Thursday, December 20, 2007

Influence: Jamie Hewlett

Above: Hewlett's been the main influence on the style of my human characters for years, on right, my main character from the upcoming prison film. on left, cover of "rise of the ogre" a must have book of some fine gorillaz artwork!

Jamie Hewlett is hardly a surprising influence of mine, and many other artists. Particularly, I love his sense of cartoon design, how he shys away from the bulbous cartoonyness or overtly "shaped" designs that dominate animation today. MTV "Downtown" creator Chris Prynoski is a buddy of mine who is also heavily influenced by Jamie, and I can name several other animators whose work is directly effected by Hewlett's drawings. I've always believed that illustrations that rely too much on design are compensating for the inability to draw using the principles of weight and space. Jamie's drawings just look so damn good, a nice balance between detail and minimalism, graphic inks with traces of organic hand drawn line. I got the book "rise of the ogre" for my bday last year, and i'm still picking it up almost daily. it's a bit of a strange read, but worth it for the gorillaz artwork alone.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ratatouille Doesn't Work.

I bet these are the first neg comments of Ratatouille, (a movie that really grabbed me at first, i'm on like 4 or 5 viewings now). So can someone explain why pulling someones hair controls their movement to such precision? This is a major part of the story, willing suspension of disbelief ruined! The movie is flawless in animation, directing, and basically everything else (it better be for the budget of these flicks). But why am I supposed to care about a rat that cooks? This is the type of souless, useless fantasy content and scenario that keeps animation chained to children's entertainment, or the ultimate in pukability "It's for the child in us all" (hawarf!), and further and further away from becoming something that can be on the cinematic level of "Godfather" or "Shawshank Redemption". (apples to oranges, perhaps) i'm going to chill on the neg posts for a while, i think the violence in masks is poisoning my attitude.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Rant: I Hate Animation...

Enjoy the punk rock Goya and a drawing from masks while you read my rant. A recent Cartoon Brew post by Amid Amidi (officially now a New Yorker, a fine addition) has reminded me why I want little to do with the Animation Industry. Why are there so many artists overly concerned with getting a "Pitch" through, with the ultimate goal of what? having a "Funny Show on Television", seems like such an insignificant goal. Where are the artists that are interested in moving the medium forward, or carry on traditions of quality, expression, inspiration, and ultimately having an impact on Art History? I'm so sick of hearing about Cartoon Network, Nick, Pitching, youtube, cintiqs and how Lassater is god. I hate the comic geek and social retard influence on such a legit artform. Society and art will always be linked, and when art is made by complete reject geeks that dwell in a world of fantasy and shallow representation or gutless entertainment for the lame child, what should we expect? well, just turn on the tv.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Influence: Fern Gully, a forgotten 90's feature....

Bill Kroyers 1992 feature "Fern Gully" is a formulaic, and annoyingly on the nose film, BUT, it has some FANTASTIC animation in it! One of my favorite characters of all time is the Hexxus (voiced by Tim Curry) when he is reborn with help of a bulldozers smoke stack.

Friday, December 7, 2007

"Handshake" illustrating personal emotion...

It would be timely(regrettably) to discuss my 2004 film "handshake", which is about two people meeting, falling in love, and then one being consumed by the other before casually moving on. The film was made to illustrate the feelings i had about an old relationship that caused substantial heartbreak. "Handshake" has been the best received of any of my films, and i think it's because it illustrates a personal struggle most of us have gone through at one time or another. One of the things i try to tell my students at Pratt is to find that personal story, and illustrate the feelings that make that story meaningful. Too much animation is flaky, light hearted, and stupid. created to entertain kids, or to tell weak, meaningless stories. Animating realistic emotions. that's the stuff. This film is for sale on my site, but for you bloggers, i've posted a high resolution version for free. enjoy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Importance of scale..

