Earlier this year I was invited to participate in this pretty cool art show curated by the Studio Miners. I don’t usually do theme shows, but this one was right up my alley. The show focuses on paying tribute to all the cartoons characters we all enjoyed watching as kids. I chose to pay tribute to Dennis the Menace, the cartoon was cool, but the comic was way better! Hank Ketcham is still one of my favorite comic strip artist of all time. My painting is featured as the front of the show flyer, if you’re in NYC, swing by and check out an awesome show, myplasticheart gallery never disappoints!
MoneyGrip makes his return later this year as part of Squidkids Inc. popular mini series “10-doh!”. Inspired by the classic NES cartridge, the 10-doh! characters packs a punch at 32 bits. My design was inspired by the best video game ever made, that’s right! Super Mario bros!!! Super Money Grip drops later this year, keep your heads up! Check out the Kickstarter page for series 2, there’s some good incentives, back that shit up yo!
Three years ago today, me and my wife packed up our belongings, we sublet our place in Queens and moved out west with our little 2.5 year old daughter. We checked in to the Safari Inn in burbank on a Wednesday afternoon, with no place to live, no jobs, and no car…did I mention we had just found out we were expecting our second child two weeks prior. Our plan was to rent a car and find a place to live by the weekend. Being that all the animation studios were in Burbank and Glendale, we knew where we had to be.
The weekend came and after hustling like a New Yorker for cheap rental, we found ourselves moving into our Burbank spot on a Saturday morning. As we moved in the hustle continued, I had a couple of phone numbers from contacts I’d made through working conventions, freelancing and friend recommendations. I made some calls and was able to score two tests, one from Warner Brothers and the other from Disney. This meant I had to run to Ikea to buy a table to draw on, being that we didn’t have any furniture yet. The Disney test was a storyboard test for a show called Kick Buttowksi and the Warner Brothers test was a character design test for Batman, The brave and the Bold. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what I chose to focus on, lol. While I waited for a call back, we decided to back ourselves into a corner even more by buying a car…I know right, wtf?
The following week came with a phone call from WB and a job offer, I couldn’t fucking believe it!
Warner Brothers animation is a union studio, this means you get health insurance, that health insurance kicks in when you’ve put in 6 months of work. I mention this because my son Niko was born on THE day my health insurance kicked in!!! How fucking crazy is that??? I am not a very religious man, but…THANK GOD! Working at WB is exactly what I dreamt of it being as an animation student at SVA, the artist caliber is really high and it is truly inspiring working with many of the artist there, I have learned so much from my co-workers and I have to thank James Tucker for giving me a chance to rock that test.
While I was busy at WB, my daughter Maya was in pre school and Niko started up at day care. My wife Toni, who is an animator, was working from home remotely for a couple of east coast studios. She managed to score a gig animating on the Ricky Gervais show at Wild Brain studios before landing a full time gig at Disney Publishing World wide, where she gets to animate on apps for mobile devices.
Before leaving NY, I had decided to walk away from animation and focus completely on my personal art and my brand. The truth is I had lost a lot of love for the medium and industry being that it was merely a shadow of what once was. Despite all this, I still felt like I owed that kid who spent all nighters animating away on his senior thesis a taste of what the west coast had to offer. We were so focused and confident on making this happen that we never stopped to think what if it doesn’t? Looking back at it, I feel like I had a lot of people looking over my shoulder and making sure we were at the right place at the right time.
Hey guys, peep this dope kickstarter campaign for Jordan Ahearn’s new designer toy documentary. I know there’s a bunch of documentaries made already about the subject matter, but this one seems to focus on custom toy artist. Jordan came by my studio and interviewed me for the film, I checked out a couple of segments and so far, it looks pretty dope. Here’s the video, if you like what you see, click HERE and fund the project!
Cool video the peeps at Bait put together from our signing a couple of months ago.
As soon as I saw the figure I knew exactly what I was going to do with it, luckily the concept came with a soundtrack to keep me focused.
I was pretty happy with the final product! MF Fonzo will be on exhibit at the myplasticheart gallery in NYC until mid February.
Well, I’m back working in-house at WB animation on a new direct to video movie. I haven’t worked in-house since the summer, I’ve pretty much been freelancing from my studio since then. It’s always a honor to work with all the insane talent at the studio and a blessing to have a steady paycheck. I lucked out this time around and got a pretty cool office space, which I share with Lynell Forestall, another kick ass character designer. The nature of the animation biz is project to project, so we’ll see where 2013 will take me.