I truly enjoyed myself at CTN Expo this past weekend. The annual show is a feast for the eyes and the insightful panels provide an insider view of the cartoon industry rarely seen at art institutions. It’s a mix of animation veterans and eager young kids looking for a way into this rather odd and quirky business. This is an incredible show and I’m amazed we continue to have naysayers when the show comes around each year. The critics are talented, experienced colleagues who are part of the animation industry. Do they not care there’s a show that celebrates our incredible art form? Or, realize that ComicCons and other shows have long since lost interest in the cartoon business and given us the back seat in favor of the big, blockbuster comic book franchises? Here is a show for animation professionals! Why the hell would you not support it?
I chalk the whole thing up to apathy. It has plagued the cartoon business since my arrival back in 1956. Let’s face it. Animation professionals have always taken the back seat. I still remember the lack of respect given artists over the years. Everything from being excluded from studio wrap parties to not getting a screen credit. By the seventies, some of these issues were addressed. However, in spite of its incredible earning power animation has always been the bastard child in the movie industry. Today, everybody wants to climb aboard the cartoon bandwagon. And, no wonder. Animated films make a crapload of money. That’s why I love CTN. Animation professional are not only given respect - they’re celebrated. And in my view, that’s a good thing.
Okay, let’s move on. While at the expo I had the opportunity to view some vintage Disney animation art. Most were pencil sketches from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty - or, so it would seem. The sketches were on bonafide six and a half field Disney three hole punched animation paper complete with the old fashioned peg reinforcements we used back in the olden days. However, the sketches were a cause for concern because I worked on Sleeping Beauty back in the fifties. Had I delivered sketches like these to Marc Davis, Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas or Ollie Johnston, I would have had my head handed to me. The Donald Duck photograph below is indeed a sample of original Disney art from the nineteen fifties and this is the real deal. How do I know this you ask? Because I made the damn sketch back in 1956 While working for Volus Jones, Al Coe and Bob Carlson. Hardly a stellar sketch, it’s more on model than the “original” stuff I observed at the Expo.
Okay, enough said. I need to take Elsa’s advice and, let it go - let it go. Overall, I had a grand time at the Annual CTN Expo and can’t wait until next year. With any luck, the eager kids attending the animation show will probably be my boss.