Photo is me and "Colossus" a 16' painting I did for the CVZ opening in September. I'm currently setting up to do an even larger public piece for next summer. Scale is a part of art that just can't be ignored or underestimated. i mean, look what Christo has accomplished, there's an example of someone who ONLY uses scale, his art sucks, so he depends on scale. I'm truly inspired by Blu, and other artists like him, artists that really take the work to the people! Blu is rad because he uses the whole "building images out of people" thing that i do as well. the real trick is finding a place to actually put it up! if anyone has a wall for me to paint, i'm there. my head's been in animation for so long i gotta play some catch up. later.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New "Paintings" web page...

We've added a "Paintings" page, which will feature recent and available paintings currently at galleries and in my studio. Special thanks to Andrew Stein who did the photography, and our studio manager Noelle Vaccese for putting it all together. Here is a recent treatment written for an upcoming show:

Patrick Smith’s paintings use simplified human forms as building blocks for complex, patterned configurations. Some figures appear to be struggling, some relaxing, some taking advantage, others reluctantly accepting a burden. Smaller characters might carry the weight of unknowing larger figures, who enjoy tranquil contemplation unaware of those laboring beneath them. Despite these contrasts, an overall optimism emerges. These figures generally aspire to a higher level of mutual support, embodying all the complexities of individuals defined by their positions and actions, not their appearance. The figures Smith paints are iconic representations of us all: featureless, but unquestionably human. Their physical differences are limited to color and size. As I make these observations, I begin to perceive their meaning: we all are part of something larger. Smith has constructed these images to reverberate that simplistic, sublime message to the contemporary world.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Update on "Masks"

I wrote this blurb for an upcoming interview with Animation Magazine:
The studio is busy with my next independent short, "Masks", a traditionally animated collaboration with recording artist Karl von Kries, who did the score for my first film "Drink" back in 1999. I told him to write and perform a type of score that tells a bizarre visual story, and I would illustrate whatever images came to mind. Actually, I believe I told him to "consult the devil" if he thought that would make it more interesting. He went on to give me one of the most twisted and intense audio tracks I've ever heard, so now I'm animating some truly disturbing and strange animation to match. It's basically a warped "Fantasia", using experimental contemporary music instead of classical. The result has been the tightest story I've ever thought up, using imagery and animation that has really been pushing my limits as an artist. I've showed some pencil tests to a few people, and the general reaction can be summed up with the quote "that's some fucked up shit man". My producer thinks I'm on drugs, and my girlfriend doesn't trust me anymore. Look for it in 2008, I think it will stand out a bit.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I posted an entry about Jim a month ago, I just wanted to add to that. I was just on his site and noticed some sweet original artwork for sale. The "Slime Balls" skateboard wheels graphic pictured on the left sold for $3k, small price to pay for a sub-culture icon. I also found a sweet studio visit with Jim, compliments of Andreas Trolf, who is also responsible for this excellent photo of Jim at his place.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

LUPO the Butcher in Cartoons from HELL!

Danny Antonucci's 1987 classic short "Lupo the Butcher" is a new addition to "Cartoons from Hell" showing this friday at the Northampton film festival. It's cool hanging out with Danny because, outside of being awesome, his work for MTV in the early 90's influenced me a hell of a lot. After he did "Lupo", he did a series of MTV ID spots in the same style, and then went on to do the under-rated and universally condemned show "Brothers Grunt" which I thought was rad. If you can't make it to Northampton tomorrow, you can watch it on youtube here (total mutilation of a classic, but oh well). So, when I programmed the first "Cartoons from Hell" for Platform Animation Festival, i got an email from him saying "what's wrong Pat, LUPO not hellish enough for you?". here's an epic interview with Danny in Annecy. dang there's a lot of links on this post.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I'm heading up to Northampton Film Festival this weekend to host "Cartoons From Hell", a collection of some of my favorite animated shorts of all time. The show includes a legendary line up including Danny Antonucci, JJ Villard, Bill Plympton, Hisko Hulsing, Don Hertzfeldt, Nirvan Mullick, David Chai, and newcomer Arthur Metcalf. Also screening is my latest film "Puppet". I played a similar show at Platform Animation festival this summer, it went over really well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Is it OK to steal Street Art?

