Category: Gallery News

ArtInsights is SDCC San Diego Comic-Con bound!

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Ahhhh Comic-Con.  We once again are lucky enough at ArtInsights to have had our panels accepted and we are conducting one on Thursday and one on Saturday.

As a result, we are happy to say we have an exclusive Hanna Barbera release, with art created by Willie Ito in honor of being a guest of the convention, and his career in animation being recognized.  You can check the art out HERE.

HOTTEST TOY YOU’LL NEVER GET:  There is a crazy Alien playset that flamed through the internet.  Frothing fanboys and girls started freaking out at the low number of the edition (250) and as a result the company is allowing presages started Wednesday.  Even those who aren’t attending can order online!

Alien playset

A QUOTE from their site:

The playset will be available for pre-order starting Wednesday July 23 at 6pm PT through Sunday July 27 5pm PT, both at the Super7 booth and online at  www.super7store.com. The playset will be made to order, meaning everyone who pre-orders the playset will be guaranteed one. Right now the playset bases will be made from hand cast resin, unless enough orders are received to manufacture the bases in injection molded plastic.

*UPDATE: since everyone who preorders gets one, the 250 edition is out the window.  Does this mean it has lost its desirability?

 

for the rest of ALL the best, you can go to this site and check out everything being released in special SDCC editions…

http://sdccblog.com/tag/exclusives/

HOTTEST TICKET YOU’LL NEVER SCORE:  Entertainment Weekly’s Annual Comic-Con party.  Obviously invite only, it’s really only being attended by a ‘who’s who’ of the entertainment industry.

HOTTEST PANEL YOU’LL STAND IN LINE FOR: Avengers on Saturday.  Mark Ruffallo let it slip some months ago that supposedly the whole cast will be there.  Frenzy has ensued.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending on how well it is executed) there is a new policy about wristbands for Hall H.  All those in every party who plan to be there for the first panel must get a wristband while in line.  One person has to stay in line at all times…(makes sense) but everyone in line in the morning must have a wristband.

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(this above picture from 1983 is NOT what we expect. But how delightful if that is what we discover…)

ArtInsights will report if this new policy feels less like wrist banding and more like wrist slitting…

HOTTEST OFFSITE EVENT:  Nerd HQ, of course.  This happening at Petco Park, started and hosted by Zachery Levy and supported by Indie Go Go, will have all sorts of stars dropping by, and is worth checking out no maker what else is happening.

There’s also a Godzilla Interactive Display, and an HBO pop up shop, but there’s no telling what will be the biggest buzz once everyone gets to San Diego

http://sdccblog.com/events/2014-07/

Here are all the parties no one but the hottest stars get in to, the irony being none of them want to be there, and the fan kids imagine them all being super fun!:

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(The Iron throne from Game of Thrones will be at the HBO party…as will assorted ingenues)

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/comic-con-2014-party-guide-719210

HOTTEST THING ON THE SHOW FLOOR: That remains to be seen.  So much money is spent by the big studios and networks and companies, one never knows until one is there.  It is easy to determine once one is there.  We will not only report back, we will film while we are there so you folks who could not attend can see all the crazy…

Want to follow ArtInsights into the crazy?  We will be posting videos on our social media sites (so follow us on twitter, FB, Instagram, and Pinterest!) so you can experience SDCC vicariously through us.

We will also be sporting out “CINEMA SIREN” tees for the first time, which you can get yourself, HERE:

http://www.zazzle.com/cinema_siren_tee-235400535946720229

part of our version of the tee had “TOP TEN WAYS TO SURVIVE COMIC-CON” and we will pose in them during the con, along with posing at some point in our special outfits made lovingly for this event…

Here are our two panels:

Meet the Flintstones, Meet George Jetson: Hanna Barbera Beginnings, Thursday, 7/24/14, 2:30p.m. – 3:30p.m., Room: 24ABC

Wouldn’t it be great to be a fly on the wall in 1963 in Hanna Barbera Studios with 3 men who helped make it such an essential part of cartoon history?  SDCC special guest, animator Willie Ito, gathers his friends and cohorts Tony Benedict (writer: Flintstones, The Jetsons) and Jerry Eisenberg (layout artist: Flintstones, Jetsons) to discuss what made early Hanna Barbera into the powerhouse of cartoon history it became.  Moderated by Leslie Combemale (Film Artist advocate/owner ArtInsights Animation & Film Art Gallery).

 

Spotlight on Willie Ito, Saturday, 7/26/14, 3:00p.m. – 4:00p.m.

With nearly 60 years as an animation artist, Willie Ito has done it all.  He worked at Disney on Lady and the Tramp’s spaghetti scene with mentor Iwao Takamoto and on One Froggy Evening and What’s Opera Doc at Warner Bros’ famed Termite Terrace under Chuck Jones’ direction. He went on to The Beany and Cecil Show with Bob Clampett and then Hanna Barbera for the beginnings of The Flintstones,The Jetsons and many other cartoons.  Ito has great stories & experience to share.  After HB he went to Disney Consumer Products and spearheaded implementation of collectibles and licensed products worldwide!  He has also designed comic books, comic strips, coloring books, and more.  Join animation expert Leslie Combemale of ArtInsights for a Spotlight on Willie Ito’s life, which includes the part of his childhood spent in a Japanese internment camp.  It inspired his most recent venture, a series of children’s picture books based on the experience.

Stay tuned for more news from the Con when we get there, as we scour the floor and panels for hot news or at least lukewarm doings in which we had a most excellent adventure worth relaying to you folks!

ArtInsights & Mike Kungl: Star Wars Days

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A few weeks ago my hubby, and “Cinema Spouse” and I went down to Florida to deliver a big collection of Disney interpretive art to some close friend-clients. We chose the perfect weekend for us to go, because Disney was having “Star Wars Weekends”, and our pal Mike Kungl was going to be there. We hung out, we talked art, we saw him interact with his excited fans….

Maybe you don’t know who Mike Kungl is. Or maybe you do, but you don’t know you do! He’s been on tv lots of times, by way of his delicious Star Wars limited edition art, the originals of which were all lapped up by George Lucas. Big Brother and Big Bang Theory are two notable examples…

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And BIG is what Mike Kungl was always destined for. Because he has everything a successful traditional illustration artist needs and then some: He studied the great graphic designers and architects of the 20th century, as well as traditional artists that formed his own aesthetic. A great lover of art deco, both from its original period and reintroduction in the 50s, he has incorporated that style into his own work. He is not only passionate about his painting, he is also gregarious, savvy, and open-hearted. These are qualities, when mixed together, that make fans and collectors extremely loyal, at the same time as constantly spurring him on in new directions. He also has a secret weapon in his wife and partner Dana, who enthusiastically supports his creative endeavors and takes care of many of the business and marketing aspects of his career…all in an unobtrusive and honorable way. If I sound effusive, it’s because i’ve known Mike and promoted his art for years and have seen him grow and expand his design and become more and more successful, and I couldn’t be happier for him.

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His project for Disneyland Paris is to die for—he designed images for what is essentially the “Downtown Disney” of their park. Huge murals and bas reliefs grace the biggest featured building. This is a huge deal. To be seen every day by Disney fans from all over the world, to raise an entire environment to an artistic experience…It was a tour-de-force. It has led to him traveling all over the world for shows in galleries and events from Paris to Tokyo and back.

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He has had corporate clients since very early in his career. Recently though, his artistic reach has stretched across more properties than any other artist with whom I am connected.

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He works and is an official interpretive artist for Disney in Disneyland Paris and both art licensees, Warner Brothers for both classic films and cartoons, and LucasFilm, where his images often sell out in only a few weeks. Somehow he works peacefully with almost every company with a license, which is harder than you’d think, actually…

One thing i’ve always loved about Mike and Dana…they always operate with the utmost integrity, and make sure they stay loyal to all those who support their business, but Mike never loses sight that it’s about the art. It’s about the love of movies and design and traditional illustration, and helping the fine art collectors around the world understand film art is real art.

This July, Mike is releasing a new licensed piece for Warner Brothers of King Kong, and it is just perfectly spot on, capturing both this style and the grandeur of the original film.

