Visited the Cartoon Art Museum (339/366)

“Ridicule is the Burden of Genius.”
~ Daffy Duck

San Francisco’s own Cartoon Art Museum is the only museum in all of the western US that specializes in the display and preservation of cartoon art.  Nick had been wanting to visit this place for some time, and right now there’s a special exhibition being held there on “The Art of ParaNorman” – a film we saw recently and loved – so we decided to pay a visit this afternoon.

The Cartoon Art Museum is at 655 Mission Street, not far from the Metreon entertainment complex.  It’s easy to get to on public transit or by car – there are several parking lots nearby.

As soon as you walk in, you see that the Cartoon Museum has one of the now-famous “Hearts in San Francisco” art pieces, all cartooned out.  It’s really cool.

There’s also an awesome animation camera in the lobby – this one was used in the production of the very first cartoon series made for American TV, which was produced right here in San Francisco.  Rad.

“No Photography, Please!”  Man, couldn’t these guys READ?  Ha ha – we later found out that photography is actually allowed, just no *flash* photography.  They really should change their sign.

In the first room of the museum, there’s currently an exhibit on the influential indie comic series “Love and Rockets” – celebrating their 30th anniversary!

The next gallery is dedicated to “SketchTravel,” a project in which a sketchbook made a journey and passed hands from talented artist to artist, 71 in all, through 12 countries over the course of four years – each person contributing their own voice to the book.  The sketchbook was sold at auction last year, helping to fund international literacy non-profit, “Room to Read.”  Very cool.

The regular installation at the museum is “An Exploration in Cartoon Art” with examples of cartoon history, a small viewing area,

and awesome classic pieces from some iconic cartoons:

This pencil sketch is from “Flowers and Trees” – one of Walt Disney‘s first Silly Symphonies – from 1932!

They even have an original storyboard from The Simpsons.

And, the star of the show at the museum right now, the Art of ParaNorman.  There are several very cool pieces in this exhibit.

The work involved with these is magical – no detail was too small.  Like in this hallway scene, the “Run for Your Life 5k” poster is hilarious; and the race is sponsored by the “fine folks at Laika, Inc.” – so great!

This trash can is fantastic – we loved how everything in the scene really just adds to that feeling of realism, even though everything is stylized – and again, no detail is left out – look at the plastic bag next to the trash can.  And these are all miniature!

Also on display were Norman’s House, and Mitch’s van, complete with characters inside and zombie on top.  Just so cool.

A few more great examples of detailing – on the FENCE on the side of Norman’s house is a tiny “Missing” poster – someone’s lost their dog “Potato” – and the bags of soil at the other side of the house even have real, tiny print on them.  They read, “Tom’s Starter Dirt – We pick up some dirt from a dirt farm, aka the ground.  We put it in a bag.  We put the bags on a really big truck.  We sell you the bags.  We get rich.”  I love it!

The Cartoon Art Museum is a wonderful place to visit.  If you get a chance, go see for yourself.  People have remarked that it’s small, but since it’s comic art, there’s a lot of reading you should do to fully appreciate some of the pieces, and you really can spend a lot of time there.  It’s also just really awesome to see so much hand-drawn art in today’s world of computers and printouts (and in the case of ParaNorman, it’s just fascinating to see the marriage of the multiple medias!).  There’s even a gift store with a lot of cool stuff, and items related to the current exhibits.  Support the Arts!  Go!

Related Links:
Cartoon Art Museum
ParaNorman (Two-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)

One Response to “Visited the Cartoon Art Museum (339/366)”
  1. Ying says:

    The stop action movies are so cool, like The Wrong Trousers. (Just looked it up and found out that it was made in 1993!) ParaNorman looks like the next level of sophistication in this fascinating art form!

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