It says a lot when artists that don’t know each other and live across the country from each other both decide to contribute a canvas to the Red Dot Auction and draw as their inspiration not only on the genius of Chuck Jones, but also compose their work based on the illustrious and amazing Norman Rockwell and his triple self-portrait! Holy cow! Now, if that doesn’t make you want to join in the fun of the Red Dot Auction, I don’t know what will! Pre-bidding begins at Heritage Auctions, www.HA.com, on Friday, April 10 and the silent auction closes Friday evening, May 1st, at our gala fundraiser, the Red Dot Auction. Tickets, just $25 per, are available online at: https://delectus-3598.ticketbud.com/red-dot-auction-2015.
Thanks to Tom Sito we learned that on this date in 1914, Earl Hurd patented animation ‘cels’ (celluloids) and backgrounds. Before this cartoonists tried drawing the background settings over and over again hundreds of times or slashed the paper around the character and tried not to have it walk in front of anything. By the late 1990’s, most cels & cel paint had been replaced by digital imaging.
Michael Markowski, a composer and longtime fan of Chuck Jones, recently was commissioned by the Wind Ensemble of Dakota High School in Macomb, Michigan to create a musical work for them. The result was "Famishius Fantasticus" a four-minute "wild concert-closer" in the words of the composer.
Mr. Markowski writes in a letter to Chuck Redux: "Thank you so much for allowing me to share my music with you. Chuck Jones has been a surprisingly big part of my creative life, from watching Looney Tunes as a kid to studying them in college as a film major. Famishius Fantasticus was so much fun to write, and I'm excited that I will be able to share my love for the original Looney Tunes cartoons with the current generation of high school and college music students who, in most cases, have never even seen one."
In the foreword to the score, he's said, "When I was first asked to write a piece that "captured the energy of the students," I couldn't help but think that Wile E. Coyote was the man (or animal) for the job. The title, Famishius Fantasticus, is a direct allusion to the faux binomial (the scientific Latin name) of Wile E. Coyote, as shown in the opening freeze-frame of the 1956 Looney Tunes cartoon, There They Go-Go-Go!
"…[Famishius Fantasticus] is dedicated to all my friends and colleagues who vehemently go after their dreams, who never give up, and who continue totry new things no matter how many crazy ideas might blow up in their faces."
And we agree! Here, then is the Dakota High School Wind Ensemble of Macomb, Michigan, performing Michael Markowski's Famishius Fantasticus. Enjoy! (Please pay close attention to the percussionists, they work overtime for this piece. You may also note that ping-pong balls, an air horn and the magnificent Mahler Hammer are utilized to produce some delightful sounds.)
Chuck Jones: Drawing on Imagination
100 Years of an Animated Artist
Cartoon Art Museum
Exhibition: February 9 – May 5, 2013
San Francisco: The Cartoon Art Museum has announced a centennial
retrospective of the art of legendary animation director and creator Chuck Jones, on display from February 9
through May 5, 2013. The exhibition, comprising 100 works of art from the
late 1930s through the late 1990s, is entitled Chuck Jones: Drawing on
Imagination—100 Years of an Animated Artist. Artwork for the exhibit is
provided by the Chuck
Jones Center for Creativity in
Costa Mesa, CA.
Chuck Jones, a graduate of the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts in
Valencia), drew $1.00 portraits on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles before
he began his career in animation as a cel washer at Ubbe Iwerks Studio in 1932.
He directed his first cartoon, “The Night Watchman,” for Leon Schlesinger
Productions in 1938 and went to helm such classic Warner Brothers shorts as
"What's Opera, Doc?" and "One Froggy Evening." Winner
of three animation Oscars and an honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar for
"the creation of classic cartoons and cartoon characters," Jones is
today considered synonymous with the "Golden Age" of studio animation
and has inspired many of today’s most significant film directors,
artists, and animators.