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We expect to be doing some exciting commissions with him in the near future, and certainly now is the time for anyone interested in getting some Disney, Star Wars, and classic film images from him, as he is, much like Buzz Lightyear whom he painted for Disney. His career is going to infinity and beyond!

FOR ALL AVAILABLE LIMITED EDITIONS, GO TO OUR KUNGL PAGE:

ALSO FOR COMMISSIONS OF ORIGINAL BY MIKE,
Contact the Gallery

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Here is a great interview with Mike I did that was lots of fun a few years ago…

AWESOME Con DC! The Art of John Alvin panel

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There’s a Con-toddler in our midst.  It’s the nearly brand spanking new convention in DC for enthusiasts of comics, movies, cartoons, and all things geeky.  Not a moment too soon, I say…  Last year we were at another convention the same weekend so we couldn’t take part. This year, however, with the shiny folk running the show, we are having our first con panel of the year, with guest Andrea Alvin of Alvin & Associates, John Alvin’s wife and artistic partner in ” The Art of John Alvin”.

It will be on Saturday April 19th at 2:45 (Room 204C)  Info on the convention programming is at http://awesomecondc.com/programming/ 

We are bringing some really rare original paintings created by John during his career, and it will be the first time we discuss the new book release, written by Andrea, about John and his amazing life as a film artist.  The book, which is being published through Titan Books, will have a preview release at San Diego Comic Con.   It will be a wonderful presentation, not least to hear some of the great stories of how these posters came about, and get a better understanding of the immense contribution he made to the history of film.

For some of the art we have available by John for sale, go to https://artinsights.com/artists/alvin-john/

BUT WAIT!  THERE’S MORE!!

many of you who know me (Leslie) know of my love of interviewing people…not the 5 minute, “tell me what the studio told you to tell me” variety of interview, but the one that goes deeper.  Well, this weekend, I get to do spotlight panels and moderate the subsequent Q&As for:

RON GLASS Saturday 10:30-11:30 (room 209C)  Ron has had an amazing career in film and theater and it shows no sign of slowing down.  I’m excited to talk to him about his life as an actor.

JEWEL STAITE Saturday 12:00-1:00 (Room 202) Jewel is best known as Kaylee in Firefly, and Dr Jennifer Keller, but most recently was featured in The Killing.  She’s a great guest and full of stories.

EASTER SUNDAY!  who needs the Easter Bunny, when you can satisfy your sweet tooth by  sinking your teeth into the stories behind the careers of these tasty actors:

NICHOLAS BRENDON Sunday 11:45-12:45 (room 207A) Nicholas played a great character as Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and as Kevin Lynch actually made a wonderful match to Garcia in Criminal Minds.

CARY ELWES Sunday 1:00-2:00 (room 202) Inconceivable?  Nope.  I’ll be asking the star about The Princess Bride, Robin Hood Men In Tights, The X-Files, Psych, and lots more. …like The Crush.  Well, we’ll talk about whatever he wants.

I hope you’ll come check out and support this new convention, even though it IS on Easter weekend–because it’s going to be a blast!  I’ll report back about the Alvin panel,  how I did in the Q&A’s, and the best tidbit I got out of each actor!

Yup, I officially have the best job in the world–I can’t wait!

Leslie, Cinema Siren

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Dad of Steel – Father’s Day Open House

June 13, 2013

 

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In celebration of the premiere of the latest DC film, Man of Steel, and with Father’s Day right around the corner, Artinsights is having a special Father’s Day/Superman open house on Saturday, June 15th! Our gallery is all prepped with tons of art from Marvel and DC Comics on the walls, so come and check out all these great heroes.

As part of “Dad of Steel”, any father who comes into the gallery will recieve a special gift, courtesy of Artinsights. In addition, any guest at the gallery can enter a drawing for a beautiful piece of DC Comics art by answering “Why my dad is a superdad/super-awesome”*. Is your dad as great as Jonathan Kent or Jor-el (Superman’s foster and biological fathers)?

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“Guardians of Justice” – the best dad will take this home!

 

If you can’t come to the gallery, you can always check out all the cool Marvel/DC artwork that we have available on our website. The Marvel/DC show will run until July 7th.

Click here for the art of DC Comics:

https://artinsights.com/index.php/store/productions/51-dc-universe/

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Infinitely Heroic – Alex Ross

Click here for art from Marvel Comics:

https://artinsights.com/index.php/store/productions/186-marvel-universe/

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Assemble – Alex Ross

Check out our Superman art here:

https://artinsights.com/index.php/store/characters/26-superman/

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For Tomorrow – Jim Lee

And be sure to go see Man of Steel!

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*If your father has joined Jor-El and the rest of Krypton, he can still be entered into the drawing and win.

Marvel vs. DC Press Release

May 16th, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Leslie Combemale
EXHIBIT MARVEL VS. DC: THE ART OF THE SUPERHERO OPENING
AT ARTINSIGHTS ANIMATION AND FILM ART GALLERY
Reston, VA – ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery has curated a show of originals and limited editions by the leading creators of official fine art images for Marvel and DC comics, including Alex Ross, Jim Lee, Gabriele Dell Otto, Simone Bianchi and Randy Martinez.  From Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, to Iron Man, Wolverine, and Captain America, the most popular and timely characters currently appearing onscreen and in pop culture will be represented.   The exhibit of art for sale will run from June 7th to July 7th, with an opening party on June 7th from 6 to 9 pm, with a DJ, refreshments, and prizes for the best costume and character portrayals.
While the art of Marvel and DC is nothing new to ArtInsights, there has been a decided increase in interest and collectibility of superhero images with the colossal box office success of comic book movies. Says ArtInsights owner Leslie Combemale, “We had Avengers and Iron Man art before the movies came out.  Of course afterwards, there were so many more requests for it!  The new art releases are perfectly timed for our show and we’re thrilled to have some images being premiered in a gallery setting.”  Adds owner Michael Barry, “We have always noticed a strong line of division that fans make about favoring Marvel or DC.  Our artist friends love all the characters they draw, but fans are a different story.  “Marvel vs. DC” is about collectors and fans being shown an exhibit of both and deciding their allegiance after seeing things from an artistic perspective. Some characters just translate better in fine art.”
Alex Ross and Jim Lee are two of the most well known artists in the comic industry, with Ross being credited with contributing to the arrival of a new Golden Age of comics with his popular hyper-realistic style, while Jim Lee is not only an artist but also creator of Wildstorm Comics, and was announced as co-publisher of DC Comics in 2010.  Their art, along with the art of other well known comic illustrators, represents a line of official fine art for the studios, with images ranging in price from $150 for a limited edition lithograph, all the way to $16,000 for a 4 foot multi-character original.
ABOUT ARTINSIGHTS ANIMATION AND FILM ART GALLERY
ArtInsights, established in 1994, is a privately owned gallery located just outside of DC at Reston Town Center, in Virginia.  The gallery presents the most important works of art from the 20th and 21st century film art genre, including original art from the masters of film and moving entertainment.  From film campaign artists to matte painters, from concept and layout artists to animators, ArtInsights represents the giants of film art history.  With over 30 years experience, the owners work with their worldwide collector base to build and insure the integrity of their collections.  They sell rare images used in production as well as original commissions which are often used to create official limited editions. ArtInsights exclusively represents the original art of John Alvin, Casey Robin, and Ben Curtis Jones, and also exhibits Tim Rogerson, Jim Salvati, Mike Kungl, Chuck Jones, Christian Waggoner, Steve Chorney, Mary Grandpre and and many other artists made famous by their work for the major Hollywood studios.  Featured studios include Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and 20th Century Fox, in a display of images from the best classic movies and animated features of the last 100 years as well as newer classics like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Star Trek.
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Coming Soon: Marvel/DC

May 17, 2013

 

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Marvel? or DC? That’s an age-old question. Well, we love them both (a lot) and as a result, we have a ton of amazing superhero art that we want to show you! We thought, what better time to host a Marvel vs. DC show than this summer–what with Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel being released…

 

The show will feature animation cels as well as artwork by Jim Lee, Bruce Timm, Randy Martinez, Glen Orbik, and more. Some pieces are signed by Stan Lee, and that is pretty neat. Also, we have never-before-seen works from Alex Ross–including an exclusive pre-release Batman painting.

