Braving the depths and barren frozen tundra that is the Blogosphere, I have unearthed Animation’s Missing Link: Hobo Divine. Somewhere deep in a Canadian Cave, were his Awe-inspiring mystical & magical drawings etched onto the fading glow of a buried computer screen. The art’s magic grasp had taken hold of me, putting me into a deep trancelike slumber. When I groggily awoke, I was greeted by Hobo Divine himself, dressed as an Inuit diamond-Eskimo shaman, and holding a cup of hot cocoa for me. I had many questions; He had even more answers.
Channel Frederator offers up a sacrificial Interview to appease the native Blogosphere Inhabitants.
How long have you been animating or drawing?
I’ve been animating for about 15 years now and drawing, on and off, for my entire life.
Did you go to school for Art or Animation? If so, where?
I went to Sheridan College for Animation so, no, I didn’t go to school for Art, HA!
I went there mainly because the tuition was $818.00. Well… that coupled with the fact that animation as a medium is pretty mesmerizing, when executed correctly. Later on I studied Book Illustration.
Have you ever shown your art in galleries?
Ya, a few, mostly group shows (Chicago, Brooklyn, and Vancouver). I was offered to do a solo show, but I ran away gracefully.
I don’t know it’s a bit disheartening in Canada; the running gag is “Canadians hate Canadians”.
The support for artists here is cowardice and corrupt, they only get on side once the rest of the world has already celebrated you.
But that aside I’m still finding my medium and to some degree a style so I suppose this only aggravates the situation.
Who are some of your influences?
My Influences are: World’s Famous Supreme Team, Vivienne Westwood, Prince Paul, J.P. Miller, Mary Blair, Al Hirschfeld, Inuit Art, Children’s Art, old Terrytoons cartoons, Hannah Hoch and Nick Cross.
What are some of your hobbies outside the world of animation?
Mostly music, I started DJ-ing when I was 13 (in high school).
It’s kind of a long story but the Reader’s Digest version is… my Grand-Dad remarried so I ended up having an Uncle 2 grades ahead of me in high school (Glen Sutton). He was in charge of the Radio Room and there were 6-8 of us that played music for the cafeteria.
Glen taught me the basics of mixing songs at the time and well before that was introducing me to the incredibly vast world of music; popular/underground what have you.
He was always stressing to be open to different genres, “good music is just good music, that’s it!” this was when I was about 8 or 9 so I guess I am forever in his debt.
I started tinkering with samplers and making beats in ‘95, and then later on, when I was in Montreal, I met Leon Lo and Simon Belair of “Natacha’s Recordings”. They opened my head up even further, challenging my ideas of what I thought music was. So I guess I am forever in their debt as well.
Also I have to mention my very dear and talented friend Gaetano Frangella who kept after me to make beats when I wanted to piss it all away and call it a day. We have a band called Uovo Nova… and are working on a album.
Oh, and sometimes I B-Boy but not nearly as much as I’d like too.
What are you working on currently in the animation industry?
I am working on a show called “Wayside” which has been a very bitter-sweet experience so far.
“Sweet” because I haven’t grown this much, artistically, since I animated on “Ren & Stimpy” with Bob Jaques.
On the creative side it has been super wicked working with Riccardo Durante (the Director) and all the other stellar artists who are always kicking my ass to do better.
“Bitter” because the support on the production side has been… well let’s just say sluggish!
What do you think makes a cartoon good?
What makes a cartoon good, or what makes a good cartoon?
Well this is a tricky question; the first is about technique and the second is about the of film making.
But, without getting too “heady”, I think it’s impossible for me to give a “true” answer because I would be imposing a personal value system on the medium.
Besides, I think we’re all sick of hearing everybody’s half-baked ideas on what makes something the BEST!
But… then again… this is an interview so here are my half-baked ideas.
My favorite cartoons have always been the ones that were executed with no apologies. That was consistent, following their value system.
Personally, I like all types of animation styles and approaches to story, linear/non-linear.
