Thursday, May 28, 2015


I did a decorative piece on wood for some friends.  They wanted hummingbirds for a picture to be mounted above their newly painted garage which has an overhanging roof over the door. This was way out of my comfort zone because I just don't do decorative paintings.  Anyway, they like it so I'm happy.  This is an oil painting on wood which I sealed with Satin Helmsman Indoor/Outdoor Spar Urethane.

The tail going over the border is a trick I picked up from my mother who would paint hands, or a feather in a hat or something, breaking outside the picture and over the border.  She did one of me as a kid where my one arm looked like it was leaning on the border and my hand hung over and cast a shadow.  I wish I had that painting now, and wonder where it is.


Friday, May 22, 2015

The Beatles and Aleister Crowely

This Blog is mostly dedicated to animation but occasionally something gets my attention that prompts me to write about it.  This is one of those times and the subject is once again The Beatles. 

I’ve come to believe that the Beatles were more mirrors than innovators, and because of their popularity, they were able to influence a generation with new ideas.  I think they became a conduit for us that reflected their own spiritual quest and made fashion and esoteric subjects like transcendental mediation assessable to everyone.  The Beatles also brought a very British Victorian history with them and tried to reconcile it to a new modern way of thinking. 

The Beatles admiration of occultist Aleister Crowley is such an example of this British integration.  In England, Crowely was infamously known as ‘the wickedest man on earth’ and called himself ‘the Beast’ after the biblical Antichrist. 

After the controlling influence of manager Brian Epstein was taken away by his passing, the Beatles admittedly felt free to pursue more personal subject matter in their work.  The turning point where Aleister Crowley became visible as an influence was the cover of “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.”  Crowley is plainly shown in the upper left hand corner, but there is some speculation that he may appear twice on the album as the partially obscured red-faced figure wearing a fez.   The idea of ‘twins’ would be further built into the Beatle mythology with the whole Paul is Dead rumor, which also began with the Pepper cover.      

Crowely wrote a book he claims to have been dictated to him by the spirit Aiwass.   According to Crowley, the first appearance of Aiwass was during the Three Days of the writing of Liber al vel Legis. His first and only identification as such is in Chapter I: "Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat"  This spirit would later write the book the Beatles would embrace called “The Book of The Law,” which preached the concept of "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."

Crowely admonished practitioners of the law to listen to recordings backwards and to practice speaking backwards. An example he gives is “Let him practice speaking backwards: thus for ‘I am He’ let him say ‘Eh ma I’.”  Sounds like ‘I am he, as you are he, as you are me, etc, from “I am the Walrus,” doesn’t it?

How about the image from “The Magical Mystery Tour” showing a sign on Paul’s desk that reads: ‘I Was’?  Now admittedly it reads: ‘I you Was’, but if you just read the bold letters it sounds like Crowely’s spirit guide Aiwass, doesn’t it?

Sir Paul has often stated he believes in magic and he clarifies it’s magic with a ‘K’ spelled ‘magick’.  This is how Crowely spelled it.  Now the Beatles weren’t the only ones to follow Crowely.  Black Sabbath, Lead Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, and many others were adherents, along with the father of solid rocket fuel, Jack Parsons, and the creator of the cult Scientology, L.R. Hubbard, interesting, no?

Friday, May 08, 2015

Will Vinton Making Features Again.

Above is a link to an article from Cartoon Brew announcing the partnering of two companies which will help Will Vinton to make feature films once again.  There are some proposed properties that date back to went I was employed there.  I'm glad to see they may finally get a green light.  But I think there is more to the story. Ideas are free game if someone beats you to the punch, so they say. 

The posted artwork from the decommissioned Digital Domain film, “The Legend of Tembo” has prompted me to write about what I feel may be the origin of other films that did reach the screen, all starting with Will.

 Below the artwork for Tembo I added a concept drawing I did  for one of Will's projects about a baby elephant with a tick bird friend who is hunted by a man riding a Bull Elephant. 

Do you notice the friendly tick bird and Bull Elephant in the Tembo picture?

Just as I suspect Tembo to have had its beginnings with Will Vinton, so do I believe Will may have been the source of several others.  Let me explain.  There was a time feature material was being actively developed at the Will Vinton Studios and the results were three to four ideas that were shopped around Hollywood for financing and distribution.  Nothing came from the effort.  Or did it? 

One idea was about a messenger pigeon that helped win World War One.  Do you recall a film called “Valiant” about a messenger pigeon that helped win World War One?

Another idea was about zoo animals that break out and try to get back to their home in Africa.  Sounds like two films that competed with each other to reach the box office first, “Madagascar” and “The Wild”.  I know first hand both films came from the same script because the lead characters names were the same while I was working on “Wild” and the lions name had to be changed.  Will Vinton was given an executive producer credit on “The Wild” but says he didn’t even know about it till he was told later.

Then there was a musical version of "The Frog Prince" and shortly "The Princess and the Frog " came out.

Lastly an idea was pitched about a small action figure named Cliff Damage, and then the movie “Small Soldiers” hit the screen not long afterwards. 
I see "Jack Hightower",a comic action adventure about a miniaturized secret agent, is among the ideas in development with this new venture.

Good for you Will, and hope to see you on the big screen again.