As the song goes. "I left my heart in San Francisco...."
Its been a few weeks since I have had a chance to update the blog with traveling and work, classes---you name it. As I sit here writing this update in the studio Spring break has started for me--and boy can I use it!
The last month has been a real mash-up between the strip, traveling to San Francisco and then back to Philly and classes. In San Fran I visited the John Pence Gallery twice and the Disney Family Museum to see the Snow White exhibit and to attend my buddy John Heebink and his lovely wife Bonna's wedding reception. I also got to catch up with some old friends who were also attending the celebration. I love San Francisco! I've been there 4-5 times now and almost moved there back in the 90's. It was a quick trip, only 4 days including the travel so I packed a lot in. I stayed at a great Hotel, the Hotel Carlton down near the Tenderhorn. It was a great little hotel with a new redesign, great freindly staff and located a few blocks away from Union Square.
One of the zillions of old great pulps to be found at Kayo.
Most galleries I go into don't have any drawing up and certainly not prominently on display. One of my current favorite artists Jeremy Mann has work on display there. I first became aware of his work a few years back at the USArtist show that was held here in Philly. Principle gallery from Virginia had some of his work on display as well as Lynn Bodge. I've followed Mann's career as he has been becoming an even better painter--working more with figures than just with the landscape. I also saw work by Travis Shclat, Jacob Collins and many others including Peter Van Dyke who teaches at PAFA.
Detail of two of Mann's paintings
Along with my buddy Scott Cohn I hit the Disney Family Museum and saw the amazing Snow White show. I had seen many of the drawings before but never in person---just fantastic work.
I find when I see that level of drawing and craftsmanship I feel sad that we had lost so much by everything going 3D. It was remarkable to also see how they were really inventing the modern cartoon with more realistic figures. The craftsmanship alone was astounding when you see the animators clean up drawing and then the cell next to it that had to "keep the drawing"--amazing delicate draughtsmanship!
I wish every animation student or hell--fine art student could see this work in person. It was also one of the best museums I've been to and maybe the best ever display wise. The layout and presentation of the work, touch screen technology was just so well designed, eye pleasing and enjoyable. APPEAL! That was the key word. Disney was always appealing from design to action, the whole corporate thrust was an appealing product and experience, and while it is common coin to knock things as "Mickey Mouse", being that well done isn't easy by far. I don't know if any other company ever pushed as hard to always grow the art and craft and appeal as Disney. Even today, decades after Waly has passed you can still see that esthetic on display at the museum.
Mary Blair's tabaret
One of the hundreds of drawings from the story dept. on display as well a the amazing watercolor backgrounds! It was almost an overload of material to really take in and appreciate and I was awed, something that I am rarely. The amount of talent and craftsmanship and inventiveness was off the charts. I think its so easy to look at something this old and say, "oh, how old fashioned". But this was cutting edge and we are standing on the shoulders of all of these immensely talented men and women today.
Two great story drawing from Pinocchio, the top one by the great Gustaf Teggren.
OPEN STUDIO NIGHT
Right before I left for San Francisco we had the annual school wide Open Studio. The whole school is open to the public to cme in and visit the 10 floors of open artist studios to see what we all have cooking. Last year I was on the 4th floor but now I'm up on the 9th floor. As usual I didn't get to make it around to all floors myself as I was pressing the flesh and yakking about my own stuff--but I did get a chance to run about and snap a few pics before it was all over.
Here is a shot of my studio ready for Open Studio, and below a bunch of pictures of my fellow PAfa students and their studios. Our floor had a theme of the Gnome Prom, and there were all kinds of gnomes , including Noam Chomsky.
The weather was a bad actor this year and so I think some people stayed away, but it was a fun night and I had a great response to my current work.