“I have been a fan of the Cartoon Art Museum
for many years and to finally have such an extensive exhibition presented here
is like a dream come true. My grandfather loved San Francisco and its
denizens. This exhibition, with many never-before-exhibited works, is a
masterpiece to celebrate Chuck’s Centennial Celebration,” said Craig Kausen,
Chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and Chuck’s grandson.
“We’re thrilled with the opportunity to partner with the Chuck Jones Center for
Creativity, and to bring our patrons 100 pieces of classic and rarely seen
artwork from one of the greatest and most influential cartoonists in American
history,” said Cartoon Art Museum curator Andrew Farago. “Chuck received
the Cartoon Art Museum’s Sparky Award for lifetime achievement in 1998, and I’m
grateful for the opportunity to further celebrate his extraordinary career and
About The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity is a non-profit 501(c)3 charity located in
Costa Mesa, California. Founded in 1999 by four-time Academy Award recipient
and legendary animation creator, Chuck Jones, the Center’s vision is to inspire
the innate creative genius within each person that leads to a more joyous,
passionate, and harmonious life and world.
The Center is dedicated to re-invigorating the creative spirit and they are
doing it through art classes, exhibitions, lectures, and film festivals, all of
which spring from the material in the Chuck Jones archive. Jones was a
determined saver and his writings, art, and other ephemera from a nine-decade
life along with his philosophy of guiding and nurturing instruction form the
basis of their programs.
About the Cartoon Art Museum
Founded in 1984, the Cartoon
Art Museum is
the only museum in the western United States dedicated to cartoons and comics.
The museum was started by a group of cartoonists and collectors who
wanted to share their appreciation of this unique art form with the rest of the
world. The museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, study and
exhibition of original cartoon art in all forms to benefit historians,
cartoonists, journalists, artists, collectors and the general public.
In the Sunday, October 21, 2012 issue of "The Washington Post Magazine" they published a crossword puzzle by the indomitable Merl Reagle titled "From the Acme Catalog". It features clues from eight different Chuck Jones cartoons and one from Robert McKimson's "Boston Quackie" of 1957 that involve products ordered by Wile E. Coyote (except for McKimson's "Boston Quackie" when it is ordered by Daffy Duck). Results (and laughs) guaranteed!
Many thanks to long-time collector of Chuck Jones artwork, Bill, for sharing this puzzle with all of us. Enjoy! (Click on the puzzle for a larger, printable version.)
The Jones Family Gathering is scheduled for September 21 through September 23 at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity. This “by invitation only” event is now in its 17th year and we’re looking forward to seeing some of the original collectors who attended the very first one at our gallery in Chuck’s home town of Corona del Mar in 1995 along with the more recent additions to the Family. This year’s event is going to be a spectacular spectacular!
At our first Jones Family Gathering, Chuck took the opportunity to embellish a tablecloth with a drawing that grew out of a spilled coffee stain and signed it L. da Vinci! He also created another drawing on one of the stable doors of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. It was amazing! He’d drawn a line, maybe two or three inches long and then turn to the assembled and comment about drawing or coyotes or road runners, or making cartoons, and then he turned back to the door and add another little line here and one there until the image was completed.
Here’s a photo with the back of collector Carol Erickson’s head. She’s stuck around so long she now works for us here in Costa Mesa! You’ll want to get the inside scoop from her when you’re here for JFG.
The next year we held the Jones Family Gathering in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We hosted a Chuck Jones Film Festival at the Lensic Theater, and the Family got together for lunches, dinners, and lots & lots of laughs. Noted American sculptor, Paul Moore, even created a special award for Chuck, called the “Chucky” (see below) which delighted Chuck no end and all of us too. (Thank heavens for the discreetly placed sword!)
Remember, if you get in on Thursday the 19th, please stop by the gallery from 7 to 9 PM for a glass of wine (or a beer) and say hello. Otherwise we’ll see your smiling faces Friday morning at 10 AM sharp!
