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Amid Amidi talks about his book Cartoon Modern – Page 2

Amid Amidi talks about researching Cartoon Modern, his magazine Animation Blast, and 2d animation...

READERSVOICE.COM: How did you track down some of the rare or forgotten drawings and cels that appear in Cartoon Modern?

AMID AMIDI: It took far longer than I anticipated to find the artwork, especially because I’m not a collector so I had to borrow all of the art from other people.

The artwork in the book comes from dozens of different sources.

Basically it was just persistence and following every possible lead.

Of course, I ended up finding far more than could possibly be printed so that’s why there’s also the Cartoon Modern blog.

RV: On the blog of John Kricfalusi, who has written for your magazine Animation Blast, he said that cartoons, and western civilisation in general, started going into decline with the hippies in the 1960s – perhaps with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, although I’m not sure.

I was wondering how your views compared with his in this respect?

AA: It’s those damn Beatles! Actually I think you can find enjoyable art in every decade.

The 70s for example was, in some respects, the peak of live-action filmmaking, not to mention an era for some great music.

As far as the visual arts, I don’t think there’s any question that there was a serious decline in craftsmanship between the 1960s and the 1980s, at least compared to the 1920s-1950s.

This was in no way exclusive to animation.

The sharp dropoff in craftsmanship was felt throughout the art world from graphic design to fine art to illustration and comic strips.

How did that happen? I don’t know if anybody can say for sure, but it certainly bears out the saying, “All good things must come to an end.”

RV: What made you decide to create your magazine Animation Blast?

AA: The Blast was basically created as a response to the fact that there weren’t any animation magazines that I wanted to read at the time.

Of course, looking at the early Blasts today, I really don’t want to read those either.

I’m actually pleased with how the current one, Animation Blast #9 turned out, but I can’t say the same for some of the earlier editions.


RV: How did you set up the layout, printing, and distribution of Animation Blast?

AA: Animation Blast has largely been a one-person project and it’s been a conscious choice to do it all myself.
The experience of handling everything from layout and editing to dealing with printers and distributors has proven invaluable.
When I started doing the book Cartoon Modern, I was working with an editor, proofreader, book designers, design director, and an entire team, but the understanding of the publishing process that I gained from doing the Blast helped to ensure that my original vision remained intact and that I ended up with a book that I was personally proud of.

RV: What’s your prognosis for 2D animation?

AA: Labels like “2D” and “3D” are becoming increasingly irrelevant in today’s environment.

For example, how does one classify all the “2D” cartoons that are created digitally nowadays?

The whole “2D vs. 3D” deathmatch was drummed up primarily by the mainstream media as an overly simplified attempt to explain the increasing number of CG animated features and the massive late-90s meltdown of hand-drawn feature animation.

But that idea doesn’t take into consideration that the vast majority of animation on television has always been, and remains to this day, hand-drawn.

And all anybody has to do is go to an animation festival to see that hand-drawn animation is still a primary form of expression amongst independent filmmakers.

Filmmakers today are using an unbelievably broad range of techniques: painting, collage, Flash, stop motion, traditional 3D graphics, mixed media, etc. And none of these techniques are in competition with one another.

If anything, the emerging digital techniques of the past decade have only helped to make animation a richer, more exciting medium.
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