65 year old, Oregon born, drawing fanatic, crude businessman and wonderful animator Bill Plympton attended the FLIP festival this weekend; and I've had the pleasurable honour of being in his presence. I would've put this with my FLIP day 2 post but I had so much to say on the man I felt it demanded it's own entry. First of all, a bit of frank honesty. Before Friday, I'd never heard of the man before and had no idea of his work. While that admission would cause a sharp intake of breath amongst certain circles, it's true that a lot of his work has flown over and around my radar. On the run up to FLIP though, his reverence grew more and more apparent until the moment I actually attended his masterclass and he proved his salt with a passion in his marker, a twinkle in his eye and the justified pride of an American animator who's been in the game since 1987. So I guess I'm trying to sum up what, in the short time I saw him, I learned from him as well as my impressions of him as a whole.
|Bill sketching two guys|
|The angel from 'Idiots and Angels'|
On a more personal front, Bill Plympton was asked who his influences were...and I felt it necessary to list them as well! I think it's good that he named film makers and artists as well as animators. When I'm asked that question, I always feel required to name animators, even though I enjoy people outside the field. Some of Plympton's inspirations include Disney, Tex Avery, R Crumb, A.B. Frost, Carlos Nine, Saul Steinberg, Charles Addams, Milton Glazer, Hayao Miyazaki, Quentin Tarantino, Joanna Quinn (which I'm surprised came this far down his list, but she is younger than him so maybe not necessarily an 'influence') & Richard Leicester. The man he admires the most though is a man called Winsor McCay, a cartoonist and animator who died in 1934. He loved his surreal little world that he animated in. Plympton enjoys him so much that he remade a Winsor McCay piece called "Flying House", updating it to the 21st century. He got it funding through a scheme called Kickstarters where people around the world donate to a project and they get their name in the credits. If that isn't some form of love for a man's craft, I don't know what is.
|The female lead from a piece in development by Bill|
So I think that's all I've got to say. I think, if you've stayed with me till here, you must be able to tell that I believe Bill Plympton is quite a guy. He's a shrewd American out there to make a buck, but the amount of ability he has in his little finger makes it all permissible. I think it's a shame that he says he prefers to work alone or keep his team very small, because I think he has a lot more to offer. He wants to keep costs low and keep the animation and drawing style of his films as succinct to his own as possible, which are valid reasons I guess. Sadly, he couldn't stay for the second day of FLIP since he was travelling to Germany for another talk. It doesn't matter though, since I'll keep an eye out for him now. We've definitely not heard the last from Bill Plympton.
|From left to right: Ravi Maheru, Bill Plympton & Myself|