 

We’re so excited about the show that we’re even throwing a party. (You’re invited obviously.) It’s going to be on Friday June 7th from 6 to 9 PM, to celebrate the opening of the show. There will be music and lights and art and good times. Plus, if you dress up as a superhero (or villain), there’s a chance that you’ll win a cool  prize. 

 

Don’t miss the show! Make sure you visit us at 11921 Freedom Drive in Reston Town Center between June 7th and July 7th.

 

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 Vist Marvel and DC Comics online.

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Holidays again at ArtInsights

 

Holidays at Reston, New Shows, Costumes.  Yeah.  We have fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

 

 

Just came back from playing Belle in the Reston Town Center holiday parade.  I asked by sister Coco to play Cinderella.  She looks so much like her, she could be hired at Disney.  We also had the 501st Legion with us in the parade, and they are always wonderful to have–helpful, very interested in charity (we love that!)…

 

Coco and Leslie Princesses

 

I’ve played Snow White (there are pictures…), Maleficent, the Queen from Snow White, Cruella, A fictitious professor at Hogwarts, a pirate on Jack Sparrow’s ship, Princess Leia, the Grinch, Bugs Bunny, and now, Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  

 

Just when you wonder what good going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England will do…since when I dress as Snow White I look not a little like a drag queen I have discovered kids just love princesses, and they won’t notice that instead of 15 she might look around 35.  Today as Belle I get spontaneous hus Bless them, I say…

 

We have been so busy this year we haven’t had time to update what we’ve been doing on this blog, but let’s just say we’ve spent lots of time out at conventions and special events…

 

like: 

I was at the Harry Potter premiere in London for the very last movie and walked a red carpet that is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for its length.

 

We had our very first panel for The Art of the Hollywood Movie Poster at the San Diego Comic Convention.  (it went so well we had folks who had sat in on other panels just to be able to get into ours!! a great sign!)

 

We were also at Leakycon, went to Paris and the South of France to visit animators and go to a family reunion, and went to D23, where we were the only ones who had ONLY original art by Disney interpretive artists.  

 

I’ll tell more when I ever write “ArtInsights: The World Tour”.

 

All of it went incredibly well, and we’ve had our best year so far!  

 

We have big new things in store, and have plans to work with more wonderful artists we met on our travels, but just getting through the year doing what we planned was amazing!

 

We haven’t been actively open as much this year, because we’ve been gone so much so for those of you interested in visiting us, give a call and make sure we aren’t off somewhere doing ambassador stuff for the art of film, or visiting John Alvin’s wife Andrea, or some such fun thing, because we’d love to see you!

 

Meanwhile, one of the big additions to our offering (and workload!) is we started including movie reviews on our web magazine more and more, and Cinema Siren is featured on Patch now, not just a few favorite Patches, (like Herndon.patch.com and rosehill.patch.com, both of which are edited by good friends) but often we are featured on tons of Patches all over Northern Virginia and Maryland, and we’ve had up to 200,000 people read one review so far.  Should we aim for a million???

 

Not sure where that will take us, but we know it will expand awareness of film art, which is good, since it takes a long time to write them, and we take it seriously!

 

We are just finishing up the opening of Chuck Jones’s 100th Birthday kick-off, (an honor from the family) and we were involved in the first Washington West film festival (I was a juror) and we represented Chuck’s family at the festival.  I also voted for some amazing animated films and met some great film makers.

 

We’ve interviewed some great artists this year, and covered some great events (like the Harry Potter premiere!) and look forward to doing that more and more!

 

Our big new deal this December is some John Alvin art we’ve actually been authorized to sell for his estate, and we are trying to get as much of it on our site as possible.  We want also to try to change to Paypal International so we can take payments from all over the world without a headache for the clients, and so we can be assured everything gets processed smoothly for everyone.  We’ll let you know when we get all that together!

 

Keep checking back to see more of John’s art, like originals from Blade Runner and E.T. when he was working on the posters for those films.  VERY exciting!

 

New artists are joining us all the time, but we are only a few of us here, so we add them slowly!  Check back for that too.  We also have a new intern, Victory, so if she answers the phone, say hi to her, she’s a great help to us.

 

Lastly, if you appreciate our web magazine, my interviews, reviews, and our educational perspective, both inside the gallery and out in the world, tell the world about how wonderful we are.  That’s how we get our best clients, is through word of mouth.  Usually once people start buying from us, they find we are jolly good fun!!

 

Thanks and happy holidays!

 

Leslie (and Michael!)

2009 Year-End Animation Round-Up

This afternoon, on January 1st, 2010, i was staring at the fire in our fireplace, and started thinking about the movies i’d seen this year.  I realized what an incredible year 2009 has been for animation features.  When I think of all the artistic expression and talent poured onto the screen,  i feel very proud to be a part of that world, and it fills me with excitement for the future of animation.  From Pixar’s poignant “UP”, to the gorgeous yet thoroughly creepy movies “Coraline” and “9”, the beautifully executed and charming “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and reinvigorations and reinventions of 2D classic animation of Miyazaki’s “Ponyo” and Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog”, this year in animation has been absolutely amazing.  Such talent and beauty should be lauded, rewarded, and thoroughly appreciated, and the aforementioned movies were just the major releases.  Imagine what they were doing at the universities and in studios across the world…

 

I started selling animation art in 1988, right before the “new golden age” at Disney, with “The Little Mermaid”, “The Lion King”, and the other new classics.  Of course, i’ve been a fan of cartoons my whole life, starting all the way back to when i lived in Positano, Italy and Paris, France.  All the Disney movies and many of the cartoon shorts showed there, teaching me early that animation was universal.  At my gallery ArtInsights I get daily affirmation of the universality of animation with the visitors we get  from places like China, Finland, Scotland, and Indonesia, who know the characters  Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, and Bugs Bunny, among others…  In the time i’ve been selling and promoting the art of the animated film, the industry has changed significantly.  I have watched the Pixar revolution alter the way computer animated cartoons are seen and appreciated, Stop motion animation has gained respectability through the genius of Henry Selick and Tim Burton.  More and more traditional film directors are embracing animation films as part of their filmography, attempting to articulate their aesthetic through the medium, as Wes Anderson did to great success this year with The Fabulous Mr. Fox.  The same is true for actors and actresses now actively choosing to voice characters in animated films.  Of course the financial proposition of creating a successful feature length animation film means getting the biggest names involved as possible, but clearly enthusiasm by these big names to be considered or thought of first for starring roles has increased as the artistry of these films has become more universally accepted.  

 

As to the movies themselves, they are as real and deep, as or perhaps more filled with meaning as their live action counterparts.  I’d love to see at least one of these movies listed in the best film oscar category.  I have my own favorites….I have a lot of loyalty to “The Princess and the Frog”, having interviewed several of the lead animators and loving New Orleans as I do.  The backgrounds and visual effects in this movie were more beautiful than even i was expecting.  Every song was great, and the leads were wonderful, especially Anika Noni Rose.  I can’t believe the box office totals haven’t been higher, as witness the great disparity between it and the new chipmunks “Squeakwal”, although i’ll have to say i haven’t seen it and probably won’t see it…call me a cartoon snob, i admit it.  I’m hopeful the international sales will be much higher and will lead to its ultimate success, because a lot is riding on it, no less than the future of 2D animation at Disney.  Coraline is spectacular in every way, and although it creeped the hell out of me, I think i could watch that movie 100 times.  The colors were vibrant, the story flowed easily, and there were layers of meaning that allow both children and adults to walk away in contemplation, and the movie stays with you.  I think Coraline will be much like Nightmare Before Christmas in it’s longevity and cult to mainstream following.  This places Henry Selick even higher in my esteem as a director.   “UP” was interesting in that I went to see it more because I had to than any genuine enthusiasm for the storyline or visual appeal,  but walked out shocked at how wonderful and deep it was. Visually stunning, yes, even more so than Wall-E, and more colorful, although that was in part the difference in story.  The fact that Ed Asner, an actor i respect and love, was one of the leads also got me to the movie theatre, and as usual, he was not a disappointment.  There was a poignancy to his story, and such growth in his character.  I loved that, because he was older, so that was a great lesson to older viewers, as well as a goal to stay open for younger ones.   

