Partnered with a creative agency Don’t Panic, Greenpeace used a slowed, melodic version of “Everything is Awesome” to score a host of artistically beautiful, yet harrowing images. Together, they created a world overrun by corporate greed while promoting a strong conservation effort. The video shows oil company Shell drilling in the arctic, which results in an oil spill that consumes everything in its path – from indigenous wildlife to the imaginations of children – and even our beloved Santa Claus and two LEGO Movie heroes Emmett and Wyldstyle.
Upon first seeing the video I was moved beyond words – such power in under two minutes. That is amazing. Then, I read that a previous version of the video had been flagged and removed by YouTube. In an effort to make sure the powerful images survive, I’ve compiled a collection of twenty one screen caps. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words are there before you now?
It’s been just about a month since I’ve shared any new art with you – that’s because I’ve been busy working on various other projects (ex. Boug & S’More: A Swamp Tale [novel] and a poetic sexual odyssey), which you could note by following me on twitter or Instagram (@TheBobbyJames).
Yesterday I managed to create two pieces – the first remains untitled, so I’m leaving that up to you:
Title TBD. Watercolor, (c) 2014. Bobby James.
This is my first foray into freehand painting with watercolor. I used various brushes to create the image, then used my fingers to add strokes of yellow. To finish the piece, I mixed in some additional water to splatter paint for the final effect. Pretty simple, really. I woke up, had a vision and knew I wanted to experiment with a medium I’ve never really used before.
I love this piece – but I cannot seem to find the right title. I’d been toying with calling it “Elephants in the Wind,” but I figured, why not let someone else decide? So leave your suggestion in the comments section below – or on social media using the hashtag #NameTheElephants and I’ll use the title I love best! :)
Next, I present:
The Faces of Elephants
This piece began as a doodle while I was having coffee with my friend Pete. Earlier this year, Pete and I decided to have what we call “art dates.” These “dates” are used to not only be social, but to share creative ideas while an organic, creative process occurs in public - the people at Starbucks love us (I think), well, I know they like the art at least.
Pete sketches forms and figures mostly and I let my mind wander into an abstract place (Breath of Life and The Spring of Life were created this same way [see below]). During our outing, I drew the top left swirl in the image. From there, the rest of The Faces of Elephants was born. You’ll notice there is a great deal of symbolism. Are the trunks phallic in nature? Are the tusks suggestive of bondage? Are people consuming the elephants or are elephants existing harmoniously? These are some of the thoughts I hope this piece inspires.
What else do The Faces of Elephants say to you? What do you see? I’m curious to know your response. I can tell this abstraction is influenced by the sexual odyssey I’m composing. Can you?
As you may or may not be aware, The Bobby James Awards date back to 2002, when I decided to create a year-end list for the “Best of WWE.”
Since that time, I’ve expanded my year-end rankings to include movies, television, music and TNA Impact Wrestling. This post, however, is about the film categories and history – which are listed as having began in 2007. For several years though, I’ve been haunted (for lack of a better term) by the fact that some of the movies and performances I most admire and treasure haven’t had the opportunity to be honored or recognized – by me. Yet, in conversations related to all things movies, I find myself constantly referencing some of these titles, actors, characters, scores, etc. and find one (Brokeback Mountain) among my all-time favorite movies.
This post serves to provide notice that I’m dating the “Film” categories back to 2005. All “award” recipients will have an asterisk placed by their name (for 2005, 2006), and below the category, this note shall be referenced.
The countdown begins with the most adorable little chameleon ever. Pascal is a fun, good-natured little guy who’s very protective of Rapunzel, his sole companion. When Flynn Rider comes along, Pascal is none too happy and spends a number of moments standing off against the wanted hero. And who could forget the two times he mischievously throws his tongue into Flynn’s ear – or his adorable squeaks - or cute little facial expressions? Pascal stands by his friend through it all and even has quite the adventure retrieving the wedding rings near the end of the movie. He’s crafty and fun, and one of the best parts of Tangled.
Favorite Moment: Every single interaction with Flynn Rider!