I enjoyed this heated discussion on Flckr. My stance has always been that when you decide to put your art in the street, it becomes part of the urban climate, which includes the possibility of theft, as well and regular wear and tear from the elements. This guy seemed like he could have afforded to shell out the $2k to buy one from the gallery, but whatever. BTW be sure to see my photos on Flcker, a great resource that I think everyone should use.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Animation Drawings Exhibition in Savannah...

Savannah Film Festival, which ran all last week, showed about 20 drawings from my films "Puppet", "Handshake", and "Drink", all films that have been featured or won at their festival. A reminder to all those digital heads out there that there is a place for traditional drawings, a piece of art that exists beyond the sole purpose of creating a film. Animation art can become an important part of an animators body of work, as well as a viable source of income. In addition, they're just plain cool to have on your wall. My apoligies for not promoting the event, it was primarily for pass holders of the festival, and since i wasn't attending, it slipped my mind.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jazz Recording last night...

Group shot of Ted Rosenthal(Piano), Patrick Smith(animator), Rufus Reid(Bass), Tim Horner(Drums), and Warren Vache (Cornet and Vocals), at Pirate Studio New York. Also, a shot of Rufus performing. The recording last night is for an animated piece called "Mis" I'm directing/animating for Samantha Berger(Nickelodeon). It's an educational piece, and we're using an original Jazz score, which was performed for us live. I just learned that a Cornet is kind of like a small trumpet. I'm still star struck when it comes to musicians, and even more so with Jazz guys. I'm happy to say that recording with live musicians is becoming common place in my animation. If anyone remembers, the score for both my films "Handshake" and "Puppet" was performed by a live 40 piece orchestra conducted by Charles Fernandez in LA. I'm heading out to LA next week, and I hope to hang out with him. Click here for a movie clip of the recording session with the Trone Orchestra back on 2004.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mulan on my iPhone.

One of the many rocking things about the iPhone is watching movies on the train. Granted, not the best way to watch a film, but makes the trip go by quickly.

"Mulan" is just never talked about and I'm not sure why. It's truly a great film. That said, you have to put up with the 90's Disney injection of unnecessary gags at almost every point, but overall, it's a really strong film that didn't get all that much attention. Mulan is a top notch heroin, the Huns are scary as hell, and even the little dragon Mushu (voiced by Eddie Murphy) gets some laughs out of you. And you gotta love the simplicity of the story: Chick pretends to be a dude in order to fight in place of her ailing father. "Mulan" has some great animation by some of my favorites, Mark Henn (Muland and Fa Zhou), Ruben Aquino (Shang and Fa Li), Tom Bancroft (Mushu), Aaron Blaise(the ancestors, some really great work!), and Alexander Kupershmidt (Khan).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where Digital Fails

Pencil on paper. I love the tangibility of a painting or a drawing. The one of a kind nature, knowing that you hold an original. I have a solid collection of animation drawings, one of my favorites is a Glen Keane drawing of the Beast. When I hold it I feel a connection with the artist, knowing that he flipped this drawing, and scratched out those lines. My immersion into painting has given me a new appreciation for the artwork itself, beyond the vehicle it's delivered. There is a tactile quality involved, things like texture, relief and scale become just as important as the image itself. You can fake all that digitally, but that's all it is, faking. it will never have texture outside of the flat screen. That said, I'm an animator, and I depend on the screen, even the most ardently hand drawn films are exhibited on the screen. The drawings will always just be the beautiful things that helped make the movie possible. Maybe we can make a movie with texture and scale?.. oh wait, that's called life.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Raggedy Ann- The Greedy Sequence

I thought this post would be appropriate, due to the ASIFA-Hollywood Screening coming up this November 17th. There's some amazing animation in this film, contributors included legends such as Art Babbit, Grim Natwick, Tissa David, Tom Sito and Dan Hakett. This sequence above is my favorite of the film, I would have loved to see the drawings that went into this! It has to be one of the "fullest" animated scenes of all time, everything is moving! also, it has the flowy type of stuff that i just love. There's a great book about this movie written by John Canemaker, i highly recommend.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Public Art is King!