 

“9”, “Ponyo”, and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” point to the power of auteur directors and their skill of storytelling.  FIrst time feature director Shane Acker, Japanese national treasure Hayao Miyazaki, and independent darling Wes Anderson are the artists responsible these three films, and they definitely brand these releases with their unique aesthetics.  Miyazaki is responsible for some of the best animated films to come out of Japan.  Although his movies have never been seen as “just animation” in his home country, his studio has a huge share in the responsibility for expanding the acceptance and love of the animated feature film worldwide. Not all his cartoons have been revoiced for english audiences, but more and more of them have plans in that direction as they are released.  (his two most recent movies are Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke) Having the long standing personal label as “the Japanese Walt Disney”, it makes sense that Disney has been collaborating for some time now with his Ghibli Studio.  Wes Anderson is known for his independent live action films like Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums.  One of my favorite directors Martin Scorsese is a big fan of his movies, and he is in crowded company, so the fact that he has added a stop motion animated movie to his filmography is exciting.  It means he thought it was an important addition, a way to expand his knowledge of filmmaking, and he’d be right.  I think his love of the craft, the fun he has creating all his movies, shows on the screen for the entirety of Fantastic Mr. Fox.  Shane Acker is a first time feature animation direction with 9. Time will tell if he will be the hot director many believe he’s destined to become, but he sites influences German animator Christoph Lauenstein and the Czech artist Jan Svankmajer, who also inspired Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam, so that’s a good sign for his future, and a sign of his dedication to learning and expanding his artistic perspective.  He was involved in all aspects of the feature, very auteur, but supposedly very collaborative as well.  I forgive the confusing ending for the gorgeousness of the movie as a whole.  

 

Also in 2009, animation made two big splashes in the art world. The one man retrospective show at MOMA, “Tim Burton”, is the largest show ever to feature a filmmaker’s art (http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2009/timburton/ ). The largest collection of original animation art ever featured in a museum show is at the New Orleans Museum of Art, in “Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from the Walt Disney Studios”  (http://www.noma.org/dreams.html).  

 

My experience of and desire for animation being seen as real art stems from the many times people new to ArtInsights in the years we’ve been open and after 30 seconds in the gallery, do a 360 degree twirl and ask, “are there any galleries with FINE ART in the center?”.   I’ve also been shuffled from department to department when sending press releases to the Washington Post:  from the arts section to the movie section to the children’s and back again…We once had Marc Davis and Mary Costa, one of the most famous animators in the history of Disney, a Disney “Legend”,  and animator of Maleficent, and the voice of Sleeping Beauty herself, and we didn’t even get listed in the arts calendar.  That was about 10 years ago.  This last year has given me more expectation of the art form being accepted as a whole.  I am a little surprised, however, at how little press the show in New Orleans got.  When John Lasseter said he wanted the next big show featuring art from the animation research library inside Disney, where more than 60 million pieces of original animation from the history of Disney are stored and catalogued, to be held at MOMA, he knew what he was talking about.  The amount of press the Tim Burton show got surpassed the NOMA show by about a factor of 100!

 

Now would be the time to say that, as Oscars go, i’m rooting for UP and Coraline.  I loved The Princess and the Frog, and urge you to see and support it, even though Disney is big business, not independent.  Supporting 2D going forward is supporting the melding of the old and the new, the hands on artistry with the innovative.  UP, though not as much my long term personal favorite as Wall-E or Monsters Inc, featured a story that fearlessly showed loss, grief and neglect, as well as families made, not born.  It was flawlessly acted and visually stunning.  and funny.  I want it to get at least nominated for the Oscar.    Coraline is so quirky and yet so beautiful.  I absolutely predict it will be a longterm favorite and its fans will grow steadily over the years.  If it gets nominated or wins best movie, i’d be beyond pleased.  I’m so excited about what the release of these movies in 2009 means for the industry.  

 

Note to directors, both new and established:  Animation can be part of your the future in the movie industry.  You can bring whatever you want to it.  
It can be creative….artistic…fearless…funny…innovative….  

 

But i’ve been saying that for years.

 

 L.
tim burton artinisghts

Experiencing the Tim Burton One-Man Show

 

TIM BURTON AT MOMA: New Exhibit of over 700 pieces of The art of Tim Burton!

 

A celebration of “stepchild” art, a stubborn adherence to a unique vision, and a big fat kiss to individuality.

 

It’s the last day in November and after mulling over the gorgeous new museum show at the Museum of Modern Art, I’m finally sitting down to write about it. It’s the night before Disney plays the new Christmas special “Prep and Landing”, the new show Disney insiders believe will be an instant classic.  This new cartoon owes a huge debt to Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.  

 

tim burton artinisghts

 

Anyone who knows me at all knows i have been a fan of Tim Burton’s work for a long time, all the way back to Frankenweenie.  I saw Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993. (or as we call it–with apologies to the Disney owned ABC– “NBC”)  I saw it on opening night, and saw it multiple times.  The first time i remember wondering, “are they ever going to stop singing??”,  then I grew to adore all the songs.  I remember making a special trip to the Disney store to buy all things NBC at the time, finding boxer shorts and a tie.  I was an NBC fan before it was cool, and believe me it took quite some time to be the cult favorite with the diehard fans it has now.  So when “Prep and Landing” becomes an instant classic, they’d better write a thank you note to Tim Burton.  

 

I watched the short video interview of Tim Burton the day before Thanksgiving.

 

Burton talked about how, unlike many kids, his teacher supported and encouraged his unique style of drawing and the subject matter he was drawn to, so all day on Thanksgiving I kept feeling so grateful to the great teachers of the world.  My dad is a teacher, and I had some wonderful free-thinking openminded teachers as a kid.  I even give a teacher discount in the gallery.  I can imagine how often unique talent and vision is squelched by a teacher or adult who warns they are too outside the norm and trains them away from developing and expanding truly inventive ideas.  Such was not the case with Tim Burton, and the movie viewing public and fans of art are all the better for it.  The press release by MOMA (a work of art in itself..) says the show “brings together hundreds of artworks and film related objects to trace the trajectory of Burton’s creative imagination.” The curators, who had access to Tim Burton’s entire personal collection, seem to have crawled into his mind and come back out with these 700 pieces to show for it.  What a strange trip it must have been!  
 

 
There are several things that struck me most about the show as a whole. One is   how often he created far more as a visual artist than just to get his ideas down onto paper.  There are many pieces of art that seem to be part purpose, part whimsy.  The image of a martian, his robes painted with sparkly red paint.  As a costume or character study, the sparkles are seriously superfluous, but wonderful nonetheless!  Some images that have multiple drawings on them seem to be part doodle, part  model sheet.  It seems often in his work he is in the flow of creativity, creating to create, and if the resulting images aid in a current or future project, he’s all the happier.  

 

There is a cohesive quality to Burton’s art, consistently evoking the themes of outsiders misunderstood as villains, the crushing uniformity and homogeny of suburbia, and celebrating the genres of classic horror and 50s scifi.  

 

I always think it’s a good sign that a director uses the same collaborators over and over in their work, and Tim Burton is definitely one of those directors.  He has partnered on multiple occasions with production designer Rick Heinrichs, and costume designer Colleen Atwood, both of whom are Oscar winners, and many soundtrack fans know Danny Elfman through the many Tim Burton movies for which he has created scores.  There are pieces included in the show by both Heinrichs and Atwood, and Elfman’s music is played throughout the exhibit.  There are also pieces by the great storyboard artist/screenwriter Joe Ranft, who’s career was cut short when he died in a car accident in 2005.  