Favorite Quote(s): n/a
9. GUS GUS
from Cinderella (1950). Voice: James MacDonald
Duh! Octavius … or rather, Gus Gus, had to make the list. He’s the funniest little fat mouse ever! Whether he’s acting tough by threatening Lady Tremaine or her evil cat Lucifer, or trying to pick up almost a dozen kernels of corn, Gus provides a lot of comedy for Cinderella. Rescued from a mousetrap, Gus becomes attached to and very protective of Cinderella. He’s her tiny little aloof knight in a mustard tee – and for that, and his adorable laugh, he earns a sweet spot on the list.
Favorite Moment:When he’s competing with the “cluck-clucks” for corn kernels and keeps losing them!
“Duh, duh, duh…Happy Birthday!”
“Take it easy cluck-cluck!”
8. SHENZI, BANZAI and ED
from The Lion King (1994). Voices: Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Cummings and Cheech Martin
Hyenas…in the Pride Lands! At number eight, Shenzi (Whoopi Goldberg, center), Banzai (Cheech Martin, right), and Ed (Jim Cummings, left) are the only trio featured on the list. Notable not only for their comedic moments, the Scar sidekicks are a dangerous pack that aid in Scar’s takeover of Pride Rock, Mufasa’s death and Simba’s exile. As a unit, they’re deadly and individually, their traits make them devious yet joyfully memorable.
Favorite Moment: The “Mufasa, Mufasa, Mufasa” scene.
“Make mine a ‘cub’ sandwich.” – Shenzi
“There ain’t no way I’m goin’ in there! What you want me to come out there lookin’ like you, cactus butt?” – Shenzi
“[uncontrollable laughter]” – Ed
“Who you callin’ upid-stay?” – Banzai
“Do you know what we do to kings who step out of their kingdom?” – Shenzi
from The Lion King (1994). Voice: Robert Guillaume
Like the circle of life, Rafiki begins and ends the story of The Lion King hoisting a cub into the air from atop Pride Rock. A friend to Mufasa, Rafiki (whose name means “friend” in Swahili) serves as an advisor to Simba, as he grapples with his destiny as “the one true king.” An inhabitant of an old baobab tree, Rafiki is wise, mysterious and a tad bit eccentric (Simba even refers to him as a “creepy little monkey”) - but his lessons are invaluable to Simba, who learns quickly from the loveable mandrill.
Favorite Moment: Rafiki’s lesson to Simba about running from or learning from the past.
“Oh yes, the past can hurt, but he way I see it: You can either run from it, or learn from it.”
“Asante sansa Squash banana, Wiwi nugu Mi mi apana … can’t cut it out, it’ll grow right back!”
“He lives in you.”
from Aladdin (1992). Voice: Robin Williams
Remember wanting to find your own magic lamp in a Cave of Wonders, so that you could have a friend like Genie? Me too. Genie is one of the most animated and boisterous supporting characters in all of Disney. He transformed Aladdin into “Prince Ali,” and is responsible for the set up between Aladdin and Jasmine. He’s loving, loyal and loud, but beneath all of that, he only really desires his freedom.
Favorite Moment: The “itty bitty living space” moment and the “Never Had a Friend Like Me” musical number.
“Phenomenal cosmic powers, itty bitty living space.”
“Yo, Rugman! Haven’t seen you in a few millennia, give me some tassel!”
“You ain’t never had a friend like me!”
“Do you mind if I kiss the monkey? …Oh, hairball!”
“Thank you for choosing ‘Magic Carpet’ for all your travel needs. Don’t stand until the rug has come to a complete stop. Thank you, goodbye now. Goodbye. Goodbye. Thank you. Goodbye.”
from FROZEN (2013). Voice: Josh Gad
Some people are worth melting for – so are some of Disney’s supporting characters, especially Olaf, the snowman who longs to “do whatever snow does in summer!” First introduced as a lifeless snowman while Elsa and Anna are kids, Olaf is later brought to life and becomes one of the most animated and flamboyant characters in recent Disney memory. His many adorable moments, quotes and “In Summer” number made him relatable, lovable and instantly classic and memorable.
Favorite Moment: When he tells Anna that some people are worth melting for, or when he’s admiring his nose!
“Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle, but put me in summer and I’ll be a … happy snowman!”
“Oh I love it [his new carrot nose]! It’s so cute, it’s like a little baby unicorn.”
“Hi everyone! I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs.”
“Heads up! Watch out for my butt!”
“Yeah! It really is beautiful isn’t it? It’s so white – you know have a little color! I’m thinking like maybe some crimson, chartreuse … how ’bout yellow? No, not yellow – yellow and snow [muffled brrr-sound] no go.”
from The Princess and the Frog (2009). Voice: Jim Cummings
Ray, the Cajun firefly, is the only supporting character featured on the list that dies, while battling “The Shadow Man,” Dr. Facilier! Before Ray meets his tragic end though, he wows the audience with the “Gonna Take You There” number in the bayou and his story of Evangeline. Ray (alongside ‘gator Louis) adds a great deal of soul, humor and folklore to The Princess and the Frog. His bittersweet end sees him finally be united with Evangeline, as a star beside her.
Note: Ray’s funeral was ranked as my #10 Animated “Awww” Moment.
Favorite Moment: Meeting Ray and the numbers “Gonna Take You There” and “Ma Belle Evangeline.”
“My name Raymond, but everybody call me Ray.”
“Ooo, I’m a Cajun, bro!”
“Go to bed! Y’all from Shreveport?”
“First rule of the bayou – never take directions from a ‘gator.”
“Don’t make me light my butt!”
from The Little Mermaid (1989). Voice: Samuel E. Wright
Who doesn’t love Sebastian? Sure, he’s a little crabby, but it’s because nobody listens to him, especially Ariel! From start to finish, the wee crustacean transforms from a hard-shell crab into a softy! His calypso-reggae infused songs are brought to life by voice actor Samuel E. Wright and endure as some of the most memorable and timeless. Recall “Under the Sea” or “Kiss the Girl?” What’s great about Sebastian is that he’s always got everyone else’s best interests in mind – and he works tirelessly to help in any way possible. Aww.
Favorite Moment: When Sebastian teaches Ariel how to pucker her lips OR when Sebastian faces off against Chef Louis to the song “Les Poissons!”
“Teenagers! Dhey dink dhey know everything. You give dhem an inch; dhey swim all over you.”
“My nerves are shot. This is a catastrophe! What would her father say? I tell you what her father’d say. He’d say he’s gonna kill himself a crab, dat’s what her father’d say…”
“You gotta pucker up your lips, like this…”
“Geez mon, I’m surrounded by amateurs!”
2. TIMON & PUMBAA
from The Lion King (1994). Voices: Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella
Timon and Pumbaa are inseparable! They’re two of the most beloved characters of all-time, and the most dynamic duo ever created by Disney. They enter the story of The Lion King at the most somber moment to provide hope, humor and even more spirit. They’re rambunctious and zany, but above all, they’re tender-hearted and endearing. After all, they save Simba - a lion – one of their natural predators! Together, as co-parents, they protect Simba until he’s an adult – and they stand beside him as he takes his “rightful place as king.”
Favorite Moment: When Pumbaa is stuffed and Timon dresses in drag to do the hula.
“What do you want me to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?” - Timon
“Pumbaa: It’s times like these my buddy Timon here says: ‘You got to put your behind in your past’. / Timon: No, no, no. Amateur. Lie down before you hurt yourself. It’s ‘You got to put your past behind you’.”
from Beauty and the Beast (1992). Voice: Jerry Orbach
“But of course!” The French candelabra Lumière tops the list. Named after pioneering filmmakers, The Lumière Brothers, and fashioned with Pepé Le Pew in mind, Lumière is the quintessential supporting character. He’s witty, charming, free-spirited and romantic – not to mention, one of the driving forces behind Belle and Beast’s romance. His resistance to Cogsworth’s traditional attitude, hospitality toward Belle, and fiery romance with Featherduster provide plenty of memorable moments or musical numbers, like “Be Our Guest!” He is the perfect host for entertaining and embodies all that one might imagine about France.