Here's a movie of me and the CVZ gallery director Carlo out on the town installing illegal art. These get stolen fairly quickly, despite the tamper proof installation method. I used to put up a lot of these, but I've lost heart a bit after seeing two of them at a random party in some dudes loft in Tribeca. I think Street art is a direct connection to the people, by taking the art outside of the Gallery, you remove any pretense that art may have been given by the, often times, stale environment of the art gallery. Click here for a high res photo of the above piece.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Random Rant: Titanic, A Theory

A quick break from fine art or animation today. I had a conversation over drinks that disturbed me the other night. I met a "Titanic Hater". I have a theory about people who say they don't like the movie titanic. Simply put: They are Lying! that is a hell of a movie, Hollywood at it's best. I think it's sad when people can't open their mind to something just because it's a hit with the statuesque. Is your desire to be an individual actually convoluted your mind into not liking something of true substance? not liking something for the reason that it's accepted by the majority isn't being an individual, it's being close minded, and it's sad because you really miss out on some fantastic work.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Influence: Jim Phillips

In a recent interview with FLIP magazine, I cited a strong inspiration of mine, legendary artist Jim Phillips. I can even go further, he was my FIRST inspiration. His artwork for Santa Cruz Skateboards was my first exposure to graphic art (I was 14 years old), and set me on a similar path. Jim's style was, and still is in many ways, exactly how I wish my work to look. I've always had a dilemma between the look of grotty pencil line, or nicely inked heavy line. Jim represents the later for me, an artist who is a graphic master with black line. Furthermore, Jim's "Screaming Hand" that he designed for Speed Wheels introduced me into the idea of morphing and abstraction within a well constructed figure or form. I hope that he will inspire and influence some of you as well.

Jim Phillips was born in San Jose in 1944, but has lived most of his life in Santa Cruz. Phillips' first published work was in Surfer Quarterly, in 1962. In 1965 he attended California College of Arts, in Oakland. From 1975-1990, Phillips was art director for Santa Cruz Skateboards, for which he has become predominantly known.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Time Lapse of a Painting, with narration.

Here's another time lapse of a 72"x36" painting (titled "Configuration 4") that we shot last month. This one features a brief narration that Noelle Vaccese recorded of me talking about the process. The other person you see helping out is Brendan Semigram, an intern Edinboro University. I apologize on behalf of Youtube for the appalling quality of the image.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bakshi's "Cool World"

It's the film everyone loves to ridicule, But I've always really loved "Cool World", Bakshi's foray into big time Hollywood. There's some really great stuff in there! The climax of the film is when Holly pulls out the "Spike" from on top of a building in Vegas. I've posted it here in high quality, it's probably the best animation of the film. It reminds me of a punk cartoony version of Bald Mountain. This supports the overall feel of the world Bakshi is portraying, a dark and comical world of chaos and out of control cartoon antics.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Influence: Gustav Vigeland

A friend of mine from England turned me onto Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) about three years ago. I was already pretty deep into the idea of constructing larger forms from individual figures(something I saw during my time in Indonesia), but this influence really set me on my present course. I don't have a strong desire to work in sculpture, but I think that the solid drawing principles that I admire have a sculptural quality. It's all about weight, and Gustav is a prime example. Ironically, the monolith configuration he has constructed are totally impossible to perform in reality, but his representation of the action makes it believable. When you're seeking to create the bizarre, it's effective to construct things in a believable way. The most strange things are best to illustrate within reality, otherwise you risk venturing into that fantasy world, and inevitably lose grounding and meaning.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Day After an Opening.

Nobody warned me about the depression that occurs the days after a gallery opening. The show went well, very packed, I'd say well over 300 people at one point, perhaps more (Ironically more than attend my animation screenings). There's several articles about it, one from Creativity Magazine that I especially liked. Now, it's back to work on the film, as well as a few commercials I've been neglecting. Beautiful fall day here in New York City.

