Sixties Nostalgia

If you’re feeling nostalgic for the sixties, find yourself dreaming about those days of revolution, and are craving art — take a look at Barbara Mathes Gallery’s exhibition Spaces of American Pop: Allan D’Arcangelo, Joe Goode and Robert Moskowitz. These three American artists captured the changing spaces of the American landscape during the 60s by using existing materials and Pop imagery in imaginative and original compositions.

Allan D’Arcangelo (American, 1930-1998) took the American highway and infused it with personal significance by using collaged postcards from his hometown of Buffalo, NY. Jack Kerouac rings in my head, “What’s Your Road, Man?” While Robert Moskowitz (American, 1912-2001) takes the conception of painting as a window onto the world — playing with the interior/exterior space of the studio. And Joe Goode (American, 1937) departs from the simple depiction of Polaroids in his use of black canvases that are punctuated by illusionistic photographs of the blue sky – suggesting a contrast between day and night, or indoor and outdoor.

All three artists display a playful and alternative approach to painting, leaving us desirous of the depicted times in which they came from.

We would be remiss not to mention these other great shows opening this week!

Zurich, Switzerland

Bernard Schultze und Hann Trier at Galerie Orlando

Kleine Orte, Grosse Künstler. Ascona, Oschwand, Dessau, Murnau… at Galerie Orlando

Frankfurt am Main, Germany


San Francisco, California

CHRIS DOROSZ: TIERGARTEN at Scott Richards Contemporary Art

Isca Greenfield-Sanders: Somewhere Else, Somewhere Good at John Berggruen Gallery

New York, New York

John Walker: Recent Paintings at Alexandre Gallery

Phoenix, Arizona

Judith Kruger: Outside In- at Bentley Gallery

Run Faster Art Sketches Incoming...How It Works

Run Faster is the next core rulebook for Shadowrun, and among other things will include alternate build rules for characters, as well as the metahuman variants.

The art is sprinting in and thought I’d include a thumbnail from an artist for one such illustration.


At the very start of the process, most artists will turn in 2 to 3 thumbnails, providing a different take or composition on the scene described in the art notes.

For example, here’s the art notes:

9. “Illusionist” (½ page color horizontal character 8.5”w-x-5.5”h)

A male elf shadowrunner (ethnicity up to you) in black fatigues holds a pineapple grenade in one hand. He holds another hand out, and a slightly translucent grenade is appearing in it. There is an explosion going off right behind him, but it does not seem to be damaging him in any way.

As you can see, the artist pegged those, but provided some different options for the Art Director (in conjunction with the Line Developer) to choose from. And note this isn’t an either/or proposition. Brent ultimately might choose various elements from the different thumbnails for the artist to put in a final sketch that will be submitted. And off of that submission a final approval is given to proceed to the final illustration.

And of course, once that comes in, I’ll share it so you can see how it transitioned from this into the final form.


anonymous said:

Hello! I'm writing a story were my character is illusionist but I was wondering on how to write his scenes when he uses his 'magic'. I'm struggling on do I write the scene as he does it or do I write the scene from how the audience sees it?

This is up to your style as a writer and the story you want to tell. You can describe the magic as it happens from either scenario: what the audience sees and is amazed by, or as the character is carrying it out. Do you want your readers to see the magic, or the behind the scenes? Would the story be better if you show the levitating sofa from the front as the audience sees it, or if you show the character surreptitiously glancing at the wires holding it up?

You can even do both. The audience sees one thing and the illusionist sees another: the illusionist describes what the audience sees while simultaneously describing how it happens on his end. Or, the audience sees the trick as it is meant to be seen in the beginning of the story, and as the story goes on, we learn more about the trick and how it’s performed and begin to see it from the illusionist’s point of view.

In the end, it all comes down to how you want to tell the story. These are just a few thoughts on the matter.


Everybody is doing it


Cerydian “Jack” Dawnspur - bard, illusionist, romantic, poet; retired wanderer and playboy. If you’ve been reading any of the stupid story shit I’ve been writing for three-ish weeks you might ask WHO THE FUCK IS THIS CERYDIAN ASSHOLE. Well, there’s him right there!


Mytthanus - ranger, hot-headed and deadpan avenger of the green dragonflight. Handsome-ass, svelte kaldorei guise hiding his young wyrm form; rugged veteran of combating the Nightmare, distrustful of the other flights for their seeming inaction; the fire to his companion Liasra’s aloof ice.



L’Illusionniste / The Illusionist
Film d’animation / Animation feature film
Sylvain Chomet (2010)
Written by Sylvain Chomet and Jacques Tati

Jacques Tati originally wrote the script for The Illusionist. It was a love letter from a father to his first daughter, but never got produced. Sylvain Chomet, director of The Triplets of Belleville / Les Triplettes de Belleville, adapted the script and once again used his own original animated style.

Official Selection: 2010 Berlin International Film Festival
Official Selection: 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
Opening Night: 2010 Edinburgh International Film Festival
Academy Award. Animated Feature, nominated (last 3)
César Academy, winner.