Note: Lumière has been my favorite supporting Disney character since I was a child. I oftentimes reference Beauty and the Beast, Lumière and Pepé Le Pew when discussing why I studied French, or explaining why I love the idea of Parisian life.
Favorite Moment: The “Be Our Guest” sequence and his on-screen moment with Featherduster.
“But of Course!”
“Ma Chère mademoiselle. It is with deepest pride and great pleasure the we welcome you tonight …”
That’s the countdown! How did you like the list? Are there moments or quotes from these characters that you liked but don’t see here? Share it in the comments section below. Are your favorite supporting characters missing from the list? Make the case for them below too! Thanks for reading.
“Hiccup” from DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon 2
Have you seen DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 yet? If not, do so – it’s a fantastic animated feature that, in a roundabout way, is the basis for this post. While I was surfing Facebook, I saw Moviepilot Animation’s article: So Let’s Talk About How To Train Your Dragon’s Gay Character. Upon completing the article, I read through a few of the responses, but the top rated response said:
“He is not gay…my god its. A kids movie..people are such idiots trying to make something out of nothing…get a hobby!”
While those of you who know me may think this will focus on the emergence of openly gay characters in animated movies, it won’t. Trust me, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a research article analyzing gay characters in animated movies. That project looks more like a go every day. Instead, I’m going to comment on why ANIMATED FEATURE does not equal KID’S MOVIE.
This is something that’s bothered me immensely over the years, leaving me curious to know: Why do so many people say animated movies are just for kids? Is it the bright and bold color, the catchy musical numbers (ahem, Frozen - I know, I should just “Let It Go”), or is it simply because it’s animated? A cartoon. I can’t figure it out.
Now, if you’re like me, you love animated features – and you like to go to the theater while schools are in session, so that you may enjoy them without all the chatterbox-children around. But doesn’t it just so happen that kids are almost always on break when the animated features flood the box office? It does. Then, you go to the theater not thinking much of it and surprise! A million kids. The kids aren’t the problem though, it’s their chaperoning adult(s), right?
I generally make it a point to see every animated feature that comes out. I’ve loved them since I was a child – and since the emergence of Pixar, the ante’s been upped! Many more animated features are sophisticated and contain social commentaries (ex. openly gay characters emerging in animated features), subtle humor and storylines for adults. The [mostly] breathtaking animation is still there, but that’s for the enjoyment of everyone right? So I can’t figure out why when I walk into a theater full of kids I’m shot a dirty look from time to time. Am I not allowed to see an animated feature in theaters if I don’t have children? Because I’m seeing the movie alone, am I weird? …or worse, a suspected pedophile?
On countless occasions, I’ve had friends tell me they wanted to see whatever the newest animated feature was, but they can’t go alone because “it’d be weird.” Why is it weird? Why can grown men or women not go see an animated movie alone? Who says and what authority do they have? Then I think, it all comes back to this idea that animated features are “Kids’ Movies.”
Newsflash: They’re not.
Animated features, like all other Hollywood productions are rated in accordance with the MPAA. Generally, these movies are rated G or PG (you can explore all that who, how, etc. here), but that alone doesn’t mean the movie is strictly for kids. When I envision kid-centric entertainment, I think of programming like Baby Einstein, or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, just to list some obvious (TV) examples.
Carl and Ellie from Disney-Pixar’s Up
Have you seen the Shrek or Ice Age franchises? I don’t think I need to elaborate on all of that adult humor. What about more subtle movies like Disney-Pixar’s Up? The entire Carl-Ellie relationship is adult-oriented, as is the “Married Life” montage. Sure, it’s brightly colored and full of wondrous imagination and imagery, but Up‘s core (its heart) appeals to both children and adults. My point is, these animated features are made for the enjoyment of everyone.
By design, animated features resonate with each of us differently. They could inspire a child to become an animator. They are proponents of imagination (children may want to be ruling princesses or explorers imagining great adventures of their own). In the same way kids are inspired, adults may find humor, they may reminisce of days gone by, or they may be inspired themselves. An adult may write that book or screenplay they always wanted to write, or to take the adventure they’d always imagined (I went to New Orleans in 2012 because of The Princess and the Frog), or just to laugh and love as much as the animated feature suggests. Through the lens of adulthood we “see” and take away more from animated features, we understand their souls and not just the pretty pictures.