No break though.. Screening of "Puppet" tonight at VisionFest here in Tribeca. I attended a party last night and got to meet Heather Graham (it took all my energy to resist calling her "roller girl"). I'll be at the screening, so if anyone can make it, please say hi.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Public Art/Gallery show

This is a "Drink" inspired street installation that was put up last evening, we put up an undisclosed number of these, and I'm fairly certain it will be the last time. I'm getting too old for this kind of guerrilla art stuff. Also pictured, two of the over 25 paintings that will be shown. These are 48"x72" Acrylic on Canvas. The show at CVZ Contemporary Gallery will be up from September 18 through October 16. For more information, please contact the gallery 212-625-0408.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On This Horrible Day.

Every generation has their time markers. An event that everything is defined as either before or after. For many, it's world war II, or for some it's when the Dodgers left Brooklyn. For us, now, it will forever be 911. That horrible day when we witnessed islamic terrorists destroy two of the worlds largest buildings, taking thousands of people with them. We all lost something that day, but gained a valuable perspective, and a renewed vigor to live life to it's fullest, in the memory of those who were killed. I hope everyone is good, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ever been in Prison?

This is me with inmates, a guard and Sheriff Mike Wade at Henricho Jail, VA, last fall. I was doing research for an upcoming film. It's the same prison featured in Morgan Spurlocks "30 Days". This film has brought me to several other federal and state prisons, as well as spots like Alcatraz Island, where I was able to spend the day sketching various locations within the infamous prison. It's proven to be the most difficult project I've ever started, but I really think it will be well worth the time and effort (don't hold your breath, it's a long way off).

I was in Jail once, as an inmate that is. It was High School, I was arrested for Grand Larceny (long, dumb story, if you ever hang out with me I'll tell you over a drink). Anyway, I thought it was interesting what people do in jail when they are waiting. I did push ups and sit ups. I didn't sleep. all i did was exercise. I've always wondered what that meant. do i have to keep busy?

Monday, August 27, 2007

MTV ID: "Swallow-Face"

This was one of the first things I've ever animated. Interesting story actually. In 1994, I was in college, and one night decided to animate something strange. I didn't know how to draw, let alone animate, so I just did something abstract. A friend of mine told me I should put an MTV logo on it and send it to them. So I mailed a VHS of it to "MTV Networks" the address I got from the phone book. About two weeks later I got a call from a guy named Abbey, who said that they wanted to buy it. I remember the day he called, because it was the same day that I got my rejection letter from Cal Arts. The budget was $8k. I re-animated the same thing, a bit tighter, and I had to re-do the logo and sound. The spot won a BDA award(Broadcast Design Assoc.) and a Jury Prize at the 1995 Holland Animation Festival. After I finished the ID, MTV offered me a job in layout on "Beavis and Butthead", which was my first ever studio job, and which brought me to New York City. Those were the days.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Animation in Israel

This article came out this week in an Israeli magazine, anybody wish to translate?

I've been a fan of Israeli animation for years, one of my favorite animated films from the last decade is called "Vered Don't Die" by Yanai Peri (a difficult film to track down to say the least, thanks Amid for the link!), so it was an honor for my last film to be invited to the 7th annual Tel Aviv Animation Festival, which starts this weekend, Aug. 25th. It seems like a good event (although very under-promoted, I can't seem to find much about it on-line), it includes the premiere of a joint Israeli-Palestinian animated feature entitled "Super-Camel", as well as a documentary on the making of the film. In addition, there's a Bruno Bozzeto retrospective scheduled. I hung out with bruno once, and he kept calling me Peter.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Puppet" on Nicktoons.

