie Kausen, Craig Kausen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and

Please contribute today!

Chuck Jones’ Oscar Goes on a Trip, part 4

Oscar at tca

Oscar in his temporary home at Tempe Center for the Arts exhibition, "Chuck Amuck: A Legacy of Laughter." 

Linda jones at tca
Linda Jones, Chuck Jones' daughter, draws Marvin Martian on Jones' animation desk this afternoon at Tempe Center for the Arts before heading back to southern California after last night's gala opening reception.

More on the opening to follow in the days to come! 

Image of the Day: Rikki Tikki Tavi

Rikki Tikki Tavi and Teddy

Original layout drawing by Chuck Jones for his 1975 television special “Rikki Tikki Tavi” based on one of The Jungle Book stories by Rudyard Kipling.  This drawing is part of the exhibition Chuck Amuck: A Legacy of Laughter opening tonight at the Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, Arizona.

Chuck Jones’ Oscar Goes On a Trip, part 2

Oscar in arizona

This just in from Craig Kausen, Chuck Jones' grandson who is in Tempe, Az for the opening tonight of "Chuck Amuck:  A Legacy of Laughter" at Tempe Center for the Arts.  "It's a beautiful morning in Tempe!" as Oscar greets the day. 

Oscar at infinity pool TCA
Oscar takes the sun at the edge of the infinity pool in front of the Tempe Center for the Arts. 

Oscar ck alexis DelChiaro Fox 10
A little later this morning and Oscar (along with Craig) is being interviewed by Fox 10's own Alexis DelChiaro at Tempe Center for the Arts exhibition "Chuck Amuck: A Legacy of Laughter." 

Stay tuned for more Oscar buzz! 

Chuck Amuck, A Legacy of Laughter: Exhibition to Open at Tempe Center for the Arts

Chuck Amuck, a Legacy of Laughter

A Retrospective Exhibition of Art & Artifacts from

Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

Opens February 26, 2010 at

Tempe Center for the Arts

 Tustin, CA—Chuck
Jones Center for Creativity announced today that “Chuck Amuck, a Legacy of
Laughter,” will open Friday, February 26 at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W.
Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, Arizona.  A
free-to-the-public opening night reception will be held from 7 to 9:30 PM in
the TCA Gallery to inaugurate the exhibition which will be on display through
June 18th.  "The city of Tempe and
the Tempe Center for the Arts are thrilled to play host to this marvelous
exhibition. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy and learn about Jones
whose work and legacy continues to fill us with laughter and inspiration,"
enthused Michelle Nichols Dock, Gallery Coordinator for TCA. 

This exhibition of original sketches, paintings and
animation production art highlights the life and art of legendary artist,
animator and director Chuck Jones who not only helped bring to life famous
cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, but also created the
iconic Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, along with many more. 

This exhibit will be the largest and most
comprehensive exhibit of art by Jones since his retrospective held at the
Capitol Children’s Museum, Washington, D.C. in 1988. 
The opening night festivities will also include a Chuck
Jones Cartoons and Short Films Screening beginning at 7:30 PM in the theater of
TCA.  The film festival, hosted by Jones’
grandson Craig Kausen, will be free – tickets are required and will be
available at the door that evening, but note that seating is limited. 

“It has been wonderful working with everyone at TCA on this
exhibition and all of us at Chuck Jones Center for Creativity are looking
forward to sharing the creative genius of Chuck Jones with the citizens of
Tempe and environs.  As Chuck Jones famously said, ‘any project is 99%
hard work and 1% love and only the love should show.’  We know that, with
the help of TCA, CJCC and its volunteers, only the love will show when this exhibit
opens on the 26th,” said Craig Kausen, Chairman of the Board of
Trustees for Chuck Jones Center for Creativity. 

A free to the public Family Creativity Festival will be
hosted Saturday, February 27th from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, the
Gallery at TCA and the theater troupe, Childsplay
will host three free hands-on art booths that day.  There will be TCA volunteer-led tours of the
Chuck Jones exhibit as well.  Childsplay, the local children’s theater
troupe will also present a performance of “Peter and the Wolf.”


About Chuck Jones:  In a career that spanned almost seventy
years, Jones made over 250 films, won four Academy Awards®, and was nominated
for six others. Jones' razor-sharp eye for character movement, his legendary
sense of timing, and his beguilingly irreverent wit have combined to create
some of the classic cartoons of all time, including these classic films
released by Warner Bros.: Bully for Bugs,
Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century, Duck Amuck, Rabbit Seasoning, The Scarlet
Pumpernickel, Robin Hood Daffy, A Scent of the Matterhorn,
and Feed The Kitty.


Jones also created and directed
some of the most popular and critically-acclaimed animated television specials
in the history of the medium, including Dr.
Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Horton Hears A Who, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,
Mowgli's Brothers,
and The White

On March 25, 1996, Jones' work
was celebrated with a special Lifetime Achievement Oscar®, presented to him at
the Academy Awards by Robin Williams. 

addition, Chuck Jones has been
honored with three other Oscars, nine Academy Award nominations, a Museum of
Modern Art retrospective, two honorary degrees and countless honors including
France’s greatest creative honor—Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Chuck Jones
died at the age of 89 in February 2002, but he leaves a legacy of brilliance,
comedy, joy, color, and laughter that will live on forever.

About TCA:  Tempe Center for the Arts stages innovative
programming that enriches, enlightens, inspires and expands the artistic
horizons of f the Tempe community.  The
TCA is a unique visual and performing arts experience built by the community
for the community.    The Center offers
a unique blending of arts and culture at a distinctive destination designed by
Tempe-based Architekton and award-winning Barton Myers Associates of Los
Angeles and houses a state-of-the-art, 600-seat proscenium theater, a 200-seat
studio theater and a 3,500 square-foot gallery. 

About CJCC:  The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity is
dedicated to fostering and encouraging creativity, especially in young people,
using the drawings, films, and writings of legendary animation director, Chuck
Jones, as inspiration. It encourages the expression of artistic creativity and
promotes an environment where that spirit can flourish. Jones' art and ideas
continue to influence contemporary artists, filmmakers, and writers through the
vast resource of his work accessible through the Center for Creativity's online

Interviews with Craig Kausen, Chairman of the Board of
Directors of Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, as well as images are available
upon request.