Now please, don’t think my last statement discredits a child’s ability to understand a movie (or any piece of media or art). I’m the last person that would do that. In fact, in my own endeavors, I find myself fighting for the kids, saying they deserve complexity, subtlety and perfection in the media they may consume. What I am saying, is that adults have a greater understanding (sometimes) and that just because it’s animated doesn’t mean it’s not for them too.
Call it a Family Movie or better yet, just call it what it is – an animated feature or an animated movie – but unless it’s directly stated to be so, don’t call it a “Kid’s Movie.” Recognize they’re made for the enjoyment of everyone – take away the weirdness and the odd looks. Give everyone the chance to be inspired, just because you’re grown doesn’t mean you don’t need it. Go watch any one of your childhood favorites now, and as Beauty and The Beast suggests:
“There may be something there that wasn’t there before.”
I’d like to know, is there a movie you feel bridges the gap between childhood and adulthood? What are some of your favorite animated moments or quotes? How about your favorite animated characters and why? What themes do you see in animated features that appeal to adults? Let’s talk in the comments section!
Last week, there was a bit of a clown craze. This week, I’m tackling sexy. The three pieces I present here, Mya, Nina, and Queen Isis, all began with an idea for hair.
Nina was first in this group. On my wall there’s a Marilyn Monroe poster. I looked at that to draw inspiration, but didn’t want to simply duplicate something in existence – so I exaggerated some features (eyes, lips) to create a lusty Russian-esque woman. I’m satisfied to present:
(c) 2014, Bobby James
Nina. (c) 2014. Bobby James. Pencil/Marker
Next, I wanted to create a desirable, perhaps exotic American girl. That’s Mya. She’s got flowing black hair, a dark tan complexion and an innocent face. She’s that diamond you may find in small-town, Midwestern or Southern America. Here’s:
(c) 2014, Bobby James
Mya. (c) 2014. Bobby James. Pencil/Marker.
Finally, the most recent creation (6/15) is Queen Isis. Knowing I wanted to create a strong black female with a ‘fro, for whatever reason, I kept thinking of Beyoncé’s character “Foxy Cleopatra” from whatever Austin Powers movie that was. I knew I wanted Queen Isis to command attention and to fill the page. She’s strong, she’s beautiful, she’s powerful and she’s … ready to disco? I’m really satisfied with the final result, I think the “Queen” turned out exactly how I’d envisioned her – with beauty, power, attitude, and bold color! All hail:
(c) 2014, Bobby James
Queen Isis. (c) 2014. Bobby James. Marker/Pencil.
There they are, the latest additions to my 2014 art collection: View more of My Art here and use the comments section to express your likes/dislikes about the work. Thanks for looking!
I’m on a clown craze lately! I’m beginning to think I’m designing creepy clowns to overcome my fear of them? I have to prepare for the upcoming Freakshow season of American Horror Story, after all.
That said, there are a few pieces to introduce to the new (organically so) collection!
First I’ll begin with Burlesque. Recently I was told that my art – and all of the skinny subjects – were perpetuating stereotypes and reinforcing current ideas of body image. I considered this thought. Was there a point? Perhaps. Or perhaps the images I present are what is necessary for the piece as I’ve envisioned it. Either way, I created Burlesque with a woman named ShowMe Charlotte (Charlotte Sumtimes, etc.) in mind. She was the first burlesque performer I’d ever seen, and I loved how completely comfortable and beautiful she is. She’s also seductive and knows how to own her stage. Currently in the mindset for clowns, though, I gave this image a twist and created a very colorful, curvaceous burlesque woman, the first of her kind - I present:
The next piece, Sin & Lust is intended to not only be homoerotic (you can thank National LGBT Pride Month for the current excess of homoerotic art being produced), but to be an idealized vision of a dark, twisted circus act. The two, as you can see are co-stars and suggestively lovers (as intended by the similar tattoos). Sin & Lust are intertwined – linked together by fate and the circus. (note: I really, really want to find a way to have this circus-themed underwear produced! Anyone know how to sew? Haha). Here are:
Sin & Lust
(c) 2014, Bobby James.