 

About the show:  The sheer volume of art is daunting.  Visitors enter through a big Tim Burton created creature mouth, and walk a long hallway down which multiple screens are looping “The World of Stainboy”, a series of cartoons created in 2000 by Burton, based on characters in the book “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy”. 
I was pleased to see, as i came in and out of the show that day, so many people sitting and watching each episode from beginning to end.  If you go I recommend you watch them, because they aren’t easy to find elsewhere.  The hall opens into a dark room with some glow in the dark paintings and a large sculpture in the corner. 

 

Then you walk though a door and enter the first main gallery.  This part of the show is broken up into 3 parts.  It starts out when Tim himself was just starting out, with early childhood drawings as well as images he created as a teenager.  This part is called “Surviving Burbank”.  There are many pen and ink drawings, some films he shot on a super 8mm, and a children’s book he created and submitted at Disney, where he dreamed of working. (!!)

 

 The second section is called “Beautifying Burbank”, which was also the name of an art contest he won that was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.  This section shows his progression as an artist, and features some of the drawings he created while apprenticing at Disney.  At this point in the show, I already got a sense of just how prolific Burton is, how much he has always seemed to depend on his art to guide his vision and express the many (often dark) rooms in his imagination.  My eyes were assaulted in the best possible way with bright colors, and gray scale pen and inks.  Hundreds of drawings, along with fully rendered paintings, sculptures, and screens showing his many animated and live action shorts surround you as you continue through the show to the third section, “Beyond Burbank”.  This section features examples of not only Tim Burton’s art, but work by collaborators Colleen Atwood, Stan Winston, puppet craftsmen Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunders, and the design studio of Carlos Grangel.  There are costumes, props, and puppets on loan from Disney, Warner Bros., and Fox, from Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, Corpse Bride, and Mars Attacks, among others.  For fans of movie memorabilia, this will be their favorite section.  There is a whole section on the bottom floor with a display of 29 large polaroids Burton created (just for kicks, apparently…) between 1992 and 1999.  There is also a collection of movie posters in the theatre lobby galleries.  A reindeer topiary stands in the sculpture garden, as an ode to “Edward Scissorhands”.  Throughout the exhibit there are also 7 brand new pieces Burton created just for this show.  

 

There are definitely moments throughout the show where whether you’re a lover of fine art, a fan of Tim Burton, or just a movie lover, your jaw will drop.  It is so much fun!  

 

For me the best part of it is the way the show makes most everyone feel connected to the art by their memories of seeing one of the movies it represents.  I know this feeling is evoked often in my gallery when a visitor sees a Bugs Bunny sketch, or a cel from Snow White, or a painting created to make Star Wars.  Kids come in and see, sometimes for the first time, that art can be a very personal thing, connected to something they understand or remember from their childhood.  Tim Burton’s art does that, whether it is expressing to you his long love of classic horror movies, teenage alienation, or some movie of his you’ve seen expressed for the very first time in a story sketch or character study.  If art is meant to inspire and evoke a feeling, the Tim Burton show succeeds mightily!  The whole show reminds me of the scene in Nightmare Before Christmas where Jack is trying to explain Christmas to the folks of Halloweentown.  Tim Burton seems to be trying to help explain a completely different and beautiful world.  He seems happily determined to explain his  different way of looking at life to a world that can’t see it without his help, all through his art…

 

I’m left with a strange mix of joy gratitude pride and resentment, because I’ve been showing animation art, and art by Tim Burton, and from Nightmare Before Christmas, for 22 years now. I heard some visitors i encountered on the first member preview day–the same type of folks who until very recently would come into my gallery, look around, and announce, “oh.  you sell children’s art.  Are there any real galleries in this shopping center?”  are now being overheard while examining a Tim Burton original sketch for Nightmare Before Christmas saying “oh. I see the influence of the German expressionist filmmakers…”  oye.  or yea.  

 

There are two new exhibits,  “Dreams Come True” at the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Tim Burton show at MOMA happening at the same time this year, after very little representation of film and animation art in museum shows.  The Tim Burton show is the first ever one man show of film and illustration art at MOMA.   I hope this signals a greater acceptance by the art community to welcome what i call “stepchild art”, art not cool enough to be outsider, not traditional enough to be accepted, into the many artistic genres long embraced as “real art” by the art critics and art snobs of the world.  I also hope, as i am an eternal optimist, that in the near future some teacher somewhere will recall one of these shows and think of the artistic genius a teacher long ago allowed to blossom in Tim Burton, and support the quirky nontraditional art of some budding artist.  Who knows who’s future MOMA show we might be attending as a result?

 

In the meantime, celebrate your own appreciation of individuality and unique vision.  Do yourself a favor and scurry your eight monster legs or your striped socks on up to NYC to see Tim Burton at MOMA.  Your eyes and your hearts will thank you!
 TimBurton tunnel

 

 here’s me at the entrance, with all my press info. into the belly of the beast!   sweet! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

this is the piece in the corner of the dark room.  Tim has always been a sucker for all things carnival… 

 

 topiary burton

 

 Here is the topiary in the sculpture garden.  Just in time for the holidays!

 

 

 

 Burtonsketch

 

 Teen goths everywhere would no doubt faint at the sight of this awesome doodle spectacular.  Our favorite director’s mind made ink! 
 

 

 

 

 

TimRogerson with everyone

Grading Disney’s D23 Convention

It started months ago…when we heard from our superconnected Disney folks they were planning something really big, a sort of Disney version of San Diego Comic-con, through the new fan group D23.  Should we go? Some of the art galleries who do what we do go to all the cons, they have their own walls, they ship their art and their salesfolks, and either boom or bust.  The deciding factors vary…some cons are better than others…

 

We’ve done a very few. and we’ve sold tons of art and we’ve sold nothing at all.

So we were thinking, what could we do? We love our Disney clients.  I know a lot and have been doing it a gazillion years.  We always love finding new clients… what could we do?  

 

Lately we’ve had quite the time finding vintage Disney that we can trace all the way back to the studio, and I have to be able to do that when i sell vintage art.  The wider awareness of animation as “real art” has made collectors accept and turn their focus towards Disney interpretive art:  I mean, they have come to look beyond their family rooms, and accept Disney into their living rooms and bedrooms as well. and fine art interpretations of Disney subjects have allowed wider placement of the art in their living spaces…

 

This has been happening in no small part because of the company licensed to create and market the Disney interpretive art, Collectors Editions, headed by MIchael Young.  A serious Disney insider, he saw the changing tides while still with Disney, and has made a great business of promoting interpretations of Disney subjects by fine artists, some of whom have come from other genres, some of whom are longterm Disney artists.  

 

We’ve been, to be honest, doing incredibly well with their artists at our gallery for some time now.  We have sold more images that have turned into limited editions than any other gallery.  We still sell vintage Disney cels, although they have to be researched within an inch of their lives.  Of course, as you know we do a swift business in the art of Harry Potter and Star Wars–and we’re expanding into other movie and illustration art, when we find amazing artists, which we’re always searching for…but as far as D23 goes, we thought we’d do well selling the Disney interpretive art.  

 

I was pretty sure there were tons of potential collectors that had been to the Disney parks and seen or bought the Disney Fine Art limited editions, but didn’t know the originals were available or accessible.  Our clients tell us stories that the “cast members” at the park stores never believe them when they say they have the originals to what’s hanging on the store wall…I thought, if they don’t know, how many collectors aren’t aware that they have access to these originals?  

 

Michael Young knew us when we first opened our gallery almost 16 years ago, when in our first year we were asked to be on the Disney advisory board and won “Rookie of the Year” from Disney for doing so much business in our first year.
So, by virtue of our long standing success and Michael’s knowledge of my and MB’s business philosophy/wicked classiness, we asked for and were gratefully given an exclusive to represent the original art for the official Disney  interpretive artists in our booth!  

Collectors Editions definitely took a gamble with us.  They gave us over 90 pieces of art, much of it original, and sent all the artists over to our booth, (most of whom are really good friends of ours, its true…) to meet collectors.  That’s some kind of trust and faith in our success and we were honored by it.

