Ren and Stimpy creator and classic cartoon lover John Kricfalusi is appearing Thursday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, Calif. The often controversial, but always entertaining Spumco International founder will present ‘Remember When Cartoons Were Funny?,’ a retrospective look at time-honored animation from the masters of the art. Following the show-and-tell, Kricfalusi will draw his famous characters and sell his own animation artwork, with a portion of the profits going to ASIFA Hollywood’s efforts to establish its comprehensive animation archives.
‘The event on Thursday is basically me giving sort of an overview of ‘cartoony’ cartoons,’ Kricfalusi tells us. ‘If you look at all the books written about cartoons, they tend to look down their noses at the most creative cartoons ever made’cartoons that are cartoony and actually use the medium. In fact, all the Disney books are always telling you that in the early days cartoons used all this crazy slapstick and symbolic graphic jokes. The things that make catoons different from any other medium, Disney looks down its nose at and all the critics tend to follow suit. So I’m going to go and champion all the Cartoons that do exactly what cartoons do best, which is to make funny picurtes. I’m going to show cartoons that illustrate the whole development of cartoony cartoons and explain the many times in history when people have tried to squash funny cartoons.’
Among the classic bits of animation Kricfalusi will be showing are a few of Walter Lantz’ Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cartoons, as well as favorites from Fleischer Studios, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery and Terrytoons. Using these examples and more, he will the illustrate the basic elements that make up the language of cartoon storytelling.
Kricfalusi was one of the first to make cartoons with Flash, a medium that has often been maligned with the lack of ‘cartooniness’ in modern animated TV shows. However, he says Flash is perfectly capable of the squash & stretch, exaggerated poses and all-around sillyness that goes into the cartoons he loves.
‘I’m bringing two cartoons that I just made this year in Flash, and they’re about as cartoony as you could imagine,’ he comments. ‘One of them I did with Katie Rice [http://funnycute.blogspot.com], a super-extreme, cartoony, brilliant cartoonist who does pretty-girl animation. She and I did this cartoon and we had it animated at Copernicus Studio, a Flash-animation studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia. And I just did another thing where I did all the drawings myself and Copernicus animated it. So there is a way to use [Flash] and still make it cartoony. It involves more drawings.’
On the new development front, Kricfalusi has been tapped to create some animation for Tenacious D., the novelty musical duo fronted by actor Jack Black (Nacho Libre). ‘Those guys are living cartoons,’ Kricflausi notes. ‘They’re more cartoony than the catoons that are on TV.’ In addition to animating a music video, the K man is doing an animated opening for the upcoming feature film, Tenacious D. in The Pick of Destiny, and has designed the toys that will launch with the movie.
When he’s not making cartoons, Kricfalusi is a proud supporter of the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. ‘There’s never really been one place where you could find everything there is to know about classic cartoons,’ he says. ‘There are a few books written about them, but the information is a bit sparse and generally tends to repeat the same stories and the same critical opinions’all heavily biased toward Disney. So it’s really great that there’s going to be one place where you can see all of these cartoons in order, in context of the time.’
The Van Eaton Galleries is currently hosting an online sale of John K’s animation art at www.vegalleries.com. To RSVP for the live event on Thursday, call 818-788-2357, or visit www.vegalleries.com/rsvp.html. Check out Kricfalusi’s animation blog at www.johnkstuff.blogspot.com.