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Joel Trussell Enjoys the Ride

January 2nd, 2009

Joel Trussell
Joel Trussell

Multi-talented animator, director, and Frederator friend Joel Trussell chats with us about gallery shows, painting vs. animation, and of course, zombies.

Channel Frederator: Where did you study animation?

Joel Trussell: I was pretty clueless how to chase down a career in animation, so I just went to my state’s university and earned a degree in fine art with a drawing concentration. However, when I moved into my junior and senior year of college I would turn in animated short films instead of drawings. After graduating I moved to Seattle and took a traditional class through the University of Washington’s Experimental College, but I guess I’d say most of my animation training came through just doing it rather than formal instruction.

CF: What or who has influenced your work the most?

JT: It’s hard to narrow down influences much since there are several different chapters of inspiration. When I was young it was Warner Bros and Hanna-Barbera cartoons. When I was in high school it was more about Mad, Cracked, and Cartoons magazines. College days were heavily influenced by Ren and Stimpy, Liquid Television, and UPA cartoons. Now it’s predominantly other artist friends and bathroom stall graffiti.

CF: How did you develop the visual concept for “Enjoy the Ride”?

JT: To start, I listened to the song repeatedly and began to sketch randomly, seeing if a theme could emerge. The song had me drawing a lot of graveyard imagery which spawned the idea of tombstone surfing. I came up with the idea of the animals performing some pseudo-pagan ritual after stumbling across some ornate Celtic tombstone designs that featured different stylized animal designs. Once the visuals began to build up I began to build a narrative around it all while attempting to avoid as many clichés as possible.

CF: You’ve been doing some radical gallery shows, can you tell us a little about them?

JT: Luckily the Grassy Knoll Gallery in Portland, OR recently invited me to do my first solo exhibition which opened early in December and is running through February. The show is also up at their site where you can even still grab a piece from their store and be my immediate friend. The gallery was really generous and even printed up a nice run of limited edition posters for the show at a super affordable price.

To be honest, I’d only participated in a handful of group shows before so it was a challenge pulling it all together. Painting’s something that unfortunately takes a back seat to animating and directing, but it’s something I’d absolutely like to take further so if you hear of any opportunities give me a shout. I’d like to throw down if possible.

CF: Someone accidentally wakes you from the dead - what’s the first thing you do?

JT: Watch Channel Frederator!

That’s right, Joel! Thanks!

Joel Trussell’s Zombie
Zombie Joel

You can watch Joel’s animation in Morcheeba’s music video “Enjoy the Ride” right here!

– Bailee DesRocher

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