Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pat's Weekly Gif..

This weeks gif is from a music video I animated years ago by The Planets, enjoy.  Weeky gifs will be a regular thing now, I'll get Bill to do the same thing.

Morphing is one of the things that first drew me to Bill's work, and I'm still a big time practitioner. Although, it seems to be a lot more effective when working with pencil.  Here's something similar I did recently in Flash (for PBS Digital, Blank on Blank series), and it just doesn't have the texture..

Stay tuned for more.  For full episode of Blank on Blank (Frank Zappa), and also for the full music video by the Planets.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Jackie Greene

I've got great news - one of my favorite musicians (after Emmylou, of course...), Jackie Greene, has partnered with me to make a mini-musical feature film, using 5 of his most recent songs.  His new album, "Modern Lives", containing those songs, will be released shortly and the animated version should be done some time around Christmas.

Now, I get a lot of requests for music videos, but there's usually only one requirement to my acceptance - I must like the music.  As most of you know, I have certain prejudices in my musical tastes.  I don't like pop (even though I did a very successful video for Kanye West - that's because he was Kanye) and I don't like electronic or experimental. 

There are two types of music I love - country and western - and although Jackie Greene's music is more blues-influenced, I just fell in love with his sound the minute I heard it.  As you may know, he's played with all of the greats, Phil Lesh, the Black Crowes, Larry Campbell (who has played on a bunch of my films, like "The Tune" and "Idiots and Angels"...)

Occasionally I will be posting updates on the program of this mini-feature and also showing some of the cool artwork.  Just the other day, Jackie stopped by the new Plymptoons studio, and we discussed what he was looking for in my animation - he said "weird and psychotic".  Inside, I was jumping for joy, because I felt like I was set free to create images that I'd always wanted to make.  Now I hope I don't get too weird!

Oh, fuck it - let's get TOO weird.

                                      Jackie Greene drops by the studio and meets the crew!

Also, I want to thank my good friend and cousin, Christian Vellanoweth, for connecting me with Mr. Greene.  I think we're going to create some amazing videos!

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Revengeance" premiere in France!!

As you all probably know, a company called E.D. Distribution, based in Paris, has been my major distributor in France and French-speaking territories since 1999 or so - they've released all of my feature films throughout France to great success -

In New York, hardly anyone knows me, however when I walk down the street in Paris, everyone says, "Bonjour Monsieur Plympton!"

E.D. Distribution is very excited about the potential success for our (Jim Lujan and me) new feature film "Revengeance".  However, they decided to change the title to something more French, "La Vengeresse". 

So, two weeks ago I flew over to Paris to do a bunch of interviews and appearances at theaters.  It was a new kind of strategy - because in the past, I'd meet with the press a few weeks before the premiere.  But this time, they decided to do the press interviews as the film was being released. 

There were two problems with the release - first, the weather was spectacularly gorgeous - who wants to go to a cinema when it's a great day to sit in a cafĂ© and talk about Jean-Paul Sartre?  And secondly, since the interviews and reviews appeared just as the film was being released, the early turnout for the film was a bit disappointing.  However, at each appearance I noticed the crowds got a little larger and more enthusiastic.   In fact, at the last few shows there were lines around the block and full houses with rapturous applause.  So apparently E.D.'s release strategy was working.  Vive la France!

Near the end of the trip, I also stopped at the Pivaut school in Nantes, France to give a Master Class, where I screened my shorts and talked to the students about animation and how I manage to survive as an independent filmmaker.  The students were great, they asked a lot of good questions and I had a fun time!

Why is it that the French appreciate my humor, art and storytelling so much, while in the U.S., which represents a much larger audience it's like pulling teeth for me to get any kind of decent distribution?  Does anybody have an answer?

--Bill Plympton

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Me on the Tonight Show?

That's right!  A few days ago, people started telling me that I was mentioned by Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show".  What???  Then while I was in France, everyone seemed to know about my appearance on that show, so when I returned, I decided to Google it to see what really happened.

So apparently they had a segment called "Kid Art" where some kids made drawings of members of Donald Trump's cabinet and Vice-President Pence, and Jimmy Fallon said that the drawing of Pence looked like it was made by Bill Plympton - then a whole on-camera debate started over who Bill Plympton is.  So right there on national TV, they Googled me to determine that I was Bill Plympton, the cartoonist, and not "Bill Plimpton the author".  I'm pretty sure Jimmy's sidekick confused me with journalist & author George Plimpton (different spelling, but it's happened before...) because he mentioned "Paper Lion", a book that George Plimpton wrote.

Then someone in the band (Questlove?) seemed to recognize my name, but he said I was the animator who worked with Frank Zappa - unfortunately, that wasn't me either, that was Bruce Bickford - but it was fun being the topic of conversation on a late-night talk show!

Here's the clip, if you want to see Fallon talking about me and looking me up:

In fact, I'm going to try to contact their guest department, and demand to have equal time to clear up who I am.  Maybe I could draw a caricature of Fallon, Pence or even Trump - then America will finally discover me and my work.  Hey, I've got to start promoting "Revengeance" somewhere, why not an appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show?

The weird thing is, I knew George Plimpton, we didn't really run in the same social circles but we did both live in New York in the 1970's, and we figured we were probably distantly related, though we weren't exactly sure how.  He wrote an introduction for one of my caricature books, and in return I drew this caricature of him: 

So that's a PLYMPTON caricature of a PLIMPTON - and maybe in that drawing, he's making a drawing of me?  Who knows... 

--Bill Plympton

Monday, April 3, 2017

MoCCA Arts Festival

I love the Society of Illustrators!  It's my favorite institution in NYC, and every year they have what's called MoCCA Fest (MoCCA stands for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art).  What's great about it is that it's exclusively for independent artists. No DC Comics, no Marvel, no Disney, strictly artists who have unique styles and make their own illustrations and comics.  I've been working a table there for years (I don't remember the first year I went) and I'm usually the only animator in the bunch, which is good because I don't compete with all the other comic artists.

Lately, I've noticed that my DVDs don't sell as well as they did in the past, so I concentrate more on my original art - and it seems my art is now very collectible, especially pieces from my early films, like "Your Face", "How to Kiss" and "Guard Dog".  Thank God people remember my old films.

Also, it's great to see a lot of my illustrator friends there - people like Steve Brodner, John Cuneo, Felipe Galindo, R.O. Blechman, Arnie and Carolyn Roth.  I'm also looking for a publisher for my new book, "The Art of Revengeance", so I was able to cruise the indie publishers and talk up the book. 

                         with Felipe Galindo, Andrea Arroyo, Peter Kuper and Steve Brodner

One thing I noticed this year, compared to years past, is that there seemed to be a majority of female artists, which is great!  Their stories seem to be a lot more quirky and relationship-focused, which is the kind of stuff I love. 

So if you're around next year, definitely check out MoCCA Arts Festival - you'll have a blast and you'll be supporting young comic artists.