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Morgan Kelly/CH.F Interview

November 5th, 2006


Morgan Kelly’s Art and Animation are Amazing. It’s no wonder Dreamworks had the common sense to snatch this young, talented chap up right away!
Plus he’s a great guy to hang around with. He dredged up a few A’s to our CH.F Q’s. Let’s step into his Monday Morgue, shall we?

CH.F: How long have you been animating or drawing?
MK: My earliest memories include drawing, and many people in my family are artistic, which made it all the more sensible thing to do. Growing up around Santa Clarita I was intrigued by CalArts, that eccentric castle on the hill above Valencia like Edward Scissorhand’s mansion. So I always wanted to go there for character animation, but was rejected 3 times before I showed up to speak with the Admissions counselor in person who said he’d talk to Frank Terry about my portfolio. Three weeks later I got the acceptance letter and crapped my pants. Since I loved drawing, movies, and animation just seemed natural, but I had never done it before school and didn’t realize how freaking tough it would be. So I’ve been animating for about 7 years now.

What are some of your hobbies outside the world of animation?
I like checking out gallery shows around the city (there was a good one recently at Nick by the ‘El Tigre’ artists), exploring, eating, drinking and sketching in the La suburbs; Eaglerock, Little Tokyo, Silverlake, Hollywood, Pasadena.

Where were you born?
I was born in the Valley, but grew up on a horse-ranch on a patch of desert sandwiched between CalArts, Magic Mountain and Vasquez Rocks called… Canyon Country.

Have you ever shown your art in galleries?
I’ve shown paintings in 4 different group shows but never a solo show, which I’d love to do sometime, partly because it’d be fun just to have the reception.

What company do you work for? What are you working on currently in the animation industry?
Dreamworks Animation feeds me (sometimes my friends too) and employs me animating on ‘Bee Movie’, a feature about a bee who sues the human race for stealing their honey. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s created by Jerry Seinfeld so that means it’s funny, especially if you like his comedy. A new trailer just came out for it, check it out!

Who are some of your influences?
Giger, Tim Burton, John K, Eric Pigors, Mary Blair, Dr.Seuss, I like a lot of the LoBrow art: Coop, Mark Ryden, Glenn Barr, 19th century European poster art, Jim Henson, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s films make me randy.

What do you think makes for a great cartoon?
When the characters are believable and the moral is not shoved down your throat. I can’t stand it when animation panders or undermines the audience. I like cartoons that surprise you and go places you never thought they could. I’m a sucker for great design though, and don’t mind limited animation, but have no tolerance for poor animation passed off as professional.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to break in or just beginning in the industry?
It seems like artists who do well in animation also maintain their personal work, and are doing what they want to do. Cause when you’re unhappy working somewhere it reflects in what’s seen up on the screen.

What animation DVDs have you picked up lately?
I just picked up a DVD compilation of animation and live-action titled ‘SHORT Invention’ with an amazing stop-mo piece called ‘The Big Story’. And also the ‘Peanuts Holiday Collection’ cause it just makes me feel good.

Is there anything you want to say to the people out there in CH.F Land reading this?
Leaving comments will get you into heaven.

Before going to heaven, or the other “H” place, y’all really oughta see Morgan’s 4th Year Calarts Film, The Terrible Tragedy of Virgil and Maurice. It’s wonderful, whimsical, and twisted.
Morgan was kind enough to let Channel Frederator screen it HERE.

Thanks for hanging out w/ CH.F Morgan!
Stay glued to the CH.F, Yr #1 SOURCE for Animation News & Interviews!
To check out more of Morgan’s amazing art head to his Art Blog, The Monday Morgue!

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Morgan’s a brilliant artist and may I say he sure knows how to pick voice talent as well.


Great interview!!! Hadn’t heard of Morgan before but am definitly a fan now!!!


Thanks fellas! Morgan’s one of the good ones!
Glad to know more peeps are getting exposed to him.


morgan made some pretty good coffee back in the day, might be because of the music i was blasting in the cubes at 2 AM.


great interview…I’ve known the guy for a while…actually changed his diapers in the day and watched him lining up single objects on the 10″ tiles in his home…


Laurel - I was wondering if you are the same Laurel Huggins that used to live in Pacific Grove, CA ? I used to do your bookkeeping when I worked for James B. - If you are the same person, please email me at

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