When I first moved to New York City, back in 1970, one of my holiest of shrines was the 100-year-old Society of Illustrators - there I could see all of my heroes: A.B. Frost, Winsor McCay, N.C. Wyeth, Milton Glaser, Norman Rockwell and others.
As my career moved from illustration to animation, I discovered that the great Society of Illustrators' annual show included what they called "sequential art", and that included animation.
So, for the past few years, I've been able to enter the prestigious Society's Annual Exhibition with my cartoons. Well, this year my film "The Loneliest Stoplight" won the very rare gold prize - and of course I attended the packed awards ceremony. (I had to wait in a long line to enter...)
I gave a very short but heartfelt speech, then we all retired upstairs for food and drink. It was there I got to hang out with my contemporaries - Victor Juhasz, Tim O'Brien, Anelle Miller (the director of the Society), Joe Ciardiello, and John Cuneo. What a fun night!
I'm so happy that the Society recognizes good art in animation. I've always felt that my success as an animator is due in large part to my 15 years spent as an illustrator.
Thank you, Society of Illustrators!
Tim O'Brien, John Cuneo and my producer, Wendy Cong Zhao