Too Art for TV 3: Joe Strike’s Review

Posted by Guest Author on Dec 14, 2008 in Animation |

Joe Strike's Review

Editor’s Note: This week animation industry insider Joe Strike gives us a second take (my photo tour is here) on the Too Art for TV 3 gallery show that features the fine art side of New York’s animation industry:

Williamsburg Brooklyn is so goddam hip they won’t let you off the subway at the Bedford Avenue stop if you’re not wearing shades & one of those little mini-beardy things just under your lip. Fortunately I fooled the border guard (“wow, look over there – a latte grande!”) & made my way to the Erebuni Gallery on Roebling Street. (Why is a street named for the family that built the Brooklyn Bridge closer to the Williamsburg one?) Making my way to the gallery I spotted big big lights which had lit up the loft building across Roebling for ABC’s Life on Mars:

Joe Strike's Review (Life on Mars shoot in Williamsburg)

However on our side of the street it was opening night for “Too Art for TV 3:” the third iteration of a show devoted to the spare time creations of NY’s animation community that (except for a few video pieces looping in a small dark room) aren’t animated. 

The event (not to mention the free beers being handed out to the thirsty) attracted an overflow crowd, jostling and joshing one another in the brightly lit gallery. Thank goodness the Stay Gold gallery, last year’s venue had shuttered its doors; even this twice as large space might have given a conscientious fire marshal a heart attack. And now, from the event, a few random highlights:

Christy Karacas

Christy Karacas

• Christy Karacas, creator of Adult Swim’s Superjail series had a pair of enormous panoramic murals detailing – in pencil and speed-freak detail – the extermination of a million panicky cats by giant marauding robots. No filler either – every miniscule character had its own terrified expression and bit of business going on. And those pitch-black death rays that turned everything they touched into instant skeletons, or those giant spiked wheels impaling and dismembering the unfortunate… reminded me of my junior high, drawn-in-the-back-of-my-spiral-notebook-out-of-sheer-boredom creations. (Except mine were of giant flying saucers landing in the football field behind the school and zapping everything in sight.);

• From Amanda Baehr Fuller, a vertical trio of interspecies couples and their interspecies offspring: the surly Bigelows (polar bear/raccoon), the happy Doughertys (elephant/walrus) and the unhappy Shapiros (cat/…light bulb festooned robot?), all rendered as flat-colored, black-outlined cartoon-style characters;

Joe Strike's Review

• Behind the bar, two slickly painted pieces by Zartosht Soltani (shown above): deceased (you can tell from the x’s where their eyes should be) plush military bunnies falling from the sky, and the second of a trio of nasty looking, semi-rabbity creatures; images designed to either stop or start you drinking;

Chris George

Chris George

• Schematic-style paintings from Chris George, one showing the cross-section of a death ray machine and the monkeys within hard at work assembling it, and the other of young girls confronting a bear who has just escaped from a paint-by-numbers kit;

• Judging from her trio of paintings in the show, Jen Hill’s fond of an Amish looking fellow who’s fond of the furry critter hanging from his chin in place of a beard;

Hal Lee

Hal Lee

• Hal Lee had a wonderfully creepy, wonderfully rendered black & white drawing of a vast mangrove swamp up stretching off into the distance, with a mysterious glaring figure in the foreground – or rather just his head from the eyeballs up, the rest of him submerged in the swamp. Later on in the show, a more colorful – and equally creepy – tiny watercolor(?) painting from him: a fellow with glowing empty eyes, bedeviled by a trio of demons, one of whom is stretching the guy’s tongue way out of his head. (And what are those mysterious fortresses on the hill behind him? Sez here “his personal work is inspired by his dreams and the archetypal image of the hermit.” Oh.);

• I forget what Alex Smith had up on the walls, but his self-supplied bio is unforgettable: “Alex has a fascination with all things potty and is happy to titter for hours on end to a soundtrack of windy pops and fanny quacks.” Now I know British slang for flatulence; art is so educational…;

Joe Strike's Review

• Very cool assemblage of old electrical/electronic items into retro robots by David Lipson (shown above); they could be extras from Blue Sky’s Robots. (Too bad the website listed for him is an E-commerce pitch for his line of designer plush dolls – “with interchangeable eyes and mouths;” I’d like to see more of those robots, especially the one with the transistor radio I had when I was twelve as its head.)

(Speaking of waybackwhen, it was at this point I noticed the DJ was playing mellow ‘60’s music; I hadn’t heard Donovan sing “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” in a looong time.)

Edward Artinian

Edward Artinian

• A four-by-four-foot painting Edward Artinian, lead animator on Metalocolypse called “Woman in Boxes” was exactly that: 225 tiny boxes, each one with a golden tinted curvy woman in a squished inside in a different way. (She seemed to be enjoying herself though; maybe she was trying out for a Maurice Binder James Bond title sequence.);

• Winner of the “Huh?” award for the night: Stephen Neary’s enormous paper-mache nose, with a hidden fan blowing a breeze out of its single nostril; oh-kayyy…;

Miguel Martinez-Joffre

Miguel Martinez-Joffre

• And the Most Charming of the night: “Don’t Burst My Bubble” by Miguel Martinez-Joffre, the rhyming tale of an elephant who blows a heart-shaped bubble out of her trunk & fends off the animals who want to helpfully pop it for her. Silkscreened, stylized simply drawn beasts. Overall, very Dr. Seussian; instead of Horton Hears a Who, it’s Hortense Blows a Bubble.

Uh-oh, here comes that border guard… he’s probably wondering where his latte is. I’d better get out of here – is there a back door to this place?

Joe is an occasional animation scripter and freelance NYC writer covering animation and sci-fi/fantasy entertainment. His work has appeared in the NY Daily News, Newsday, the New York Press and, as they used to say on Rocky and Bullwinkle, ‘a host of others.’ He is a regular contributor to the animation industry website awn.com, but it’s much easier to visit joestrike.com to see what he’s been up to lately.

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