Saturday 31 January 2009

Cosgrove Hall

The last few months for me have been a series of endings. Something I am progressively becoming tired of in so many ways, so adding another to the list was something I kind of viewed with trepidation. But last night, in a bitterly cold Manchester I strolled across to Albany Road in Chorlton cum Hardy to witness the end of an era. Cosgrove Hall Films (formerly productions), was closing its doors for the last time. A round robin email to previous employees had circulated and people had decided to gather to say, well... goodbye really. As I wandered into the front car park familiar silhouettes of people I had once worked with came into view, and with whom I had often lost touch as you do; as we all do and regret. Brian Cosgrove stood on the steps in front of the shuttered door where I had first entered in 1986, and said a few emotional words about how it was the people who make a company such as Cosgroves and their talent, now spread out across the world. A sentiment the 'money' people of the world would do well to remember as they turn all magic into corporate product; into washed out generic drivel.

I had started as a 'newcomer to grade inbetweener' animating on The Big Friendly Giant and went on to 'key' on productions like Count Duckula, Avenger Penguins, Victor and Hugo, various pilots and of course the last ever series of Dangermouse. I was made redundant in 1993 when the ITV franchises went up for sale, and Thames TV stopped paying us! But I stayed in the building as a freelancer with a small group of animators and called ourselves Keyteam. This lasted for a further seven years, but in 2000, as 2D animation work grew thinner on the ground, I upped sticks and went to work for a computer games company.

After Brian had said his words on the steps, we all wandered to The Lloyds pub in Chorlton, and what could have been a sad affair was actually rather different. Alcohol has that effect! Catching up with people is never really an ordeal, particularly when they are all so special.

Cosgrove Hall was a massive part of my life, and without them it's safe to say I wouldn't be doing what I do now. Brian Cosgrove, specifically, as he was more concerned with the 2D side of things, gave me my first break in the industry after being introduced to him by another Cossies employee Ben Turner. So to him and Mark Hall, I say thank you, and I hope that somehow Cosgrove Hall can continue, even if it's not in that old converted tea warehouse it was in for over thirty years.

Cosgrove Hall, I raise a glass to you!

Friday 23 January 2009

Judith and Holofernes

Well, I might as well update... I recently entered the latest CGSociety Challenge, which was 'Steampunk Myths and Legends'. I'm a bit of a Steampunk nut I suppose. Funny really. I was always into historical based Sci-Fi, HGWells, Jules Verne etc, and writers from the Fin de Siecle period. Wilde, MRJames, Rider Haggard, Bram Stoker and Conan Doyle and many late Victorian and Edwardian authors. Their work has long informed my imagination. And then a few years ago along came Steampunk; a name for things I was kind of into anyway. For the challenge I eventually settled on Judith and Holofernes. A bit Biblical for me, or should I say 'Catholic', but I'd always loved the story as it featured a strong woman with motives other than just 'doing it for the man'! And of course the paintings of Artemesia Gentileschi, Caravaggio and Klimt. Well I never finished the version I set out to, and edited it to get something produced for the end of the challenge. Personal things also edited my time...

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Bettie Page

Well, I might as well post some 'art' as well!

A recent Character of the Week on Concept Art was Betty Page after she passed away. This was my entry portraying her as Little Miss Muffet. It looks nothing like her, but was very much a Gil Elvgrenisation of her. Hope it works a bit!

Thank you!

First off, than you so much to all the people who took time to post comments or contact me personally concerning my father. Your kindness was heartfelt and supportive, and much appreciated.

I went to New York City at Christmas with my partner and we stayed at Hotel Chelsea, where my father's mother lived for so long. The building was stunning in a slightly old world way which I hope never changes. The art, atmosphere and the wonderful staff made us most welcome, and I will miss the place.

My partner in NYC. She's got all the ones of me!