The more i am in the habit of meeting people outside of school, i'm gathering some awareness of how unusual my choice of field can seem to other people. Generally this fact about my self is met with interest and curiosity, and subsequently, I've gotten more and more reflective on the subject of how exactly i wound up here. I do maintain that my ability to draw is not some astonishing and mysterious god-given gift...if anything that would be my relentless drive to keep doing it, when i could be accomplishing far more useful things. Who knows if that can really even be counted as a "gift". Instead, when people get around to asking me why i would be interested in cartoons as a career, i can only think of answers which can only cast a more controversial light on my upbringing.
In general, although it's contrary to a lot of present-day parenting methods, i could not be more thankful that my parents let me watch a whole fucking lot of tv, mostly cartoons which i gravitated towards. Given how brilliant and talented and inspired I wound up as a young adult, it's clear that the whole tv/cartoons theory is a load of shit. Then again, when i was younger, we didn't have iPhones, Jersey Shore or Selena Gomez (or tweens, for that matter) (Amanda Bynes is a still by my standards an excellent role model, especially now that she's announced her retirement from entertainment). As a result, and much i the same way my baby boomer father can still remember almost every single ad jingle that aired on TV in the 60's, there are a number of animations that left a considerable impression on me, and i am plagued with remembering them in snippets long past their having fallen into obscurity. Animalympics is one, Pirates of Dark Water another...but some times i'm not lucky enough to have remembered enough details to attempt to find them again, and that is almost always enourmously frustrating.
For as long as i can remember i've had vague memories of a cartoon I once watched as a child. All i could remember were two cats, and some rail tracks, and the emotions of one of the characters. Not a whole lot to go off of, but every opportunity i get to watch an unknown animated film with cats has made me hopeful i would once day rediscover it, and be freed from the mystery of this animation which has done nothing short of haunt me.
PRAISE THE LORD IT TURNED OUT TO BE THIS GEM ALLLLL ALONG.
It actually happened yesterday when, beneath the pressure of an impending deadline, I was furiously trying to find some inspirational reference for a stylized Parisienne skyline, and my mother began calling upon her fondness for Chuck Jones and 60's animation. Few people get to know it, but my mother is another HUGE reason i got into animation. An artist herself, she has always held cartoons of her era in high esteem, and my child hood was not only tagging along on her various mural painting jobs, but also sneaking peeks into her Art of Looney Toons books, and following in her obsession with a specific Chuck Jones creation by name of Pussy foot and Marc Antony.
I was continuing to stress about my lack of inspiration for my project, i was hardly paying attention when she began to suggest i look for a movie about cats in Paris which she could barely recall and i dismissed as probably being the Aristocats or something more well-known. So while i was busy not paying her much heed, she quietly dismissed herself to her laptop upstairs to commence her own google adventure. A few minutes later, she was busy bothering me to you tube something called "gay purr-ee", the results of which are nothing less than historic in my mind.
Turns out it was the long lost kitty film of my memories, only more 60's campy, goofy and brilliantly UPA styled than I could have ever remembered. More ironic still was that it quickly became apparent that she had been referencing this film for years whenever she would doodle cartoons of our black cat Duncan, whom she likened to a burnt matchstick as a kitten, in a style that was a distinct reference to the Money Cats which appear in the film.
As if i needed any more reason to love these character designs.