I arrived at the opening reception of When Good Toons Go Bad: Villains of Animation Art Show an hour into the event, only to wish I had gotten there sooner. For I had just missed the chance of meeting David Derks, the artist of my favorite piece, “Meowrice Makes his Move on Mewsette,” a Gay Purr-ee tribute. I was talking to Phillip Graffham, the organizer of the event, about how much I loved that piece, when he informed me that Mr. Derks might still possibly be floating somewhere among the sea of people. With wine in hand from the open bar, I then went on a mad hunt for him, hoping that he had not already left, so that I could sing my praises to him for his work.
Thankfully, the gallery provided name tags for the artists, so that the curious could spot the contributors from the general crowd. The downside to this, however, was that it made me an easily identifiable target of interest, thus beginning a series of interruptions to my search for the elusive Mr. Derks, as a few people wanted to know which piece was mine (two actually: Darla Dimple Cats Don’t Dance drawings “Big and Loud” and “Li’l Ark Angel”), or, in the case of mosaic artist Juliana Martinez, if I was some other Kristina that she knew.
The arrival of friends and co-workers was also a distraction, but pleasant ones indeed, especially that of show contributors Joe Vaux and Mark Covell, with wives in tow, and – surprise! – my comics friends that I hadn’t seen in ages, “Pole Dancing Adventures” artist Leen Isabel, and “Hiraku” artist Nguyen Dong. These run-ins pretty much defined my night at the gallery, which was basically about me trying to focus on the art/finding Mr. Derks but failing because I couldn’t resist being social.
By the time I bumped into Phillip again as he was conversing with another artist, I was undoubtedly feeling the effects of the alcohol, and melodramatically lamenting that I might have missed Mr. Derks, which sucked “because I just love Gay Purr-ee so much!” Phillip and his companion seemed quite charmed by this display of girlishness. With a glimmer of hope inside me, I asked Phillip what the man looked like – maybe he was still at the gallery and just not wearing a tag? – and Phillip started spinning some magical description about how insanely tall and good-looking Mr. Derks is, with intense amber eyes, tan skin, and a deep voice made irresistible with an Australian accent…
Of course, I knew he was joking, but, being a single woman and looking (HA! Yeah, right), that didn’t stop me from humoring him with an exclamation of “Damn it! Now I really wish I could have met this guy!”
In the end, I didn’t get my man- I mean, meet Mr. Derks, but at least I got to see some amazing artworks of animation’s most notorious villains. Joe Vaux’s “Black Wolf” was a definite standout in my book, especially since Wizards is my favorite Ralph Bakshi flick.
Show ends on November 29, which is coming up fast. Stop by Van Eaton Galleries today for some exquisite villainy.
For more photos of the event, check out the set on Flickr.