Click the image on the left for a Video Message from Pat Smith. This Thursday at 10pm (eastern) my latest film "Puppet" will air on the Nicktoons Network as part of the Nicktoons Animation Program. Be sure to text in your vote so I can win a BOATLOAD of cash! This is the official on-air premiere of "Puppet". For more information you can check out the annoyingly well done website for Nicktoons. Nick has been pretty good about airing my short films. My previous film "Handshake" was featured last year, and I was really happy with the program.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Influence: Pink Elephants on Parade

Before Bozzeto, "The Wall", or Plympton was a fantastically elastic and dark segment from "Dumbo"(1941) it's called Pink Elephants on Parade, I posted a solid resolution movie here. This is the scene when Dumbo gets drunk (don't see that in disney films anymore) and hallucinates about Pink Elephants. The first time I saw this clip I was in college, and it tripped me out. It's quite scary really, the black eyes of the elephants, the conformist marching, and the demented music. The sync with the score in flawless, those animators utilized musical rhythm to perfection. There's a piece of animation I did for the music video "Moving Along" which is a direct bite from this Dumbo scene (see image). You can watch a high resolution movie of "Moving Along" here. Again, I hate viewing movies on the computer, but at least this looks decent (unlike youtube, a sorry excuse for a venue, i mean, why does it have to look like such crap? it doesn't take that much to post quality resolution).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Drink" and "Handshake" On-Line

I've finally found a nice compression level in order to put animation on-line. Click the image above to see the diff, on the left is Youtube. I'm not a huge fan of on-line viewing. It looks like crap, and I'm always impatient, likely to click away and check my email while the film is playing. The computer just isn't a very good venue. But, there's little I can do about that. And since these films are out there anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to at least post good quality versions. So, here's "Drink" higher res, and also "Handshake", Enjoy. Since I'm giving away two of my films here, you may feel obliged to Join my mailing list.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Darkness of "Little Mermaid"

Disney's "Little Mermaid" DVD has a great extra, a pencil test of the scene where Ariel makes the deal with Ursula (this youtube link is for the scene full color, still pretty good). Dark stuff. It's an evil scene, the climax of which is downright violent(when she gets her legs). This is what animation is capable of portraying, emotion on the level of any live action movie, perhaps beyond. This may be the greatest Disney Villain scene of all time. The problem is that nobody ever explores that dark place, build characters around it and tell a story from there. Why did they have to make the color and lighting all bright and fuzzy? (thats why it's better to watch the pencil test version). Imagine if Disney didn't have the whole kid thing attached with it. I wish Scorsese directed that film.(btw supervising animator for Ursula was Ruben Aquino)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Time Lapse of a Painting by Patrick Smith

Time Lapse of a Painting

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Here's a time lapse I did of a recent canvas. I tried really hard to do this painting in one sitting, but we had to break it up into four days. (well, there's actually a pencil drawing under everything that took an additional two days). This painting, as well as over 20 other works, and an installation of animation, will be exhibited in my first solo show this September, here in New York, more to come on that. In the movie with me is my fab assistant Noelle Vaccese, check her stuff out here. The painting measures 36" wide and 72" high, I'm using pencil, acrylic and enamel. If you're interested in a proper photo of this or any other of my paintings let me know.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pinocchio, Puppet, and Disney

I threw together these drawings for comparison (fairly bold i think, putting my drawings up there with Disney masters, but anyway). And next to that, somewhat related, is a great photo of Disney animators John Ripa, myself, and Randy Haycock during a visit last year.

This famous sequence from Pinocchio really helped me figure out the "burst" of the hand puppet coming out of the kids chest in "Puppet" click here for movie. Disney films are just the best reference for animation, if you're trying to figure out something, they've already done it, and better than you could ever possibly do (and almost 70 years ago to boot).

These drawings are grabbed from a pencil test sequence re-shot a while back by Andreas Deja, given to me by a buddy of mine at Disney. I have a strange fascination with Disney, although I never wish to work there, I admire Disney animators (classic and current) to an idol worshipping extent.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Be in my next film!

I hung a ton of these posters up all around New York and other cities. I've gotten hundreds of calls, some of which I'm animating to. Some people are really nutty and make for an interesting translation into imagery. but... I'm not done with the film yet, and the signs are still being posted around new york. maybe you should call. 800-817-2964.

the idea of a mask fascinates me. as does the concept of an anonymous call. a certain type of truth exists when identity is hidden. And it's surprisingly easy to spot the real thing, the individual who has something to share, a comment about why they or others hide what's underneath a metaphorical mask.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Overlooked: Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

Frames from my film "Drink" and "Moving Along" next to frames from "The Wall", a massive influence, not that my stuff comes close. I've posted a good quality quicktime of this sequence here, by far the most impressive bit of animation in the film. When I play this clip, it reminds me of what i want to try to accomplish within this amazing medium.