 

Meanwhile, in all the time we are planning all this, rumors are circulating within the collector community that the convention is going to be an unholy, unfocused mess.  Even a close Disney insider friend of mine voiced concern–You see, right after the announcement the convention was going to happen, Disney laid off a bunch of middle and upper management, many in the special events departments.  Ouch!   

But as Disney is wont to do, they pulled it together incredibly well just in time.  Although the marketing outside California could have been way better, it was still well attended and enjoyed by the majority of the collectors with whom i spoke.

So…what happened there, who was there, how’d we do?  

 

First let me say i had both MY Michael, (known in these blogs as MB)  and my lil sis Coco helping me, which was a first.  Usually MB stays in the gallery, and I’m doing these on my own, which, he has said many times, is nearly impossible and kinda nuts.  After Comic-con i lost my voice for 3 weeks.  And i’m a singer.  Cautionary tales should be heeded!

So we closed the gallery, put a note on the door, forwarded the phone, and went to Anaheim…A few hitches excepted, we all got along really well.  we’re family, so we weren’t sure….who was going to be the drama queen?  our answer?  apparently no one!

 

D23DAY minus 1:
We had to get up at 5 am and drive from Anaheim to Canoga Park, which should take 45 minutes or so, but this is LA!  So 2 1/2 hours later we get the van, load up all the art, and get it back to Anaheim–2 1/2 hours later!  Now i understand my friend Tony always saying “i’ll be there somewhere between 10-2pm…well, the weather was gorgeous the whole time…I have to assume that’s what inspires people to keep living there.

We put all the art up.  It looked gorgeous, and we were the only booth in the retail section of the show (“collector’s showcase”) with actual walls.  ($1400, if you’re curious) Proud of ourselves, we went back to our room at the Candy Cane Inn, the only family owned hotels near Disneyland, had some wine and cheese, and went to bed…oh.  and then got up at 12:00 am to meet some potential new clients for drinks!

 

D23DAYS:

An incredible line, as you’d expect, to get into the show, which opens at 8 am.  An incredible line to get into the “Dream Store”, which it turns out is a major weak link, having mostly the same stuff you get elsewhere. Big missed opportunity for Disney…A client actually called it “pedestrian”!  We give that section our first grade, and lowest score, a C-!

We had a mellow beginning in our neck of the woods, which was an enormous room sectioned off between retail businesses and Disney consumer product licensees promoting, but not selling, their wares.  Radio Disney was in the middle of the room, blessedly far from us, because they played Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers incessantly.  I like them both just fine the first 100 times i hear one of their songs…

 

I forgot to mention something REALLY cool.  

Out of all the galleries in the world, we got selected to premiere a new kind of limited edition called “Courvoisier Miniatures”, which this famous restoration guy Ron Stark is creating using all the original colors and paints and equipment they used at the time–for more on that, go  HERE….We got the worldwide exclusive for the art, which was amazing, and the piece is lovely–but it needs explanation or it just looks like another pretty piece of cel art.  It’s a cel of Snow White with chipmunks.  Hand inked, painted, airbrushed, it is representative of an era, an homage to a gallery that saw Disney cels as art from the very beginning.  We did well with it, although i will say it might have helped, if– anytime during the presentation Ron did on Courvoisier and restoration, which was PACKED with people–he mentioned there was a piece was for sale…(!) I mean, as Dr. Evil would say, “throw me a bowie, here!” 

 

 I would try to explain the history and importance of Courvoisier and what the art was and passersby took me for a carnival barker.  We sold it to our clients, to people who already knew us, or already knew about Courvoisier.  The art series is going to take such time and effort i hope it will serve to educate a larger audience than just that! His presentation was interesting but i’d still give it a C for not even mentioning the art at the end of it…

 

Anyway.  There were LOTS of galleries specializing in vintage animation art there.  One gallery friend had a Disney interpretive artist, Mike Kupka in their booth, with his originals, but only our gallery presenting so much interpretive art originals.  We did have to continually explain that they WERE the originals, but once we did, Disney fans were really into it.  They enjoyed meeting the artists, learning about the art, talking about their collections, and just appreciating–whether or not they could afford the art–the beauty, creativity, and skill that a diverse group of artists can bring to subject matter they know so well.  

 

We made some great new clients, enjoyed talking to collectors, and especially to our booth guests!  Tim Rogerson, who had created the official art for D23, spent a lot of time signing art and talking to fans.  He had really long lines of fans waiting for his signature, and his pieces sold out every day.  By Sunday he looked like he could use a break, but he was a trooper.  Tim gets an A for both art and effort, for sure!  He was always either at an event, on his way to one, or coming back from one!

 

We had a beautiful piece he did of Simba, Timon and Pumbaa from Lion King that some new clients were interested in, so i introduced them to Tim–He said,  “Lion King is the reason i’m an artist.”  Apparently he saw the making of the Lion King right before the movie came out, and then saw the movie. That night decided he wanted to be an artist.  Nice, story, Tim!  Later our new friends/clients jokingly asked if we’d planned that meeting!

 

We met the artist Noah for the first time, who is large (6’5) and lovely–someone inside Disney had said how hot he was, so of course to me that meant he had to prove himself.  It turns out he’s a really close friend of Mike Kungl’s, and he was incredibly sweet to our client’s baby, without pretending.  kids can always tell…so that’s enough for me to like him. He did a presentation on the Dream stage, which was next to the Dream store, and while he painted, he talked about how he chooses his colors, how he sees his paintings progress, and was incredibly comfortable and gracious with his crowd of fans.  His presentation–and, ladies, his smile– get an A!

 

Once we met him and liked him, we sold the heck out of him!  We are also excited about a new style of art he’ll be doing involving classic movies, that will be really cool.  If you love Casablanca, or Wizard, or Hitchcock, or whatever, you’ll be really into it too.

Jim Salvati, the movie production painter who’s work we sold so well at the Harry Potter convention, stopped by, and we talked about the movies he’s worked on and what he’s doing next, which as usual is top secret.  James Coleman, who created backgrounds for Little Mermaid, Black Cauldron, Fox and the Hound, and lots of other Disney movies, hung out with us in our booth with his new limited edition.Michael loved talking to both of them, and they had some amazing stories.  Jim Salvati worked with Andy Warhol!  James Coleman worked with some of Disney’s nine old men!

 

Movie poster artist John Rowe came by for a while and we sold several of his pieces.  His collectors really like him because he’s into symbolism and can explain everything he does in his art.  Mike Kungl came by, and hung out quite a long time with us.  Then Noah came by and that’s when i discovered what close friends they are!  We’re very good friends with Mike and his wife Dana, and showed up at our booth with a brand new piece from a series he’d been up until 4 in the morning painting, called “Tink-tini”–It got a HUGE amount of attention.  He’s been all over the entertainment news lately, which has made his art more expensive, so he created this new series that collectors could more easily afford, by painting a great image of Tinkerbell in four colors.  (good idea, good marketing!) Of course i’d only give my lovely artist friends an A.  Not a grumpy or pretentious one in the lot, only happy, grateful, lovely guys.  The artists who were supposed to show up and didn’t get an incomplete.  Remember those from college?  You’d get them for not showing up?  Enough of them and you’d fail.  Who says there are no parallels to real life in the educational system?

Meanwhile, outside our little world, there were big events with John Lassiter, where they played the whole of the new 3D Toy Story.  There was a Princess and the Frog panel with all the major animators where they showed 1/2 an hour (!!) of the movie. I don’t know much about the events with ABC and Disney tv stars, although i know Miley Cyrus was involved, and there was some kind of fracas at the Kelsey Grammar event involving security and police, which somehow Donny Osmond restored order to and then the fun resumed (D turned into B+, extra credit to Donny!)….The highlight for most attendees was a panel with Johnny Depp and Tim Burton promoting Alice.  That was loved by everyone who went to it–A.  For each of these events they took everyone’s phone into a “phone and camera check” , so some of the events were poorly attended that followed the biggies, and i heard it took a LONG time to get them back, so we give that part a C-.  

