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An issue filled with diverse sketches from animation students; an interview with a 10-year Pixar employee; articles on Philip Guston and a trip journal to Greenland; and the view of a Danish cartoonist about NY Comic Con.
I was watching a docu-mentary about the Ro-man Empire conquering Great Britain.
The Romans wanted to own the whole world for some reason. The Ro-man soldiers who went to Britain to maintain their new territory went there because it was their job.
The British local tribes were very unsat-isfied with being oc-cupied, so they gath-ered with other tribes to beat the Romans back to where they be-longed.
Sometimes the tribes won, but mosten times they lost. Sometimes they lost because an-other British tribe had told on them to the Romans or had in other ways been bribed by the Romans to help them.
No matter what, the Romans were fighting because it was their job. The British were fighting because it was their mother land, their pride and for what they held dear.
Today there is the same fight going on, but luck-ily way less bloody.
So many movies today are about some average Joe who just had enough of the system and chooses to rebel against it, who stands up for himself and always speaks his mind freely, no matter how much torture is go-ing to fall upon him for saying it.
Today heroes are politi-cal radicals, rockstars or other celebrities who says whatever they feel like, no matter what their record label or MTV tells them to say. Thats what makes peo-ple into the stars they are. Unlike the contem-porary radio hit mak-ers or Wosniaki or the Danish prince Joakim or any of those losers. Who will remember them when they are gone?
The hero, back then and now, is the one who is true to his beliefs. The rest is just all the rest. But it is the rest that makes the hero stand out and break apart what they have passively been building up.
Thanks to: Ro-land Seer, Carmen Hannibal, Pernille Sihm, Esben Lash. Emilie Hem, Mads Lundgaard, Denis Chapon, Kristifir Klein, Lars Kram, Rikke Skovgaard, John Mallet.
Edited by Christyan Lundblad and Igor Noronha.
Supported by the Open Workshop.
Its riles number one liv-ing right isnt fun.
If the children of the Stone Age people had listened to their parents we would still be living in the Stone Age.
- Unknown author
Pernille Sihm, CGA 09
Pernille Simh, CGA 09
Emilie Hem,Lyon, France
Rikke Skovgaard,CGA 07
John Mallett, CGA 07
Mads Lundgaard, CGA 07
W hen I think of Pixar I imagine a huge playground for grown-ups. What is the best thing about working at Pixar and are there any aspects of your job you dont like so much?The list of great things about being an employee
at Pixar is long. The best thing for me is definite-ly the amazing people I am surrounded by everyday at work. Just this past Tuesday I celebrated my 10 year anniversary at Pixar. I attribute my decision to stay at one place for a whole decade to the fact that I am constantly learning every single day from my amazing co-workers.
Graduated in 1996 at Full Sail University, Kris has joined Pixar in 2000 as lighting technical direc-tor for Monsters, Inc. After thaat, hes worked on Finding Nemo (computer graphics artist), The In-credibles (sequence mod-eling lead), Ratatouille (modeling artist), Wall-E and Up (set modeling lead).
Here hell talk about a bit of his experience in the most succesful main-stream animation studio of today.
KRIS KLEIN10 years Pixar employee
As far as what I dont like so much.. this list is of course much small-er. Sometimes things/de-cisions can take a bit longer than Id expect them to take simply be-cause of the size of our productions and this is something Ive had to learn to accept.
Which project you worked on was most fun/ are you most proud of and why?The project Im on
right now is definitely the best/most fun group of people Ive had the pleasure to work with. We have a tight knit group on the Brave sets team and if I had it my way
wed all just move onto the next project togeth-er. Unfortunately, this will probably not be the case as well need to start ramping folks off the team so they can go help out on future mov-ies. Its just always a bit sad to see a team with a great dynamic start to dissolve towards the end of a production.I would have to say the
work that I am most proud of is the set modeling I did on Ratatouille. The amount of love I was allowed to give the ar-chitecture was extremely satisfying and I think it shows on screen. A high-
light of my career at Pixar would have to be getting to work with Brad Bird as a lead of a department on The Incredibles. To this day I consider him one of the greatest film mak-ers to ever make films. I learned, and continue to learn, so much from him as a film maker.
You said Pixar rejected you two times, what do you think convinced them in your 3rd showreel?What I believe con-
vinced Pixar on my third try was the content of my reel and the experience and taste I gained in the
six years after finish-ing my education at Full Sail. My reel was crafted to be exactly what they needed to see, demon-strating the discipline (character modeling/ar-ticulation) I was going for. I took the feedback I got on the prior 2 at-tempts to heart and I demonstrated that I was able to listen to their critiques.
If you were rejected the 3rd time where were you today?As cliche as it sounds,
the key to happiness in your work is to do what
you love. If I were re-jected a 3rd time I would probably still be doing what I am doing for Pix-ar today and Id still be admiring and learning from Pixar while doing it. For me, success comes from a balance of love of what I do, perseverance, ability/willingness to take risks, and contin-ued learning about and refining of my craft. Oh yeah.. dont be a jerk. Nobody wants to work with or hire a jerk :)
What do you think are the main differences at Pixar between today and the time you got in?
Well, we are certainly bigger and have a bunch more movies under our belt. When I started in 2000, Pixar had only re-leased 3 movies and Dis-ney was a partner, not an owner of Pixar.
What are your plans for your further career?I plan to make my own
movies as my next big thing. Ive been screen-writing the past few years and learning about live action film making. That thing I said earlier about taking risks.. that gets harder to do when youre comfortable... but I feel I need to shake it
up and leave my comfort zone to move forward. Leaving a place like Pix-ar to do something like that is something Ive been struggling with for a couple years now. I plan to leave on good terms, which I think in this industry is always very important. The world is a small place.. this in-dustry is even smaller. Never burn bridges, or be a jerk :)
What can you suggest young people that just graduated and want to get their foot into the indus-try? What is Pixar look-ing for in a showreel?