Watch on

Simpsons couch gag by french director Sylvain Chomet (La vieille dame et les pigeons, The Illusionist, les Triplettes de Belleville).

Part 2: 10 More Animated Movies Beyond Pixar

Part 1: Animation Beyond Pixar
Part 3: Another 10 Animated Movies Beyond Pixar

Hey! It looks like people really liked the first post, so let’s do it again. This time I’m going to expand the rules a little bit and show you 10 movies that were not produced by Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, or Studio Laika. Hope you find something cool!

Kirikou and the Sorceress (Kirikou et la Sorcière, 1998)


The breakout hit of French animation master, Michel Ocelot, Kirikou and the Sorceress is an invented fairytale drawing from west African folklore. You’ll immediately notice the style, how it alternates between very lush, lovingly rendered scenery and somewhat limited animation. A lot of the limitations of this movie can be chocked up to the infant-status of French animation at the time, but in spite of a few reused walk-cycles Kirikou is a wonderful film! In fact, Kirikou was such a success in French theaters that it spawned its own sequel in 2005, Kirikou and the Wild Beasts.

The story recounts the birth and early travails of Kirikou, an impetuous but incredibly clever infant boy. Kirikou’s village has been all-but enslaved by the evil sorceress Karaba. It’s up to Kirikou to keep his ailing villagers safe from the sorceress, and find a way to stop Karaba for good.


Sita Sings the Blues (2008)


Sita Sings the Blues is an interesting creature, it’s actually been released under the Creative Commons license, so you can download it for free right now. A labor of love by cartoonist/animator Nina Paley, the movie is entirely animated with Adobe Flash. Ordinarily I’m not very fond of flash animation, it’s become the new fad in TV because it’s cheap, and has unfortunately ushered in a new era of bland, limited animation cartoons (Teen Titans Go, I’m looking at you). That said, Sita Sings the Blues is a wonderful example of how an artist can exceed & in some cases exploit the limitations of Flash to create really charming cartoons brimming with beautiful designs.

Featuring 4 different animation styles and an overabundance of musical set pieces, Sita Sings the Blues contrasts the many trials and tribulations of the mythical Sita (wife of hindu folk hero, Rama) with the waning days of the animator’s own marriage. Interspersed between these two stories is a more light-hearted retelling of the Ramayana (the story of Rama) by indian shadow puppets.


My Dog Tulip (2009)


My Dog Tulip recounts the trials and tribulations of one Mr. Ackerley as he attempts to raise his bratty german shepherd, Tulip. The most striking feature of this film is its styling, which can charitably be called “impressionistic” but more accurately be deemed “scribbly”. Everything is freeform, and the models shift and twist into the most expressive shapes for their given scenes. Considering that every one of its 60,000+ frames is actually an individually-rendered digital painting, the movie becomes quite impressive.

This is a very restful movie, aimed at an older audience, so save it for when you next want to relax. At once charming, silly, dry, and very juvenile, it’s hard not to smile as you watch Ackerley’s animated self blunder through raising his dog. And though Ackerley shamelessly anthropomorphizes Tulip, the film (quite refreshingly) will never let you forget that she’s a silly, fidgety dog.


Perfect Blue (Pāfekuto Burū, 1997)


While Japan produces a lot of animation, most of it is just miserable crap. That said, every so often someone amazing gets to make a movie. Writer/director Satoshi Kon was one of those people.

Kon’s directorial debut, Perfect Blue, is an intriguing, upsetting, suspenseful, and frightening movie. A young pop star leaves music for acting, but is traumatized by her first role. Shellshocked by her first experience, the actress falls into a fugue state, and the people involved in the production start dying. All signs point to the murderer being the actress, and while she should be recovering she’s inadvertently pulled into the world of an obsessive stalker who has been watching her every move.


The Illusionist (L’Illusionniste, 2010)


Based on a recovered script by legendary French comedian/director, Jacques Tati, The Illusionist is the story of the last bright spark of an aging stage magician’s career. Tati loosely based the film on his own stage career, which happened to start at a time when many stage acts were being muscled out of venues by young, hip rock bands. Supposedly Tati wrote the original script as an attempt to reconcile with his eldest daughter, whom he had abandoned as a baby. This is heavily-disputed. Delicately-rendered and beautifully-told, the Illusionist features no distinguishable dialogue, but its sentiments come across crystal-clear.

An older, struggling French magician takes a gig out in the Scottish boonies, and in the process picks up a new fan who thinks his magic is real. The result is a quirky father/daughter relationship between two strangers, the adoration of one keeping the other going during one of the darkest times of his life.


The Secret of NIMH (1982)


If you’re going to talk American animation beyond the big 3 studios then you have to go back, before the Disney Renaissance. If you’re going to talk American animation before the Disney Renaissance then there are two giant, inescapable names that you must address: Don Bluth and Ralph Bakshi. Let’s talk about a Don Bluth movie.

It’s easy to forget, now that Disney has been ascendant for 25 years, but from the 60s to the end of the 80s Disney’s animation studio nearly shut down half a dozen times. Having endured this long decline, Don Bluth, one of Disney’s veteran animators and directors, had enough. He left Disney and took 16 of the studio’s animators with him, intent on getting back to basics and producing feature-length animated films again. His name might not ring a bell, but you’ve definitely seen his movies: An American Tail 1 & 2 (the Fievel movies), All Dogs Go To Heaven, Anastasia, and the original Land Before Time were all Don Bluth movies. The Secret of NIMH was actually Bluth’s first post-Disney feature film, which unfortunately means it’s less well-known than some of his later successes.

The Secret of NIMH shows us the life of a simple farm mouse, Mrs. Brisby. Mrs. Brisby’s son is very sick, and she desperately needs help moving him before her home is destroyed by the farmer’s plough. The only ones that can help are the mysterious rats of the rose bush, strange, almost magical creatures that seem to have known her late husband.


American Pop (1981)


If you’re going to talk American animation beyond the big 3 studios then you have to go back, before the Disney Renaissance. If you’re going to talk American animation before the Disney Renaissance then there are two giant, inescapable names that you must address: Don Bluth and Ralph Bakshi. Let’s talk about a Ralph Bakshi movie.

The king of rotoscope, Ralph Bakshi is the guy who really created and explored the idea that animation doesn’t always have to be for kids. What’s rotoscope? It’s literally animating on top of live-action footage. For ages it was used as a pre-CGI method for creating special effects (the original Star Wars, for example, featured heavy rotoscoping). Bakshi was the first director to use it to animate entire movies, admittedly with mixed success. Rotoscoping allows for incredibly realistic movement, but is (surprisingly) bad at translating facial expressions.

Considered one of Bakshi’s better movies, American Pop is an alternate history retelling of the rise of pop music in the United States. The story is presented through the eyes of four generations of a Russian Jewish immigrant family, each of whom has a profound impact on the music industry of their respective day. It’s a fascinating look at the type of people who defined musical genres through the years.


Azur & Asmar: The Princes’ Quest (Azur et Asmar, 2006)


Another original fairytale from Michel Ocelot! Ocelot has this fantastic skill of drawing from all points of a culture’s folklore and making a movie that’s at once evocative of its inspiration but satisfyingly original.

This time around Ocelot draws from dozens of Arabic folk tales, including some of the more infamous stories of 1,001 Arabian Nights. He also employed a new technique for 3D animation, rendering non-photo-realistic figures on top of painted backgrounds. The effect is absolutely stunning, and gives the entire movie a storybook feeling without looking like a series of drawings. It’s absolutely overflowing with rich colors and intricate arabic designs, and is a complete treat to behold.

The story: On the French countryside two boys are inexplicably born with the exact same destiny: to save the djinn fairy of the east. One is born to a wealthy french household, the other is born to an Arabic nursemaid working in the same household. The boys grow together, are forced apart, and eventually meet back up as fate guides them towards their shared destiny.


A Town Called Panic (Panique au village, 2009)


Most of the animated feature films worth a damn are dramas and serious adventure movies. They can start to weigh on you, if you watch them one after another. That’s why it’s so fantastic that movies like A Town Called Panic exist. An unapologetically silly, borderline nonsensical comedy that injects you into its bizarre world for 80 minutes and keeps you entertained the entire time.

A stop-motion animated feature that uses action figures (kind of like the old KaBlam! shorts on Nickelodeon), based on a Belgian/French TV series of the same name, A Town Called Panic recounts the lives of Horse, Cowboy, and Indian. Three roommates in a small rural town. It’s your average guys-order-too-many-bricks-for-a-birthday-present-then-accidentally-destroy-their-house-then-as-they’re-attempting-to-fix-the-house-with-the-bricks-aquatic-dwellers-start-stealing-their-half-finished-house romp. And it’s a delight. Highly recommended!


The Secret of Kells (2009)


The Secret of Kells is a glorious reminder that 2D animation is very much alive, and capable of being infinitely improved upon. In this case the movie is animated with stylized 2D drawings, but uses computer graphics to add color-washes and other subtle effects. The overall product is an all-too-rare visual treat in a medium that’s increasingly becoming a victim of computer technology, when it should be a beneficiary.

A young boy raised among monks finds his calling as a manuscript illuminator. But in order to become skilled enough to illuminate the legendary Book of Iona he’ll have to brave the dangerous forests of Kells and discover nature’s secrets from its wild pagan spirits.


Jonathan Meville of The Scotsman wrote: “Edinburgh’s skyline has never looked so good, and if the city didn’t exist it would be hard to believe somewhere so beautiful was real: if locals aren’t inspired to take a walk up North Bridge or down Victoria Street after this, they never will be.”

Stills from L’Illusionniste, The Illusionist. Academy Award nominee.