Sin & Lust (c) 2014. Bobby James.
Thirdly, I present The Recruitment. For this piece, I have a white man and black woman (the circus power couple) recruiting a new clown to the circus. Her offer is a balloon, his offer is her. Controversial? Maybe, maybe not – that depends on your reaction. Will he or won’t he accept the offers and join this group? Is the circus all he’s being recruited for? Here I decided to play a bit more with hair – and the concept of hats and wigs. The black male clown features a wig I created separately and applied to the picture later. I present:
(c) 2014, Bobby James.
The Recruitment (c) 2014. Bobby James.
Finally, I give you Circus Freak. Circus Freak is intended to be dark and unsettling. He’s peering over his shoulder – he’s coming for you. For this image, I wanted to try my hand at circus lettering, which I worked in as a tattoo prominently featured between the clown’s shoulders. Here is:
(c) 2014, Bobby James.
Circus Freak (c) 2014. Bobby James.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the pieces. Feedback is not only always welcomed, but encouraged. What do these images make you think? I’m dying to know!
That should come as no surprise. The true surprise of Spray! though is that upon finishing the outline, I hated this piece – but, instead of scrapping the piece altogether, I had an instinct to make it work. I added a squiggle here and there, some contrasting lines and boom! I created a new elephant that I am both proud of and that I love. Here is:
I spent the last couple days working on a new piece titled In the Garden. After receiving some feedback that people would like to see my work feature more women, I decided to deliver. In the Garden is a piece I hope translates to represent serenity and beauty. After sketching the image, I took a break to decide the color scheme, which was ultimately determined by what came next – the flowers. I decided the flowers could serve dual purpose, to remove the totality of nudity and to add to the peaceful nature and beauty of the image. What’s best is that I allowed the color selection for the flowers be an organic, but complimentary decision – and they subsequently dictated the rest of the image.
I love the finished product. I hope you do too. I present:
I woke up this morning with a couple visions in my head for new art involving clowns. Seems timely provided the media’s coming clown fixation (Lady GaGa’s ARTPOP cover art, the upcoming American Horror Story: Freakshow, “Crazy Steve” from IMPACT Wrestling and rumors about who will play “The Joker” next). I have a feeling pop culture is about to enter the funhouse.
The first image I created, titled Clownin’ Around features a clown doing a backward bend. This picture may seem kind of random – but it’s very specifically inspired. I like the idea of a figure in motion, which is something dictated by using a clown as a subject. Next, I thought of the costuming – how does this clown need to look? I didn’t want the image to be overly cliché and feature a frilly body suit. Then, I remembered, about a year ago, I’d sent a tweet to Todd Sanfield (a PharmD student, model and owner of The Todd Sanfield Collection underwear line). I recall asking Todd if he’d ever accept design ideas - because I fully intended to submit a few – but I never did (that’s life in grad school). So, Todd, if you’re reading – consider the underwear featured in Clownin’ Around a submission – and consider the idea for a potential photo shoot or next book possibly titled Circus or Funhouse (like Motel | Hotel, or Virgin Island)?
By choosing to feature the clown in underwear, I’ve provided a homoerotic undertone – which, along with the color scheme, is timely considering it’s National LGBT Pride Month. Finally, I wanted to do a new take on rainbow-colored hair. Why do all clowns have to have gigantic afros that remind me of the Madagascar 3 song, “Afro Circus” (I saved the ‘fro for the second image!)? Without any further ado, I present to you:
The next piece, titled Straight Jacket was the logical progression for this narrative. What’s the one thing I could do that could drive this clown absolutely mad? Take away his movement and change his hair – essentially transforming him into a generic performer. This image is about confinement and restraint. Despite the clown’s situation though, there is a devious and dastardly smirk. With reference to ARTPOP and Heath Ledger’s “Joker,” I smudged the make-up to provide the illusion of instability. Here is:
(c) 2014, Bobby James
(c) 2014. Bobby James.
Thanks for reading. Hope you like the work. Let me know!