Monday, December 10, 2012
Sunday, October 7, 2012
It's humbling a great to "discover" an artist who inspires you so much, but had existed for so long without your knowing. At Tokyo's Bunkamura Museum, I was lucky stumble up on the works of Illya Repin (1844 -1930) a great Russian painter whose works can mentioned in the same breath as Leo Tolstoy as being one of Russia's great artistic treasures.
Without a doubt a master painter in terms of his ability to capture realism. (At a time where impressionism was becoming the new flavor of the month) His ability to capture the spirit of people almost borders on caricature and almost has an "animated" feel to it.
Subtle caricature, dramatic staging as well as subtle social commentary, there is certainly something Norman Rockwell-ish about Repin. There is this love of people and ability to capture the most appealing or compelling parts of people in his paintings and portraits. Truly inspiring. Today will be the last day Repin will be exhibited at Bunkamura in Tokyo but someday a trip to St. Petersberg's Russian Museum would be more than worth it to see his works up close again.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
I was rummaging through my old martial arts reference books. Many of which are related to Chinese martial arts. One of my favorite historical references is a comprehensive collection of Bruce Lee's letters to his family, friends, martial arts and film colleagues: Bruce Lee: Letters of the Dragon, Correspondence, 1958 - 1973. edited by John Little.
The last letter written by Bruce Lee on the last day of his life, July 20, 1973 leaped out at me:
July 20, 1973. Adrian Marshall Suite 920, Century City 10100 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, Calif. 90067 U.S.A. Dear Adrian,
1/ the deal with Hana Barbera
2/ Warner's proposition
3/ Titanas from Italy
4/ Andy's proposition from H.K. which I will explain to you when I see you in person
All in all, it will be a hectic schedule with television shows, United Press interview, etc., spending one week in L.S. and leaving on Aug. 18th to New York for another week of publicity, maybe Johnny Carson Show and so forth etc. And then, my publicity tour will officially end on Aug. 24th and on Aug. 25th I will meet Linda at L.A., ready to come back to H.K. hopefully in one piece.
In the meantime, if there is any preliminary discussions that you can start without my presence, go right ahead. However, I would prefer you and I sit down first and discuss the whole plan of the income tax situation before we proceed on. Also, I would like to meet with you first before meeting with Raymond Chow and then both of us will hear him out. By the way, there are also other propositions of books, clothings, endorsements, etc. At any rate, I will talk to you personally when I see you.
Take care my friend,
Very truly yours,
PS: Looking forward to a sincere opened and honest relationship between you and I to really do something fair and square. By the way, SY Weintraub had just called and will be flying here to H.K., supposedly to have devised a super plan for me. At any rate , I won't sign anything until I and then maybe Raymond and/or SY sit down and we all talked. So get prepared!! See you soon.
At the top of the list Bruce Lee wanted to discuss with his attorney, Adrian Marshall was a "deal" with the animation studio Hanna-Barbera, which in 1973 was exploding with made for TV animation content. Hanna-Barbera's other Chinese themed cartoon, "The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan" had already run its one season course. However the faces we were seeing on television slowly but surely were becoming more ethnically diverse. It's doubtful that Bruce would have landed a whole animated TV series this at this point in his Hollywood career. But it's likely he could have been slated as an animated guest on "The New Scooby-Doo Movies" which featured both real and fictitious popular personalities such as Cass Elliot, Davy Jones, and Batman and Robin.
If this deal with Hanna-Barbera was already greenlit, it's a no-brainer that the studio's animation great Iwao Takamoto would have overseen the project. Iwao Takamoto, former assistant to Disney's Milt Kahl was a world-class draftsman. Would have loved to see his model sheets interpreting Bruce Lee for animation.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
I'm sure anyone who has tried to pick up a pencil understands how frustrating drawing can be.
When I was in college I had two drawing teachers. One drawing teacher was very strict and unforgiving. The other was very loose and open minded. Continually he would say, "I can't teach you how to draw, but I can show you some of the rules." While the other one would say, "NO, it's like this.", taking my fingers like I was a three-year old and repositioning them on my pencil.
Drawing or true discipline in art is something you have to learn from someone else. A master. You can try to reinvent the wheel, but you'd be better off listening very closely to someone who has been at it longer that you and build off that.
There are tons of "How To Draw" books out there. But there aren't so many art books that teach you "How to Think". Lots of books or tutorials are quite similar to what you see above.
The ability to draw is an indispensable skill for all artists. No you don't have to be a Rembandt Van Rijn, but the ability to "visualize"what you want to communicate will take you far.
