I'm simply stunned and honored beyond words, as my animation "MoneyMaker!" won the award for 3rd Annual Bill Plympton Award for Indie Animation! I've always loved cartoons and art all my life, and I always aspired to be good at art as my brother and mom would draw around me and encourage me to try my hand at it. But it wasn't until I was around 13 years old that I discovered the works of Bill Plympton and became inspired by his work. "The Wiseman" and "When Push Comes To Shove" were my instant favorites. It was hilarious and utterly surreal, but his work carried a really humble, down-to-earth warmth in it that radiated with emotion.
The way his work was detailed and meticulous, yet completely hand drawn with simple paper and colored pencils made me think "Woah, I wanna make drawings come to life just like that!" It was spectacular cartoons that made me feel like I could be capable of something like that if I tried. Like it didn't intimidate you, but rather encouraged you to pick up a pencil and go for it. Then I actually tried it and soon discovered that this animation stuff was freakin' hard as hell. I had no idea how to go about it, let alone anything involving lead ins and timing and ease outs.
But from that moment on, I knew this would be my life. Animation is an art form like no other. It's the one form of art that literally let you birth life into the inanimate. To give actual breath and life to your art and make it take flight far above and beyond the boring limitations of real life was what made me dedicate myself to animation. And thanks to Bill Plympton and his art, I looked far beyond the meager limits of my life at that point to see the whole universe in minuet detail through animation.
With practice, patience, and determination, anything can become possible. If I can tell my 14year old self that I would grow up to make cartoons and one day meet the crazy man that makes all those awesome animated shorts you love, I would've shit myself inside out in utter disbelief. I would've felt too intimidated try. But I did try, and I kept at it. And I always will keep at it. I'm always hungry, and knowledge nourishes my soul.
Thank you for everything, Mr. Plympton. For inspiring me and creating in me the aspirations that I pursue. I'll always do my best to get better in animation and make the most surreal and imaginative cartoons this crazy mind can concoct. I want to use animation to give the impossible living form and, with it, inspire others just as you've inspired me! Your animation makes the surreal and unbelievable a reality, and for that, you are the absolute best. Better than all the rest!
I also want to thank all my family and friends including (but not limited to): The stellar Mr. Ken Mora, Demetrius and Kieran and Josh (and all me best pals and animation chums from Philly), Heather Madison for the hook up to MeOh!My (I owe you so much gratitude), Mike Egan and all me pals here at home for the friendship and support, and of course my dad and sister for everything. There's many more, but you know you all have my eternal gratitude for being in my life. I love you all, and thanks for everything.
UPDATE: I also want to give a really big thank you to an incredible teacher that gave me all the encouragement and hope I could ever want... Bill Martone. You rock, good sir!