I took a break from furiously drawing stuff to meet my atlas deadline to have a look at some of the Pictoplasma Character Walk stuff. This is a bunch of small art galleries showing the work of a load of “contemporary character design and art,” to coincide with Pictoplasma’s second conference.
Beginning with their printy PDF – which was supposed to serve as a guide and map – being way too small and illegible when printed out; it was, like Nick has already pointed out, a disappointment. I realise I’m treating a fine line here, what with me being a pot and calling most of the Character Walk stuff black; but honestly, does having a pencil or a marker pen or Photoshop or Illustrator make any old tit an artist these days?
It made me think, why is it we like certain characters? Disney stuff, Pixar stuff, Hello Kitty, etc. Personality and stories, I imagine. Being cute and/or funny-looking just isn’t enough. Yes, well done Mac-boy, you’ve done a few circles and it looks cute [insert self-made-in-one-minute example of the type of thing I'm talking about]:
The walk highlighted the problem with this character-based art: it’s as unsatisfying as using Amazon to listen to snippets of an album instead of listening to the whole album. Yes, you get the cutesy highlights, but where’s the middle eight, where’s the solo? Where’s the heart? It all seems way too clever clever. And so fucking easy. I’ve made a ring tone: I am a musician! No you’re not, you make jingles, fool!
I didn’t see everything on the walk (I wish I’d see the David Shrigley film and the Friends With You thingy); some stuff I just looked at through the window; most of what I did see was toss (step up 2F, especially as it’s at a gallery across the street from my flat so I’ve seen his crap every day for the last week); and a few bits were great (Ian Stevenson, Derrick Hodgson, and especially Shoboshobo).
On the whole, I wanna cleanse myself by watching some Ren & Stimpy or Tex Avery cartoons to remind myself that characters are more than just lifeless drawings done by wankers like me.