March 04, 2009

Looney Tunes exhibit at MOHAI

For those of you living in (or visiting) the Pacific NW, the Seattle Museum of History and Industry is hosting a fantastic exhibit of original Warner Bros Looney Tunes artwork. I can't show you, because the museum unfortunately doesn't allow photography, but believe me, there is some incredible work on display. In addition to beautiful original storyboards from old Porky Pig episodes and others, there are a slew of original layouts, cels and to top it all off, several lovely original background paintings by the likes of Warner greats Phil DeGuard, Dick Thomas and Paul Julian. Paul Julian's were especially amazing. The highlight of the show for me, are some breathtaking concept paintings by Maurice Noble from the #1 ranked cartoon of all time, "What's Opera, Doc?" The man was a super-talent amongst the super-talented.

The weekend before last, my wife and I attended the exhibit and corresponding events... animation workshops, demos, tours, and even facepainting for the kiddies. Most notable were the animation demos by talented former Looney Tunes background artist, Bob Abrams who lives in the area. He showed how to animate some simple Daffy Duck head turns and even better, produced his portfolio for us to look at, all while telling stories from his career and answering questions. In his portfolio were several lovely examples of his background paintings, a storyboard and some of his fine art paintings. He also produced from the portfolio case, an original Maurice Noble final background layout. A stunning triple-pan from a well-known Wlle E. Coyote episode. He said they used to just give them away because they were considered mere byproducts of the trade at the time. Little did they realize the value these original pieces of production art would hold. Bob said if he had known, he'd have grabbed a lot more!

Bob was kind enough to chat with me one-on-one for a bit and allow a photo. It was a pleasure to meet him and get to watch the considerable skill honed (and still sharp) through his time at Disney and Warner Bros studios.

My nieces also showed up for some of the fun.

The exhibit is up through May 17th, so do yourself a favor and go see it.

On a related note, some of the talented artists from Portland's Grass Hut gallery were recently commissioned to do some Looney Tunes art for Warner Bros. One such artist was the talented Martin Ontiveros, who knocked out some fabulous paintings of classic Looney Tunes characters in his inimitable style and with his usual unmatched precision. They're up on his Flickr page, so check them out! Like the rest of his paintings, you won't believe the quality of these suckers.

Three of Martin's paintings.


pebble said...


william wray said...

these are cool! a sixties black light poster feel.

pumml said...

Yeah, martin really nailed these paintings. Too bad they didn't commission more from him!

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