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that yesterday was Joel Shapiro's birthday. Now, you're probably asking, "Who is Joel Shapiro?" Well, he's our Super Hero expert at the Chuck Jones Gallery–San Diego and you couldn't ask for a more informed consultant than he to help you build your collection of Alex Ross or Jim Lee or any of the other DC Comic and Marvel artists the gallery represents. If you want to read more about Joel and his collection, we profiled him on this blog way back in February of 2009 (read it here). His collection has grown since then, as has his knowledge. If you're in the neighborhood, 232 Fifth Avenue, just one half block north of the San Diego Convention Center, stop by and wish Joel a "Happy Birthday" and ask him about the Silver Surfer.
This evening the Chuck Jones Gallery will celebrate the Chuck Jones Centennial (another birthday!) with an amazing selection of original Chuck Jones artwork, as well as work from the Chuck Jones Homage Artists. There'll be door prizes awarded throughout the night PLUS! a trivia game that will make you dig deep for that tidbit of Chuck Jones knowledge that you've been storing forever (such as "What is Chuck's hat size?). Prizes will include art, t-shirts, hats, and much more.
Meet Chuck's grandon, Craig Kausen, who'll be our special host for the evening. It's an event you won't want to miss. Open house starts at 6 PM. Chuck Jones Gallery, 232 Fifth Avenue. Your one-stop gallery for all things animation, and Super Hero.
Joel and his birthday cupcakes!
Also, you'll note that the Chuck Jones Gallery was visited by Wonder Woman this morning, who was kind enough to pause for a photo op with Wile E. Coyote (he didn't seem to mind.)
They were good questions, and it seemed like an opportunity for someone close to Chuck Jones to answer them.
"Well, I must start out by revealing that I'm terribly biased in my review of the Chuck Jones Experience. I am Chuck Jones' grandson, Craig.
"However, although I must say that I personally think it is well worth the admission price, each person or group that sends me notes, text messages, pictures, or even actual letters (forbid!), has said that they were enthralled by the journey they were taken on inside the Experience. Just yesterday a friend said her accountant was out there with 10 young soccer players (10 or 12 years old), along with parents, and although she thought it was big ticket amount for the group when they arrived, she said they spent a couple of hours and could hardly get the kids and many of the parents to leave when they had to go to their next game.
"It is like walking inside of a Chuck Jones cartoon that is super life-sized, as well as walking into his studio (with his actual desk setting right before you), that includes hundreds of books from his own personal library, so you can glimpse a bit inside of his genius.
"There is a room where you can see how you measure up next to Life-sized characters and then walk into a filming of a Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoon being filmed by Bugs Bunny and directed by Daffy W. Griffith, all in larger than life-sized three dimensional creations.
"There are over 250 original works of art ranging from historical production materials to oil paintings, to traditional fine art, all by Chuck himself.
"There is also an interactive area where you can record sound effects at the Rikki Tikki Tavi Foley station and create your own Zoetrope animation strip.
"There are great photo opportunities throughout.
"If I'm there, I'll take you on a personal tour too!
"And, yes, there are plenty of t-shirts to be had as well as other great things to take home if you like.
"I'll even make a bold statement that if you don't like it, ask for Neil and I'm sure he'll give you your money back. (Neil???)
"Plus, there are $5 coupons all over Las Vegas to make it even more affordable.
"I hope you at least go by to take a look if you're in town.
"PS Gregrio, you are so right about THE Steak House at Circus Circus. Best steaks I've ever had…"
To read the entire thread, click on Chuck's photo below.
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"
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!
This just could not wait another minute…
The Guest Curator page on the soon-to-be-brand-new-exciting-and-thrilling Chuck Jones Center for Creativity website will be devoted to commentary provided by a variety of experts and fans of the art and films of Chuck Jones. Throughout this series, we plan to bring you new insight and fresh perspectives on Jones's oeuvre. Stay tuned!
Animation expert, author, and historian, Jerry Beck, graciously agreed to inaugurate the Guest Curator page on the Center's website, but due to a delay in launching that brand-new-exciting-and-thrilling-website, we've decided to share his insights with you today here at Chuck Redux. Selecting three Chuck Jones cartoons to highlight proved a challenge, but one he met with his usual gusto, delight, and expertise. Read on!