I would suggest get-ting some experience in the industry. Ive al-ways thought that the people who come to Pix-ar right out of school, while lucky and more than likely very talented, are doing themselves a dis-service by not know-ing what other places are like. Makes it quite hard to fully appreciate how good a place like Pixar is to work at.
What do you think of independent animation? Are professionals like you aware of whats going on in the underground?I love independent any-
Kris was also responsible for the hair on these characters.
thing. I admire folks who are self motivated enough to create something inde-pendently. Professionals should definitely stay abreast of whats going on out there in the un-derground as the under-ground often is pushing technology and technique in different ways, ways that sometimes arent thought of at the profes-sional level. One of my favorite things is when a film comes out of the blue and shakes up the indus-try. We need more of that if you ask me. I want big studios to take risks and make films that arent reboots or sequels, but I also understand why
reboots and sequels get made. I sure do long for original ideas and orig-inal films though.
If you could take three things to a lonely island what would it be?Id take someone I love for companionship, an internet connection/com-puter to stay connected to those I love, and a some sort of shelter.
The Blazing Squids team would like to thank Kris for taking his time to answer our questions.We wish you the
best on this new stage of your carreer!
GustonYeah, so I could keep
on writing about rela-tively unknown records from the 80s and the 90s, back when USA was still number one, but I think its time to break the gravy crust and do something a little dif-ferent. So instead I will write about my new biggest inspiration: Philip Guston.Guston was born in
Canada, and he grew up in LA and, in 1927, he started at the Art School where he went to class with Jackson Pol-lock among others. In the 50s, Guston gained a lot of success from be-ing a part of the first generation of artists that painted abstract expressionism, which I would would define as abstract painting with a lot of nerve and ener-gy into it. In the late 60s, he got tired from abstraction and started painting in a much more cartoony style, using a kind of voluminous prim-
itive shape language.None of the critics got it at first, but at the time of his death, around 1980, he had reached a wide audience and broad popular respect.One of his favorite
motifs are Ku Klux Klan members, who smoke ciga-rettes and drive around in cars or who paint self-portraits at home with Mickey Mouse gloves on. Hes very often us-ing pink and white in his work. I think that using KKK members as mo-tif is brave and orig-inal, because they are nasty people but they look very cool. Its the same with the Nazis, the
pirates and the Romans. I think the reason he tried to ridicule these Klan members is because his parents were Ukrai-nian Jewish people, and in Gustons childhood in California there was a lot of persecution go-ing on, against people that were not white (mid 1920s).What I love about him
is that he doesnt care about realism at all. Hes going totally for clarity when he puts his colors and tones to-gether, and what I to-tally love about him is that, if he makes a mis-take, he will paint it over or correct it with some white, but he makes
it obvious that was a mistake before, just like Ashley Wood would do. These two guys just dont care, they just put down color for no other reason than clar-ity. You can see their way of thinking and what thought process have gone through their minds to create the painting that they wanted to cre-ate. And I think this is the most punk thing you can do in painting :)Their style makes their work very human and re-latable, it makes it look easy and fun, just like art should be. So it makes people want to start doing their own art.And, on top of all
this, Philip Guston has a sense of humor which I think is a human skill, that many many painters lack. I dont know why, maybe they take them-selves too seriously, but anyways, we had a guy called like Guston around, so please enjoy him.
GreenlandscapeI was for 2 weeks in
Greenland, we traveled up north the polar circle. Its Flabbergasting Maj-
esty The Iceberg, Queen of the Green-land and the Marine-Blue-seas host-ed us in its vast castle of rock, ice and water. The food for the eyes was everyday served freshly on an immense table. The total absence of trees, offers a 360 menu from every mountain, hill or just rocks. The tradi-tional eye-dinner is given on a plate made of dark warm grey hippo-like rocks. It consists of a slice of blackber-ry fields grilled by the october-orange and wine-
red fire. The main course is an assortment of dif-ferent waters, from the deepest petrol green of the fjords which tastes like vertigo, to the sparkling showers fall-ing from the tall ice-bergs caused by their own meltdown and the horizon flat sea brightly mirror-ing a light sky enhanced by thin white clouds which turn sweet pink if you decide to have that dinner around 6.00 pm lo-cal time. Because youre not really eye-hungry anymore, the dessert is light but sweet: hanged, on the rib of a mountain, you can eat some multi-colour cookies. Yes in-deed, the simple-shaped houses of greenlanders have been designed by Santa Claus himself. Ev-
ery edge is made of white sugar, while the painted wood wall will taste bit-ter-sweet, lime-sour or spicy, depending of the ever saturated colour it has. When you get in the house, it always smells of cinnamon, nostalgia, tea or candles, which makes it the digestive feel-good spirituous to close the dinner. Apart from that, you will drink big bowls of fresh pure air all along the din-ner. Some questions rose as
I was definitely fail-ing at getting on the pa-per the print of that breath taking instant of landscape. I though that linking things together in metaphors is the only
way to me to make some sense out of this chaos world. And thats what arts are about. The ki-lometres of chaotic mess that tons of enormous blocks of ice packed in that fjord in front of me, THAT was impossible to draw realistically, these thousands of ice-bergs have all different shapes, all particular details, all different nuances of white and cold blue. No way. I cant make it. So I have to find a
system to FAKE it, to be as close as possible from the reality by finding the best system of repre-sentation. Remember Ren Magrittes Ceci nest pas une pipe...