Burne Hogarth the great illustration master, is arguably one of the most referenced artists in terms of dynamic illustration. (ie, American Comic Books). His books like Dynamic Anatomy or Dynamic Figure Drawing are a staple in almost every artist's library.
Found an interesting clip of master Hogarth actually drawing and breaking down the human head in an instructional film. He breaks down like a science where the points are of the human head, but again he left out one important point. How to think.
Here are some art instructors, tutorials and books which I have found to be particularly informative on thinking about your approach towards drawing.
Matthew Archembault - Drawing Tutorials Online
Mike Mattesi - Drawing FORCE
Walt Stanchfield - Drawn to Life
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Once made the mistake of telling a Tokyo resident that Walt Disney couldn't actually draw Mickey Mouse well. She never spoke to me ever again. Seriously.
The image of Walt Disney is damn near sacred in Japan. Or Tokyo anyway. It's difficult to leave your house and not see at least one Disney related image between home and your final destination.
In honor of Walt Disney's 110th birthday, the Disney Family Museum put on an exhibition with the Matsuya Ginza department store in the high-end shopping district of Ginza.
Occasionally pedestrian, but it was very much worth taking a look (despite the aftertaste of the sledgehammer merchandising). Lots of artifacts from Walt's personal possessions as well as artifacts from the past and wall in the Bambi section that paid tribute to Tyrus Wong that was nice to see.
Below are some shots from the exhibition. Apparently Walt's early drawings of Mickey Mouse were there, but I didn't get to see them. They closed the doors on me. Retribution for spoiling someone's magic I guess. That's what I get.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Amazing work. Sadly pictures weren't allowed in the exhibition, but I was able to get a shot of this:
Friday, April 6, 2012
For the next forty years, Kahl was Disney graphic style, a fact he proudly touted:
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Like it or not this manga is a marker for this generation of Japanese and manga-philes. I'm sure in about 10 or 15 years some Hollywood studio will acquire the rights to do a live action version of it....and likely screw it up.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
Celebrated but at the same time underrated manga artist and animation director, (my favorite Japanese animation director) Kastuhiro Otomo will have an exhibition of his original art at 3331 Arts Chiyoda starting April 9th and continuing on to May 30th.
The exhibition entitled, Katsuhiro Otomo Gengaten will feature the history of Otomo's artwork (3,000 original sketches) as well as 2,500 first time released pieces from his most globally recognized work, Akira. It will also premiere his new artbook, Otomo Katsuhiro Artwork KABA2.
Tomorrow marks the 1st anniversary of the 3/11 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster otherwise known as Great East Japan Earthquake. 30% of the event proceeds will go to donations for relief and aid still needed in those areas.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Her work is the antithesis of femininity in Japan. Her designs were always BIG and BOLD and sometimes a little BAD. Instincts say there will be a tribute to Eiko Ishioka during the 84th Academy Awards this coming Sunday. For those who she is not a household name with will likely say --- "Oh, she's the one who did that?".
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Inner city NYC kids in the 1970's and 80's who had any drawing talent often carried not a sketchbook, but a black hardcover 'tag book'. Tag books were saturated from cover to cover with illustrations bleeding with color done in magic marker. This was a sketchbook for graffiti art. A 'tag' referred to a graffiti artist's nom de plume. Which usually was the subject of their art pieces found on subway cars.
Animated cartoon characters such as the Looney Toons, Disney and Marvel characters would often appear alongside these huge graffiti mobile murals, but the cartoon artist that arguably influenced graffiti art the most was Vaughn Bode.
Bode's characters Cheech Wizard, Lizard, Cobalt-60 or his voluptuous "Bode girls" like Belinda Bump were staples of graffiti art. Bode influenced many young urban artists to pick up a pencil (or a spray-can) inspiring them to create.
Bode entered the NYC underground comics world in the early 1970's along with his peers like Robert Crumb. Vaughn Bode called himself a "graphic animator" and and greatly desired to be an animator at Disney's. After a stint in California, Bode he made several unsuccesful attempts to enter the animation industry. This was pre-1975, roughly around the time Disney started its first animator training program.
It's only poetic justice that only a couple of years later Bode's work would inspire an animated feature film based on his illustration style: Ralph Bakshi's 1977 animated feature, "Wizards".
2012 is the 35th anniversary of "Wizards". A commemorative blu-ray and new book will be available later this year as noted on Cartoon Brew.
Vaughn Bode is the patron saint of all graffiti artists around the world and still continues to influence artists today. Vaughn Bode died in 1975. His son Mark continues to create art in the same style and spirt of his father.