Memorial Silent Art Auction for Simon Chung: The night of

Memorial Silent Art Auction for Simon Chung

The Memorial Silent Art Auction for Simon Chung took place on the second floor of the Animation Guild building. I arrived at the very beginning with a decent but manageable crowd, which served me well, as I was able to view most of the pieces with relative ease before the inevitable madhouse that ensued. Indeed, the gallery was packed that night as family members, friends, and colleagues of Simon gathered to celebrate his life, and bid for artwork to help pay for his medical bills and debt.

Auction artwork

Auction artwork

The walls were practically covered from top to bottom with artwork by familiar names from the animation industry, most notably the director of the Academy Award-winning “Adam and Dog,” Minkyu Lee, whose pencil drawings of Anna and Kristoff from “Frozen” hung from almost every corner of the room.

"Anna #3" by Minkyu Lee

"Anna #1" by Minkyu Lee

A stage at the far right end from the entrance provided gallery-goers with an intimate glimpse into the sketchbooks of their dearly departed friend. As I pored through the pages of those sketchbooks, rife with quotes from the Holy Bible, and human figures in a style that reminded me of Ekaterina Khozatskaya, I could not shake off feelings of guilt, as if I were somehow invading Simon’s privacy. So strong were these feelings that, out of respect, I refrained from taking any pictures of the insides of those books.

Simon's sketchbooks

In the end, most of the pieces were auctioned off, and $34,000 was raised. The best part was that my former roommate Kalia Cheng made a bid for my piece and won! Meaning, I’ll be able to see it whenever I visit her apartment. Looks like I won’t be missing my piece too much after all.

My ex-roommate Kalia won my piece!

Memorial Silent Art Auction for Simon Chung

Memorial Silent Art Auction for Simon Chung

I will be at the Animation Guild tomorrow night for the Memorial Silent Art Auction for my co-worker Simon Chung, who passed away on the eve of August 8. All proceeds will go to his family.

It was a pleasure knowing Simon, who was so full of life in the face of death. He had the cheerfulness of an innocent child, and the stride of a man in charge of his own destiny. Even without words exchanged between us, it was a delight just to be in his presence, watching him doodle his surroundings in his pocket Moleskine sketchbook. His infectious smile was the best thing about him.

I learned about his condition not too long before his final hiatus. We were having lunch near work one day, when he told me about his battle with multiple myeloma, and the chance that he might die from it. I was so in shock, all I could muster was a weak apology. He reassured me that he fully accepted his situation, and that he was at peace with whatever may come of it. His demeanor and the calm sound of his voice told me that he meant what he said. This is what I remember whenever I feel like crying over his passing. I stifle my tears, as I feel they would be an insult to him.

My submission for the Memorial Silent Art Auction for Simon Chung: "Tribute to A Dance Around the Moon"

This is my contribution for the auction, my “Tribute to A Dance Around the Moon” that I made in 2010 for the “American Dad” art gallery, Freak Show. I had the option to auction it then, but I held onto it because I was proud of my work, and didn’t want to let go. When I learned that Simon’s art auction, which was originally intended to fund his medical needs, was still going on despite what happened, I looked up at that Charles Altamont Doyle-inspired drawing on my cubicle wall and felt its time had come.

I believe in God, and the promise of eternal life. I know that even though Simon no longer walks among us, his spirit remains alive and well. He never left.

Hey, Simon. This one’s for you, buddy.

“Family Guy” 5 year anniversary drawings

Five years to the day that I started working on “Family Guy” was a Sunday that I spent drawing gifts for the people whom I felt had a hand in putting me on the show. From my co-worker Mick Cassidy, who put in a good word for me when I applied for the job, to my “phone buddy,” Brei Brantley, whom I would often speak to before being connected to producer Shannon Smith when making follow-up calls on available spots, and to the very people who interviewed me, not one, but FOUR PEOPLE: Shannon, animation associate producer Brent Crowe, and supervising directors James Purdum and Peter Shin. You bet your ass that interview was scary as hell. I think it was on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, but I could be wrong. Either way, it is indisputable that the following week on Monday, April 27 was my very first day working on the show.

These gift drawings see the return of Lois Griffin as Yukari Hayasaka of “Paradise Kiss” fame. They were penciled with a blue Prismacolor Col-Erase pencil, inked with a Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen, and colored with warm grey Prismacolor markers on S143 Maruman watercolor paper postcards.