Some of my favorite cartoons have no story at all but more the continuity of a dream, i.e., old Terrytoons cartoons.
Some cartoons have more mistakes than actual frames and at the end have left me completely charmed. And despite the fact it were for kitsch reasons, I was still left charmed; i.e., The 1966 Spiderman.
I guess as much as the Hollywood Big-shots would like you to believe that you can reduce “charm” to a math, they’re full of shit.
No one likes a phony, art or otherwise.
Just be sincere, include everything you like, all your influences, don’t worry if ends up a little clumsy, just be honest. You’ll attract who you need.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to break in or just beginning in the industry?
Hmmn… Let me see, well, personally I was very stubborn and I would never shit out my work… even though with the first scenes I did animate you would never of known.
I took way too much time to finish my scenes according to the schedules and in the process driving the production people crazy.
If the theory is it takes 5 to 7 years to become an animator, then it took me 8-10.
This was mostly my fault because of my itch to know every aspect of the field.
I refused “the shopping list” approach to animating a scene… so needless to say it took me way longer than it could of.
My first job was at Karen Johnson’s Studios in Toronto and I was hired as a inbetweener on the feature film “Fern Gully The Last Rainforest” by Kroyer Films.
I remember seeing a pencil test by Dave Brewster and it blew me away completely!
I had absolutely no idea that a person could reach this level of expertise.
Now, I know that sounds completely stupid, but when I saw great animation from past cartoons, nostalgia sorta had this way of removing the artists that made the cartoon, from the actual cartoon.
But THIS was the first time I wasn’t able to do this. THIS WAS REAL, and the very person who animated this scene sat 5 feet across from me in the studio.
Later that night I rummaged through the piles of 16 fld folders in the camera room to find the actual drawings.
I finally found the scene and saw all these huge beautiful drawings composed of orange scritchy-scratchy lines, drawn with such confidence that it was almost rude. Accompanying this were various pieces of tape joining salvaged drawings from previous attempts. The pages faintly smelt of cigarettes and there were tiny mosquitoes squished on some of the peg holes. It was littered with notes and skull and crossbones threatening the clean-up artists to stay faithful to the drawings.
I was confused… I almost thought I had the wrong scene until I started to flip the drawings… and then the magic began… it came alive…. no matter how slow or fast I flipped the drawings came alive; living and breathing. The hair moved so fluid, the weight of the arms and the action analysis was mind boggling. And as soon as you stopped flipping all you saw were these blocked out shapes described by these orange scritchy-scratchy drawings with the threatening notes.
I still remember the dial. from that scene to this day “Unshrink me and I mean NOW!”.
I sat there in the camera room, simultaneously inspired and depressed.
I now realized it was humanly possible, but could I attain this?
That night I decided regardless of the outcome that I would aspire to be this good and would take as long as it would take to get there.
So after saying all that, my advice is this, to hold your own council and write your own options in this hackneyed industry. You will reach your destination like Dave Brewster has but it will take a dizzying amount of discipline and nothing less.
What Animation DVD’s have you picked up lately?
Well I picked up the original 4 Gerald McBoing Boing shorts on DVD, it’s awesome because “Gerald McBoing Boing On Planet Moo” has been restored to it’s original aspect ratio (2:35:1)! I also picked up the new Sesame Street “Old School” sooooo wicked! And the first season of Ultra-Man.
What animation websites do you check regularly?
None, I only YouTube my man! PEACE!!!
Finally, is there anything you want to say to the people out there in Blog-land reading this?
Of course, encourage more shy people to blog! The meek shall inherit… um… the blog.
HoboDivine has kindly granted Channel Frederator permission to show a few samples of his Animation. Check it.
Begin the World
You Do Not Do
Special Thanks goes out to Hobo Divine for chillin’ with Channel Fred!!! For more Hobo Divinity check out HD’s art blog: HoboDivine
Plenty of great spiritual coma inducing hypnorotic artworks!
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Sorry, I’ve been listening to a lot of Europe lately.
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