 

They showed Nightmare in 3D, had a Sleeping Beauty showing with her voice, Mary Costa, and a Beauty and the Beast showing with her voice, Paige O’Hara, who premiered her own paintings of Belle that i sold at the show! I spoke to her quite a bit and she was delightful, and so wonderful with her fans.  That all gets an A, but you can’t give Mary Costa anything else, really.  She rocks.

I know lots of other events happened, but we were there by 7:30 in the morning and were so busy we rarely left the booth–especially when we had artists there!  The consensus is everyone had a great time.  There were a few glitches here and there, and it could have been better attended, i think they said 40,000 attendees.   Hopefully next year it will be better promoted from the onset.  I think it has a good chance of turning into a pretty fair approximation of the Disney version of Comic-con long term, but it took them many years to become what they are now… which some would argue is:  bloated, overpressed, overhyped, overcrowded–(remember my Harry Potter panel had 175 seats and 600 in line!) so we all hope Disney’s D23 will grow slowly and carefully, and keep offering new and exciting events for the fans every year.

 

After D23 was over and we took back the art we hadn’t sold, and drove into LA to stay at the awesome and laid back swanky Sunset Tower Hotel.   I saw Elizabeth Moss, who plays Peggy on the awesome show Mad Men when we pulled into the hotel driveway!  We had $20 martinis, saw a bunch of movie stars and musicians, and i got to hold a new friend’s Emmy!!  

MB, Coco and I finished our trip by going down to Santa Monica with good friends.  Randy Martinez, a Star Wars artist and recent author of “How to Draw Monsters”.  I have all the original art from it and will be premiering in late October in honor of my favorite holiday!  We also loved seeing his partner Denise Vasquez, with whom he’s writing a book on sketch cards.  We all met up with Mike Kungl and Dana, and Mike Kupka.  That’s two Mikes we’ll be doing more art shows with, so check back on that…!  We took Coco to the Santa Monica pier for the first time, and put our feet in the ocean, thanking LA for a great and successful show.  Santa Monica and the beautiful weather get an A too.  We expect to at D23 next year breaking this year’s record for making sales and great new clients.  Afterwards i’ll have find someone’s new Oscar to hold!  

If our experience with D23 were a high school report card, we could almost get a full ride at the college of our choice.  Almost.  but they might expect us to plump up the aspects that are lacking.  And so we say Disney, plump up the aspects that are lacking, and your fans will give you a free ride.  

Of course, maybe you should all go next year and decide for yourselves.  I am notorious for finding something to like in everything…. I grade on a curve.  

 

  here is a collection of pics from D23: 

 

TimRogerson with everyone

Tim Rogerson with fans

 

 

rogerson signing

 

drawing rogerson

Tim Rogerson and drawing

 

 

Lots of artists d23

Michael, Coco and I with a bunch of awesome artists

 

 

Noah painting

Noah painting

 

 

Michael with Coleman

 

Michael talking to James Coleman

 

Paneld23

 

Disney Fine Art panel

 

 

Comic-Calm: How to Survive San Diego

DO YOU FEEL INSANE TRYING TO GET PREPARED FOR SDCC? TRY NEW CALM-I-CON!

 

I’m imagining a commercial for some new drug made especially for us gallery owners who are freaking out about the HP con and the San Diego Comic-Con.  

You know, maybe Jon Favreau or Kevin Smith is the spokesman, and it’s called 

“CALM-I-CON “….

 

Kevin Smith says, “Use new Calm-i-Con for “CON STRESS”  Side effects include patience, a wicked sense of humour, and an ability to get everything done in less time than you ever thought possible!

 

Because when your partner of 10 years says you’re “ill tempered” and that you should “have a drink”, its time to take stock about just how much con stress is oozing into your interactions with the ones you love…

 

Mind, i’m aware i’m not brokering peace in the middle east, I mean, i sell cartoons for a living after all…but the folks who broker peace in the middle east DO buy from me, (umm, well, at least one of them does) and so i know animation, illustration, and film art is important in at least one way that inspires and motivates me to find as many new and interested clients as i can: the art i sell can reframe someone’s day in seconds, pull them from the intensity of their work day, be that peace talks, experimental brain surgery, wall street trading, or 3 screaming toddlers.  

 

My personal experience with the power of animation and film art is from when my sister was killed.  I was told about her car accident while i was at work.  (which i wouldn’t recommend…the gallery had a pall over it for a long time even the most insensitive of foot traffic could discern) At first, for about six months or so, I could barely look at the cels of Winnie the Pooh, Bugs, etc.  It was like they were mocking my grief.  At the time I remember wishing i worked anywhere else…but within a few months after that i starting really understanding the power of the art.  It was like the movie “Sullivan’s Travels”. (google, imdb, or watch that if you don’t know the reference..it’s worth your time. Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake, directed by Preston Sturges) No one could ever talk me out of the power i believe cartoon and film art has to bring people joy and a feeling of warm nostalgia.  Even the art from Alien and Blade Runner does that!

 

The point is I take selling this art, and my place in this corner of the art community very seriously, and I’d certainly rather be the one to bring the above mentioned joy than one of my competitors, not because i aim to own a house in Hawaii, but because we give to charity, tend to be less hard sell, strive to educate our clients and have really wonderful partnerships with the artists and collectors/folks from whom we buy art.  To be found and appreciated by new clients is a huge part of success in small business.  

 

Well, the cons are a major part of finding new clients.  In my case, they are also a way of educating them.  I’m going to be presenting or taking part in 3 classes and panels relating to Harry Potter, one shows the history and design of the official art released by Warner Brothers of Harry Potter, and one is a workshop where we’re storyboarding 

either HP fan fiction or scenes from Deathly Hallows.  I’m also on an HP panel at Comic-Con (which i’m excited about.  We get special stinking badges) So this stuff requires preparation, packing up, compiling, shipping…Oh. We also got 2 worldwide exclusives, AND our gallery is the only one in the whole of Comic-Con that will have original art by John Alvin, which is getting harder to find by the day!  So there’s the preselling, (don’t want my current fabulous clients to get wadded undergarments)…

 

sidebar:  The weirdest thing about my job is as i’m building the website, writing our blog, twittering, facebooking, finding new art and artists, interviewing for my videos, creating new educational series vids, etc, i remember…

 

oops.  I’m supposed to SELL ART!  

 

Anyway, this lead me to being so stressed out some of my clients/friends came to the gallery in a sort of cartoon art sales intervention, and went about the place doing my bidding so i could get everything done in time.  Did i mention there are only two of us?  Which leads me to ask, why do small businesses that only have a few people running it pretend they have a huge staff?  Why isn’t it more impressive that everything runs and is successful with only a few making it all happen?  Doesn’t that prove the business runs well and smartly and as a client you’ll be dealing directly with ONE WHO KNOWS THE ANSWERS?  I love that we don’t have a bunch of people working for us.  (except in the last few days!) 

 

There are only a few of us in the animation and illustrative art sales business doing truly well at this moment.  Two of them are run by trust fund babies.  In our gallery there isn’t a cash infusion waiting in case we make bad choices or no one shows up.  But our clients DO show up.  And they tell their friends.  And people find us on the web.  (working on our site!  know its hard to maneuver!   please just call me if you can’t find what you want…as god/goddess is my witness, we are soon  going to have a site that is educational AND easy and searchable!)

 

Meanwhile, tell your friends.  Watch my vids relating to HP…    We loved  the different cool t shirts we created that my little sister and I wore–the one that says “hey, fan boy, soap is sexy” was created by a client as a gift.   

 

Wish me luck. Don’t worry.   I’ll be taking my “Calm-i-con”

 

L

 

Holiday Parade at ArtInsights

 

Just came back from playing Belle in the Reston Town Center holiday parade.  I asked my sister Coco to play Cinderella.  She looks so much like her, she could be hired at Disney.  We also had the 501st Legion with us in the parade, and they are always wonderful to have–helpful, very interested in charity (we love that!)…

 

I’ve played Snow White (there are pictures…), Maleficent, the Queen from Snow White, Cruella, A fictitious professor at Hogwarts, a pirate on Jack Sparrow’s ship, Princess Leia, the Grinch, Bugs Bunny, and now, Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  

 

Just when you wonder what good going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England will do…since when I dress as Snow White I look not a little like a drag queen I have discovered kids just love princesses, and they won’t notice that instead of 15 she might look around 35.  Today as Belle I get spontaneous hugs. Bless them, I say…

 

We have been so busy this year we haven’t had time to update what we’ve been doing on this blog, but let’s just say we’ve spent lots of time out at conventions and special events…

 

like: 

I was at the Harry Potter premiere in London for the very last movie and walked a red carpet that is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for its length.

