Tuesday, January 27, 2009

From Singapore...

It's been over a week since my arrival, the NYU-Asia hosted Master Class I'm teaching is going well, the graduate level students are very talented. It's also great to be back in southeast asia, although I had forgotten how hot it is here. The university is hosting a program of my short films this friday which should be fun. Other than work, I've had a lot of time to walk around this city aimlessly with some of the faculty and students. Matt Sheridan, an old buddy of mine from MTV teaches here full time, and it's great to catch up with him, we ate fish head curry the other night. I was also able to hang out with Lucas Films Animation director, Rob Coleman. Another highlight, photo above, was walking through one of the last traditional villages in singapore, a place called Kampong Lorong, which is about to be razed by the government to build more project-like high rise homes.
Photo above is Lucas Films Rob Coleman, Patrick Smith, and NYU-Asia dept head Jean-Marc Gauthier.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth 1918-2009

One of my favorite painters of all time, Andrew Wyeth, who captured the melancholy of the landscapes and people of Pennsylvania in his brilliant paintings, died aged 91. I've often mentioned him within my writing and teaching, especially in terms of putting "movement" into his work, something us animators always like to point out. Wyeth was the first living US artist to be elected to the Royal Academy. It's a great loss. There just aren't classical painters like him anymore.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Favorite Rockwell.."War News"..

Despite the hostel reception to my past praise of Norman Rockwell, I wanted to share with you a painting that exemplifies Rockwells skill and social insight. "War News" was completed in 1945, but never published. Critics often dismiss Rockwell paintings as "Simplified unmercifully and reassured inappropriately", but I see him as a master that captured a great era with even greater skill, perhaps his works leaned on the idealistic side, but I think that makes it even more important and timeless, in this age of cynicism and elitism (especially within the art world, excuse my generalization). This piece is wonderfully constructed and composed. Through expert characterization Rockwell captured an apprehension and severe concern in the figures. I appreciate this work even more so as an animator, i almost see them as actors within a story. As far as content ... it's dead on. Unfortunately, we've all experienced that severe concern to war news.In this same year Rockwell painted other great pieces like "Thanksgiving: Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes" and "The Homecoming". It's interesting to point out that Rockwells "Four Freedoms" was viewed by 1.2 million people, and raised over 135 million dollars in war bonds. If this isn't an example of how art is an integral part of the world, I don't know what is. It's also interesting that the humble master felt he "held a low rung" on the ladder of fine art. He considered Pablo Picasso the greatest, going so far as to add a bit of cubism into several of his paintings. He also held Mondrian in the highest regard.

“May God deliver us from the worst of all sins!: Man's own religious hypocritical self-righteousness and evil knowledge and greed for power through every form of cruelty, including war!” -Norman Rockwell

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Patrick Smith Master Class in Singapore..

I'm off to Singapore next week to teach a ten session master class through NYU, Tisch Asia. It will be nice to be back in Southeast Asia, an area which I've spent a lot of time traveling a decade ago. This will be an exciting class for me because it's the first time I've instructed entirely using Flash, a program that I've always had mixed feelings about. But it will allow students to perform lessons while in the classroom, as well as allowing me to demonstrate the principles I'm discussing as we go. Unfortunately the students will not be able to take advantage of the texture and soul of a pencil line, I can only hope they take the lessons and work on paper after the seminar is completed. If you happen to be in Singapore at the end of this month, drop me an email and we'll go get some fish head curry!