I think "The Wall" is an overlooked film. I rarely even hear it mentioned. There are segments in that film that I see as some of the most original, emotional, and effective animation ever. I don't say that lightly. The particular segment that begins with the flower sequence, during the song "Empty Spaces", was originally responsible for getting me into the medium. The film has over 15 minutes of animation designed by artist Gerald Scarfe. I'm not a huge Scarfe fan, but his style worked well here. Some of the Animators include Mike Stuart(yellow submarine), Chris Caunter(watership down, little mermaid), Bill Hajee(rescuers) and Angela Kovacs(roger rabbit) all brits, i believe.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Workin' Summer Style

Detail from painting, and Drawings from new film "Masks".

It's summertime now, that means everyone is cramming to finish work for the fall, whether it's a gallery exhibition, or a film festival deadline (all the big one's have deadlines around or close to October). I'm cramming for both. In addition, summer has always been a busy time for commercial work, a good thing, but it's tough to be animating a commercial while more exciting projects are a few feet away begging for attention. A heavy workload can be tough this time of year because most of us take off on friday for weekends outside of the city (a survival tactic). I'm no exception, I drive every week up to Montauk, where I can do work outside of my studio (and larger pieces within my garage, the Tribeca studio has no freight elevator), as well as go to the beach and actually have a life outside of Tribeca.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Platfrom: Why I didn't attend most competition screenings.

Top:Pat Smith, Lisa LaBracio and Biljana Labovic with cosmo. Bottom:Don Hertzfeldt, Amid Amidi, Pat Smith, Dan Mountain, and Lee Rubinstein at Frederator party.

First off, what a fantastic time i had at the first ever Platform Animation Festival, Portland. The people were great, and it really is a special city. The "Cartoons from Hell" screening I hosted went off better than I could imagine, and the special screenings, retrospectives and panels were top notch. OK. you know what really sucked? It was the fact that so many of the competition films were older films. I didn't go to a lot of the screenings because I had seen way over half the films. I don't mind showing films that are a few years old, that's what special programs and out of competition are for. But IN competition was films like the Igor Kovalyov film "Milch" or Run Wrakes "Rabbit"(which has screened at every possible venue world wide for the last two years), not only is it old, but it's LONG. I had to wonder how many quality currrent films they rejected in order to put that in competition. Here's the kicker, one of the grand prix winners was an installation piece by Gregory Barsamian that I had seen in a New York gallery over TEN YEARS AGO!!! are you telling me you can't find current work to put in competition, and put the older (albeit brilliant) work in out of comp programs(which there should always be plenty of, gotta respect the old).

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Top:Drawing from the film "Masks". Bottom: Enamal on Canvas detail of painting "Configuration #2".

"The City" being New York City, it's a bad habit New Yorkers have of referring to our city at "The City", even when we're in other cities. And "Animator" as in, an independent animator, who works out of the city. One of the things I would like to accomplish with this blog is to give others a glimpse into the life of an independent animator in New York. So allow me to introduce myself, I'm Patrick Smith, my studio is called Blend Films, and it's located in Tribeca, which is way downtown Manhattan. It's a small art studio, just me and an assistant. I make independent animated shorts, as well as other cross-over media art such as paintings and public installations. I love animation, but I'm not the biggest fan of the type of animation that is ingested in mass, supplied by the majors in this industry. I like animation to be a bit more personal, have some gravel in the gut and spit in the eye. On a technical level, I like to see animation with texture and soul. I never think about CG, don't desire to work with those techno puppets. I like to draw, I like to create a real drawing with a pencil on paper. artwork that exists when the power is out, that exists as more than 1's and 0's. I like smudges, I like the bottom of my hand to get graphite on it. So, I'll always try to keep these entries short(neither of us should be doing this, we should be drawing or doing whatever, and that's what i'm off to do right now!) cheers- Pat