 

We had our very first panel for The Art of the Hollywood Movie Poster at the San Diego Comic Convention.  (It went so well we had folks who had sat in on other panels just to be able to get into ours!! a great sign!)

 

We were also at Leakycon, went to Paris and the South of France to visit animators and go to a family reunion, and went to D23, where we were the only ones who had ONLY original art by Disney interpretive artists.  

 

I’ll tell more when I ever write “ArtInsights: The World Tour.”

 

All of it went incredibly well, and we’ve had our best year so far!  

 

We have big new things in store, and have plans to work with more wonderful artists we met on our travels, but just getting through the year doing what we planned was amazing!

 

We haven’t been actively open as much this year, because we’ve been gone so much so for those of you interested in visiting us, give a call and make sure we aren’t off somewhere doing ambassador stuff for the art of film, or visiting John Alvin’s wife Andrea, or some such fun thing, because we’d love to see you!

 

Meanwhile, one of the big additions to our offering (and workload!) is we started including movie reviews on our web magazine more and more, and Cinema Siren is featured on Patch now, not just a few favorite Patches, (like Herndon.patch.com and kingstowne.patch.com, both of which are edited by good friends) but often we are featured on tons of Patches all over Northern Virginia and Maryland, and we’ve had up to 200,000 people read one review so far.  Should we aim for a million???

 

Not sure where that will take us, but we know it will expand awareness of film art, which is good, since it takes a long time to write them, and we take it seriously!

 

We are just finishing up the opening of Chuck Jones’s 100th Birthday kick-off, (an honor from the family) and we were involved in the first Washington West film festival (I was a juror) and we represented Chuck’s family at the festival.  I also voted for some amazing animated films and met some great film makers.

 

We’ve interviewed some great artists this year, and covered some great events (like the Harry Potter premiere!) and look forward to doing that more and more!

 

Our big new deal this December is some John Alvin art we’ve actually been authorized to sell for his estate, and we are trying to get as much of it on our site as possible.  We want also to try to change to Paypal International so we can take payments from all over the world without a headache for the clients, and so we can be assured everything gets processed smoothly for everyone.  We’ll let you know when we get all that together!

 

Keep checking back to see more of John’s art, like originals from Blade Runner and E.T. when he was working on the posters for those films.  VERY exciting!

 

New artists are joining us all the time, but we are only a few of us here, so we add them slowly!  Check back for that too.  We also have a new intern, Victory, so if she answers the phone, say hi to her, she’s a great help to us.

 

Lastly, if you appreciate our web magazine, my interviews, reviews, and our educational perspective, both inside the gallery and out in the world, tell the world about how wonderful we are.  That’s how we get our best clients, is through word of mouth.  Usually once people start buying from us, they find we are jolly good fun!!

 

Thanks and happy holidays!

 

Leslie (and Michael!)

 

 

 

Things are Warming Up in the Art World!

 

 

As it says in “Hello Dolly”, (and Wall-E!)  “It only takes a moment”… for everything to change.  Brrrrr, it’s COLD in January… for us life is about finding art no one in their right mind could refuse.  I could say I trust in the universe on that, and maybe that’s true, because invariably we find something spectacular and our clients are beside themselves with glee.  Is it enough to skip headlong through the financial daisies?  Sometimes.  Mostly, though, it’s like hibernation.  We wait and work, continuing our search for new great art and artists we want to represent, hoping we encounter collectors and artists who match their talents and desires.  

 

All hail the thaw–the warming up!  Something about it here on the east coast and here in our gallery leads to fresh optimism, to deals finally taking shape, interests peaking, and new fans and collectors becoming loyal clients here.  It has happened every year.  And this year is no exception.  I’m SO GLAD!  

 

So what about ArtInsights?  As we’ve sprung forward and are moving to summer, what’s new and exciting?  

 

Well, we just returned from a great trip to LA, Burbank and Hollywood, and interviewed a slew of incredibly talented artists–animators and illustrators and film artists.  For the most part we have some of their original work or are representing them in some way, or hope to in the future–and they all have very interesting stories to tell and lessons to teach– 

 

Let me tell you about some of the very talented artists well known in Hollywood and the exciting partnerships we are entering into:

 

        

 

We are working with artist James Goodridge, who is still a working artist in Hollywood, having worked on Sucker Punch, True Blood, HP7.1 and HP7.2, as well as a host of great recent movies.  He created images for Wall-E, and that work is filled with heart and the best of what the movie became.  I discovered i had Mr. Spock as my first love in common with his wife…and his interview was inspiring– this artist teaches how determination mixed with talent is an unbeatable combination!  

 

        

 
 

Things are changing in the Disney interpretive art world as well.  We are just now putting together the interviews for some of the best and brightest artists who have worked inside Disney and we’ll have original interpretive art by them available either by commission or as they become available.  There are artists like Lisa Keene, who has worked at Disney since The Black Cauldron era and has had a hand in many movies over the past 15 years up to and including the very latest, Tangled.  We also talked to art director for The Little Mermaid, Mike Peraza, and will be interviewing him again with his wife, who is also an animator!  Once we heard his influences and experiences inside Disney, you could really see each of these mentors expressed in his own art.  Once again, humble.  and once again, awesome!

As it says in “Hello Dolly”, (and Wall-E!)  “It only takes a moment”… for everything to change.  Brrrrr, it’s COLD in January… for us life is about finding art no one in their right mind could refuse.  I could say I trust in the universe on that, and maybe that’s true, because invariably we find something spectacular and our clients are beside themselves with glee.  Is it enough to skip headlong through the financial daisies?  Sometimes.  Mostly, though, it’s like hibernation.  We wait and work, continuing our search for new great art and artists we want to represent, hoping we encounter collectors and artists who match their talents and desires.  

 

       

 

 

                                 

Also, Acme has stepped up their game in the Disney Studio interpretive art with new artists and images more classically inspired–by artists like the movie concept artist Stephan Martiniere and famed movie concept artist for Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear and Star Wars William Silvers, who we also interviewed for the web magazine.  Bill has been doing original backgrounds for Disney and Industrial Light and Magic (for Star Wars) and has just begun creating a new series of traditional Disney images, as well as a super funky alternative design style he paints on paper called “birds nest”, which really has to be seen in person to be believed.  Totally all about texture and speed, which is the opposite of the mat paintings.  Both express his artistic passion but in completely different ways.  His interview was so great, and I found he would be very inspiring to new artists and those reaffirming their commitment to their own vision.

 
      
 

While we were in LA we all went to the El Capitan theatre–where Citizen Kane made its debut in 1941, and saw the exhibit by Disney artist Andreas Deja that was part of the release of the movie “African Cats”.  He created images in watercolor (some of which were turned into limited editions) of a variety of African wildlife, with a portion of proceeds to benefit the African Wildlife Foundation.  I interviewed Andreas about his career and heard some great stories and trivia and the video is on the web magazine!

 

   

 

For more information about these artists you can call me or check them out online on our gallery site, as we add new art, and each of the interviews we’ve done!  And of course,  we’ll always add more information and interviews as we find them or conduct them!  Some of the artists we just interviewed aren’t quite ready to be seen yet (Disney gets the first OFFICIAL eyeball) so just keep checking back and we’ll have new surprises showing up often now!

 

Lastly, the folks over at Pixar allowed a few interpretations of their films by Disney interpretive artists, and we got to sell some of the originals–we were very pleased with their images, and since many of these artists are our friends, we love to see the excel.  Check these images out!  They are also on our site, so if you’re into Pixar movies, go look at what is available from your fave Pixar release…(mine are Monsters Inc, Ratatouille, and Wall-E)