CalArts celebrates the 100th birthday of legendary animator and Chouinard Art Institute alumnus, Chuck Jones (1912-2002) with a special program at REDCAT on Sept. 26.
Disney and Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter (Film/Video BFA 79) introduces the evening's program, which features the screening of Lasseter's favorite Chuck Jones cartoons. In a New York Times interview, he touched on Jones’ enduring appeal, stating,“Jones’ comic timing is the best it’s ever been in cinema…. I still watch his cartoons today, and they’re just as funny as ever.”
In a career spanning more than six decades, Jones created 300 films, earning him three Oscars as director and an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. The animator is perhaps best known for his work bringing life to Warner Brothers most famous characters–Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig, and personally creating Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin Martian, Pepe le Pew and Michigan J Frog.
Jones said that he never intended to be an artist: At 15, his parents took him out of high school and enrolled him at Chouinard, one of two predecessor institutions that merged to form CalArts (the other being Los Angeles Conservatory of Music). When reflecting on this experience he said, “I had no idea what I was going to do there, or why I was at art school, but it was something I liked.” After graduating in 1930 he went on to work for Warner Bros.
In a 2007 interview with Animation World Magazine, Jones gave this advice to the next generation of artists and animators.
AWM: Based on your years of experience in animation, what would you like to say to the young aspiring talent coming into the industry?
CJ: I think you’ll find that at any studio, they don’t want you to draw Bugs Bunny. They want you to be able to draw the human figure. If you look back through the history of art, all the way back to cave paintings, you’ll notice that the great painters always were able to paint with a simple line, just like we do in animation. The main thing is to learn how to do it, and then have something to say with your skills. Any writer will tell you that it doesn’t do any good to write if you don’t have something to say.
Proceeds for this event benefit the Joe Ranft CalArts Alumni Scholarship Fund and the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity.