Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Medicated Cartoon Life, by the Bitter Animator

Browsing regular reader Susan’s links on her blog If you’re going through hell, keep going, I discovered My medicated cartoon life.
The author describes his blog as ‘The ramblings of a bitter animator, living and dealing with depression on Planet Doom.’ This and the cartoon self-portraits immediately let you know you are in the space of a talented artist who obviously has not let depression take away his creativity or his sense of humour.
Further exploration confirms this impression. The bitter animator, a creative director of animation, gives us eloquent and humorous insights into his profession, his life and ultimately our life, illustrated by some of the best and funniest cartoons I have ever seen. Here is an example A project begins:

Things actually start off a little slow. For that first minute or so. But then the true volume of what needs to be done becomes apparent.
It's like an old-fashioned tale of heroes. Like Conan the Barbarian in that film, Conan the Barbarian.
You have people who will help. Assist. Contribute positively. The little magician guy, the thief and the sexy warrior lady.
And then you have some people who live to do everything they can to get in the way. To destroy a project. They are the villains of the piece. James Earl Jones and his henchmen.
And sometimes the odds seem insurmountable.
You may even lose a comrade in the journey.
But unless you take down James Earl Jones in his giant snake form, that project will be absolute cack when it makes it to air. If indeed it ever makes it to air.
A little overdramatic? Yeah. Yes, it is. But, as anyone at the higher end of a production will know, it's not far from the truth. We make the most gentle, silly shows about lovely things happening to lovely characters. And, in doing so, we're forced to become warriors.
I hope I'm the little magician guy. He's the one who lives to tell the tale.

As you can tell, the bitter animator has a heart of gold and a brave one and the skill to tell his journey with compassion and humour. In the same way as he draws a metaphor with Conan, we can all relate to his situation. The superficial visible details are different but the invisible spiritual forces are the same.

The search for meaning is never far from the bitter animator’s thoughts and the reader is rewarded often with little gems of art and insight. My favourite (so far) is this one, What I saw, which I feel beautifully captures one of those Zen moments we have in everyday places:

Tiny specs in space. Lives appearing and then vanishing without a trace and barely a memory. Are they even lives? Is it not just a burst of activity, our thoughts, feelings, desires all just by-products of a system simply to get us moving and procreating?
As key to the Universe as the brief life of a sperm on some hastily grabbed tissue somewhere.
I was thinking this... seeing this, thinking about the nothingness and I knew - this is not a good road of thought to follow. It does not lead to a good place. But, nevertheless, that's what I saw.
Yet, when actually I came to draw it, as empty and pointless as the feeling was I was trying to illustrate, I couldn't help noticing just how beautiful that infinite nothingness around us is. And I can't come even close to capturing it. Maybe, from out there, I would see that rock, that pebble, is beautiful. And, if that's the case, we're all part of it - each of us, one tiny paint stroke that, together, makes up a wonderful canvas.

Thank you, bitter animator, for sharing your astral views with us, your fellow passengers hurtling through space on the great beautiful bus of Planet Doom.


susan said...

Thank you. So nice to see some of my favorite blogs in one place.......

hope you are well, Alex!

Alex said...

Thank you Susan,
I'm not bad, thanks for asking. Hope you are too.
I'm only taking vitamins, tea and coffee, so that must be good. I should be grateful.
I might start calling myself the bitter philosopher if I'm not careful...

Red Pill Junkie said...

I'm a regular reader of My Medicated Cartoon Life.

Not only because I'm an admirer of the talent of Bitter as an artist.

But more importantly, because I see in him a compassionate human being, trapped in the same conundrum I find myself in: trying to find a meaning to this seemingly meaningless world.
And the way he approaches this —with humor and the ability to make fun of himself— is very appealing to me.

Motorcycle Parts said...

Nice cartoon for describing the medicated life well done.

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond