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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » The art or the industry

Author Topic: The art or the industry
Member # 7

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Lately I've been posing the question to friends, what is it that drives you or has driven you towards a career in this business. Is it your love of the art, or are you intrigued by the industry, or maybe it's a combination of both?

If it was the art and you got caught up in the industry, how do you feel about your art today?

If it was the industry, let's say you just had to work for a certain studio and you got what you wanted, how has that affected your love of the art and the way you view the industry?

It's a topic that lends itself to some healthy retrospection. Personal perspectives are welcome.


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IE # 14
Member # 1864

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thats a good question.

is it possible to separate the two? the art is what drives the industry, and certainly there wouldn't be an industry if there wasn't the artists who support it.

i think for myself, when i was growing up, even up to a point in college, i was about the "art". even after graduating, i wasn't interested in finding a job. it was certainly in my mind to eventually find one, but i put it on the back burner. i guess i thought that for a number of reasons. i wanted to experience the world a bit and just enjoy life for a little while.

now, i'm more concerned about the industry i suppose. i'm concerned about the health of it and i want it to thrive. admittedly, this is mainly a self serving purpose. i want there to be a job market to i can continue to put a roof over my head and food on my table. i also understand what my abilities are worth monetarily. i had no concept of that a few years ago.

this is not to say i am interested in churning out crap. i still have a love of the art in it, and am always trying to push myself to learn more/be better at my craft. i think that's important. being able to still have your core values intact in industry dealings is very important.

hope that makes sense hah


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Squash Banana
Member # 2700

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Both, definitely. Even when the jaded part of my personality rears its ugly head, I have to admit I'm truly fascinated by the industry itself, because I'm just not an artistic idealist, at heart.

I think I've mentioned this before (sorry!), but when I was in art school as an Illustration major, there was a classic rivalry between our department and the Painting department: they thought we were sell-outs who had no fidelity to our artistic vision, and we just responded that we didn't see the nobility in starving. It's an old argument: even the Old Masters had to kiss the pope's butt to make a living.

Honestly, though, I think both sides are intriguing, if not always fun. I'm interested in the artistic side for the sake of creating great films. I'm interested in the industry side for the sake of funding and advertising those films (so that tragedies like the crappy advertising of Iron Giant don't occur), and because you have to admit, finding a good job is easily as much or more of a challenge than creating good art. And in the end, animators are really problem-solvers, aren't they?

Good question, Charles!

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IE # 193
Member # 1575

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good question

For me it's quite simply that it's an art form with infinite potential .

While many can play a good solo act....only a full ensemble can play a symphony....and we can all hope the next gig might be better .

Art is beauty and there's nothing like the satisfaction of creating something beautiful.....kind of balances out the ugly in life .


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IE # 218
Member # 2092

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Graphiteman   Author's Homepage   Email Graphiteman         Edit/Delete Post 
It was shear wide-eyed child-like naivite why I studied animation. No wonder; at 18 I was still very much a child. Once bitten though, it became a passion.
I love the art. While I have nothing against business I think "the industry" is hyper-dysfunctional. Thank goodness I can pass on my what I know and still create and realize visions through modern technology.

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IE # 247
Member # 1657

Icon 1 posted      Profile for jeffnevins   Author's Homepage   Email jeffnevins         Edit/Delete Post 
Graphiteman summed it up pretty well.

It was the art, got caught up in the industry, and I feel better about my art today.

For a career, it was also the industry.
I worked for a few certain studios, and you got what I wanted.

It increased my love of the art and the way I view the industry.

My game art & animation-

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IE # 247
Member # 1657

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I got what I wanted. (edit)

My game art & animation-

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IE # 13
Member # 914

Icon 1 posted      Profile for -FP-   Author's Homepage   Email -FP-         Edit/Delete Post 
I'm not part of an "industry" and I've never made "art". I just love the process of animation, even though usually I put it to modest, obscure ends to pay the bills. I'm not collaborative by nature, so a studio environment is out for me. I worked at a regular non-creative day job until computers made it possible to practically produce animation alone at home in a short amount of time.

When I was four years old and Dad told me cartoons were made from individual drawings shown in sequence, and the illusion could also be accomplished with stop-motion, it fried my brain. I never got over the initial blast of wonder. I still get a huge kick out of pushing primitives and particles around in 3D for no productive reason.

Telling a story was never a big part of my enthusiasm for animation. The raw procedure is what grabs me. I just love to make junk move around with cameras and computers.


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Lee Crowe
IE # 154
Member # 1135

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Hmmm.....initially it was the art. I remember watching Disney's "Robin Hood" when I was 13 and getting that they put more into it than the limited stuff I'd been watching on TV. (This is not to say that the limited stuff wasn't great as far as writing and design were concerned, or that "Robin Hood" was that wonderful in the grand scheme of things....) Anyway, that got my mind going.

Then at 17 I discovered Film Festival Art Films -- and was intrigued by the whole "moving painting" aspect of animation. Then I got into MGM and WB shorts from the first golden age when i was at LaGrange College.

Then I went to Sheridan where there was both the classical Disney/WB influence plus the NFB influence. There came a point where I just had to make this kind of art.

THEN I got into the studio system -- and I loved that too. Some folks don't enjoy collaborating on giant pictures with giant crews on someone else's designs -- but I usually loved it. Not particularly creative work, but my skills sure benefitted from all that drawing. Plus I loved (and still love) the people. Y'all are my peeps.

I am still fascinated by the idea that these are a series of still images that are "thinking" or "having feelings". There was a joke on "Friends" one time about this. They were making fun of Chandler's lack of emotions, and one of the characters said, "Didn't you cry when Bambi's mother died?" and Chandler said, "Oh, yeah, I got real upset when the guy stopped drawing the deer!"

But see, most of us, even those of us who are so completely aware that that deer was "just a drawing", still feel strong emotions when that guy stops drawing that deer.

Have any of you ever studied that sequence? It's amazing. The storyboarding, the layout, the way the stark black branches and the creek zig-zag across the composition to make us feel the danger and the bleakness and the We don't even have to see her get hit.

Look me up on

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Lee Crowe
IE # 154
Member # 1135

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Oh, and I didn't mean to imply that I'd not seen a Disney feature prior to age 13 -- I had seen a lot of them, 'cuz during the sixties they re-released everything every year or so (Snow White, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, plus the new pictures -- Jungle Book and The Aristocats...) -- it's just that "Robin Hood" was the first one I ever studied technically during the initial viewing. Perhaps that was because the story was just so-so, which could be considered a blessing in disguise....

Look me up on

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Mr. Fun
IE # 63
Member # 352

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Nice thoughts, Lee.

The whole thing is magical, isn’t it? My mommy took me to see, “Dumbo” when I was a little kid. It simply blew me away. Mom also dropped us kids off to see, “Bambi,” and I was amazed at the “moving drawings,” and knew I would be doing this one day.

This stuff gets in your blood, doesn’t it?. I simply had to do it. Years later, I found myself at the Walt Disney Studio working side by side with the “old men and women” who had created the dreams I saw as a child. Finally, talk about dreams coming true, I found myself working with the “Old Man” himself on, “The Jungle Book.”

Who knew?

Yet, there were bad times as well. I was around to see scores of talented artists shown the door back in the sixties. I watched it happen again in the nineties. And of course, it continues to happen today.


Still, I love the animation business, and could not have imagined myself doing anything else. When I see the young kids entering the business I want to tell them to, “get a real job.” Of course, I can’t. They have to do this -- and I understand why.

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Animation Co-op
IE # 295
Member # 3421

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Love of the art, combined with an interest in the business.


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