"Family Guy" 5 year anniversary drawing for Peter Shin

"Family Guy" 5 year anniversary drawing for James Purdum

"Family Guy" 5 year anniversary drawing for Shannon Smith

"Family Guy" 5 year anniversary drawing for Brent Crowe

"Family Guy" 5 year anniversary drawing for Mick Cassidy

"Family Guy" 5 year anniversary drawing for Brei Brantley

For more of my FG/ParaKiss pieces, check out the following entries:

“Family Guy” meets “Paradise Kiss”
FG/ParaKiss panel
Birthday drawings

Katherine Brannock shines at Laluzapalooza

Katherine Brannock

I am standing next to the back entrance of the gallery, poring over paintings of skulls on wooden plaques by an artist unfamiliar to me under the moniker Jinx. My eyes gaze for a second in the direction of the front door of the vicinity – perhaps I am looking for my friend April Connors, whom I have brought with me that night – when a beautiful figure glides through the entryway before me. She is like a character that has just stepped out of the pages of one of my favorite mangas, Ai Yazawa’s “Paradise Kiss,” dressed in a monochrome outfit of blacks and grays, with a top and skirt combo, black tights and heels, head adorned in a feathered hat, a red ribbon providing the only pop of color tied around her neck, and the pièce de résistance: a dramatic white fringed bolero. She is my high school classmate Katherine Brannock, the reason why I have made the journey to the La Luz de Jesus Gallery tucked away in the far corner of the Wacko Soap Plant store in Los Feliz, for the artist reception of Laluzapalooza.

A week prior to this, I had run into Kathy for the first time since 2003 at Comic-Con, where she was exhibiting with her extensive portfolio of ballpoint pen drawings, and a new hardcover collection of sketches from French publisher Xupuy. It was wonderful to see that she was still flourishing artistically, for Kathy was already very talented when I knew her in high school – the most skilled artist I knew in those days, actually. As we caught up on each other’s lives, I learned about her profession as a tattooist, and how we both have similar aspirations of publishing our very own graphic novels. Then there was the upcoming Laluzapalooza, where her work was to be featured among four other artists: Frank Forte, Hueman, Jinx, and Sean Stepanoff. Obviously, I felt compelled to show my support.

"Subconscious Miasma" by Katherine Brannock

"Saturn Returns in the Arms of Deuterium" by Katherine Brannock

Katherine Brannock wall

At the gallery, Kathy and I talk about her work: ten sketchbook pages, and one elegant piece of a larger scale done on Fabriano paper, that hang on a wall solely dedicated to her. Gloriously rendered in ballpoint pen, with occasional touches of bronze ink and watercolor in red and golden hues, her works are inhabited by fantastical humanoids and anthropomorphic creatures floating in the ether, their long flowing locks of hair, and inky sinewy things resembling oil and smoke, spiraling around them in a symphony of gradations and textures. Details that stylistically, to me, seem like a ménage à trois between Eric Canete, John Tenniel, and Claire Wendling, with H.R. Giger standing on the sidelines as a kind of referee.

"Silverlake" by Sean Stepanoff

Kathy’s work speaks to me in a way that the other exhibit pieces do not – the same goes for April, as I will later learn that evening. The La Luz de Jesus jury appears to agree with me on this, as indicated by their glowing review of her in the Laluzapalooza Jury Winners list, her summary being the longest. Not to say that the other artists’ works do not display the tremendous talents of the people who breathed life into them; they do. It’s just that Kathy’s voice is far more new and unique in comparison to the still lifes of skulls, quirky hipster caricatures, and creepy 1930s cartoons that have been done many times before.

"The Incredulity of Saint Donald (Caravaggio Tribute)" by José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros

And who hasn’t chanced upon a picture or two lampooning the likes of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and other Disney characters, as seen in José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros’s Profanity Pop exhibit in the adjacent room? Though I must say, as a Disney fan, I find this unexpected solo show thoroughly enjoyable.

Laluzapalooza is on display until August 31, 2014, at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Feliz. For more pictures of the artist reception, check out the set on Flickr.

All Outta Bubblegum

Hyaena Gallery

The crowd of people congregating outside should have been indication of what lay through the open glass door of Hyaena Gallery. That is, a scene of near-pandemonium reminiscent of my experience browsing through the gift shop of Tokyo Disneyland, so filled to capacity that personal space seemed non-existent, what with people bunched up together like the hydrophilic heads of a cell membrane. This was the start of the opening reception for All Outta Bubblegum, an art show dedicated to filmmaker John Carpenter. In fact, the very man himself was in attendance, standing in the back where the artworks for the show hung. It explained the excitement, as gallery goers were lining up for the chance of a quick exchange and photo shoot with the cult classic icon, which I myself could not resist taking:

Me and John Carpenter

Contributors to the show were my co-workers Mick Cassidy, Mark Covell, and Joe Vaux. Their participation naturally attracted friends from Fox TV Animation and various others from the animation industry, creating a joyous reunion for former co-workers to chat over realistically grotesque sculptures of the Thing, and the random cuteness of Michael Myers and Starman depicted, in anthropomorphic fashion, as cats. Mark Covell’s “Six Must Die” was a personal favorite, a glaring anomaly amid the gallery’s sweeping collection of punk-like imagery and caricatures. An oil painting with a more classical feel, it portrays Captain Blake and his crew from “The Fog,” capturing the creepy visual beauty and blueness that I appreciated about the film, despite the ending that vexed me so much.

"Six Must Die" by Mark Covell

“All Outta Bubblegum” is going on now until April 30, 2014, at Hyaena Gallery in Burbank. For more pictures of the event, check out the set on Flickr.

Risqué {dirty little pictures}

Risqué [dirty little pictures]

The above image is of the writing on a black wall that obscures what lies within the Kilsby Gallery of the Long Beach Museum of Art: a series of 8″X10″ artworks that comprise Risqué {dirty little pictures}, the brainchild of artists Nathan Spoor and Jeff McMillan, and LBMA executive director Ron Nelson.

I heard about Risqué through a Facebook status update by my co-worker Joe Vaux, one of the show’s participating artists. It grabbed my attention immediately for two reasons: 1) I have always appreciated erotic art ever since I first discovered it in middle school through a book called “Art Nouveau and the Erotic” by Ghislaine Wood at my then-local library in Rancho Peñasquitos, 2) I was curious to see what Joe’s interpretation of the word risqué was, considering his portfolio of surreal, chaotic worlds inhabited by cartoonish monsters, none of which have ever conjured the word, or anything close to it, in my mind upon viewing.

I shared my latter surprise with Joe’s assistant director Mark Covell at the opening reception of Faces over a week ago, asking if he had seen Joe’s submission, and what his thoughts were on it. Not spoiling anything, he simply described the painting as being “gross, even for Joe.” When I finally got to see the piece for myself over the weekend, I found myself in agreement with his assessment:

"A Match Made in Heaven" by Joe Vaux

Risqué, yes, but predominantly gross, and unsurprisingly Joe Vaux, with the childlike innocence of a kid poking fun at adult private parts. It certainly has a charm to it.

Other works that I enjoyed at the show:

"White Anthurium" by Soey Milk

"Drip" by Audrey Kawasaki

"Self Portrait as a Recovering Catholic" by Katherine Doyle

Risqué {dirty little pictures} will be up until November 10. Check it out, preferably with a significant other.

For more photos, view the set on Flickr. Due to the explicit nature of the subject matter, some photos have been marked with a “Restricted” safety level, and are only available to Flickr members.

FACES by David Boudreau

"Wolverine" by David Boudreau

Currently going on at the Center Stage Gallery in Burbank is Faces, the first solo exhibition by my cubemate David Boudreau. It features his best celebrity/fictional character caricatures from the past three years. Last week on Friday, September 20, was the opening reception for the show, with David’s friends, fans, and co-workers in attendance. A successful turnout that was very well-deserved, considering David’s talent, and how hard he has worked to bring this exhibit to life.

Truly, he has come a long way since his interest in drawing portraits was renewed back in 2010 (according to his artist statement on the Center Stage Gallery site, he used to draw portraits of his friends when he was in high school). I remember there being times when production on “Family Guy” was slow, and how we would have downtime that would last for days, sometimes weeks. To offset boredom, David would pull up photos of celebrities or fictional characters from the internet, and draw them in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro. That was how it started.

His subjects ranged from Captain Jack Sparrow to Mick Jagger. At first, he simply sketched and drew. But as his skills increased from the amount of work he was producing, it wasn’t long before he graduated to full-blown paintings with a level of color and detail that I, or most people, would not expect to come out of hours spent on software for storyboarding.

Nowadays, he works in Photoshop, but don’t be fooled: this guy takes no shortcuts (i.e. filters, textures, backgrounds). Every brush stroke, sketch mark, and detail are his, and his alone. David hopes to work traditionally someday, and he cites his father, and Sebastian Krüger as his inspirations.

Faces will be on display until October 12. And for those in the Los Angeles area who would like to know more about David Boudreau, you can meet the artist himself for a conversation and live painting demonstration at the Center Stage Gallery this Saturday, September 28, from 1 PM – 4 PM.

For photos from last week’s opening reception, check out the set on Flickr.