Saturday, March 20, 2010

Benefit Auction a Success!!

A week has gone by since the auction and we are busying packing up all the incredible art to ship to the lucky winners and still tallying up the numbers and the GREAT news is...
Our collective efforts have raised over $26,000.00!!

Not only will the new school for the kids in Freetown, Sierra Leone be built but it is, in fact, already underway!
(I'll write more as soon as we have updates..)
Also we are well on our way towards our financial goal for creating the library for the kids at The Urban Assembly School for The Urban Environment in Bed-Stuy, New York.

Thank you to ALL the contributing artists and all those who participated in the auction. Your generosity is not only inspiring but will go towards helping these kids build better lives.

If you were unable to win your bid on a postcard and would still like to contribute financially you can visit the Brownstones To Red Dirt help page and find out more.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Still a chance!!...

One last postcard is still available in the auction!!!
By an artist one can never get enough of..
master illustrator Peter de Sève!

You have until TODAY..

Good Luck!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peter de Sève

As promised, the final postcard has been delivered!!!
and one that you have all been looking forward to...

This beautiful watercolor comes from the hand of legendary illustrator and incontrovertible character designer Peter de Sève. A native of Queens, New York, Peter began drawing at an early age developing a love of comics and illustrated books. A graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, Peter's illustration and character designs are known throughout the world with work spanning three decades and various media, including books, print and television advertising, animated feature films and magazines.  Best recognized for his many many New Yorker covers and his character designs for the three blockbuster Ice Age movies (“Scrat” is now an international icon), Peter also has been published in nearly every other major American magazine including Time, Newsweek, Atlantic Monthly, Smithsonian, Premiere and Entertainment Weekly. And, as one of the leading character designers in the animated-film industry, Peter has also contributed to such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, A Bug’s Life, Tarzan, Finding Nemo and Ratatouille. As an illustrator Peter's many distinctions include the prestigious Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators, a Clio Award for a Nike television commercial entitled Destination Moon, a Spectrum Annual of Fantastic Art Gold Medal and a Soleil d’Or Award from the Festival BD Sollies Ville in France. With his artwork included in many anthologies including the Sketchtravel art book and Out of Picture, Peter as well is always a generous contributor to many charities and benefits including the Totoro Forest Project, Help The Hodges, Prevailing Human Spirit to name only a very few. Currently living in Brooklyn with his wife, Randall with whom he recently collaborated on his first children’s book, The Duchess of Whimsey and their two daughters, Paulina and Fia, Peter has also recently published a tremendously beautiful volume of his artwork titled Peter de Seve: A Sketchy Past.

To view more of Peter's delightful characters and masterful illustrations please visit his blog and website.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Brownstones To Red Dirt Postcard Art Benefit AUCTION IS LIVE!!!

Happy Bidding and Good Luck!!

Chris Wedge

This wonderfully whimsical illustration comes to us from artist and multi-award winning Director Chris Wedge. New York born and raised, with a BFA in Film from SUNY Purchase and an MA in Computer Graphics and Art Eduction from Ohio State University, Chris Wedge IS Blue Sky Studios. Whether as a director or an executive producer, his fingerprints are on every project the studio has ever done - as they should be, Chris was one of Blue Sky's original co-founders in 1987. As Vice President of Creative Development, the studio soon became known as one of the top computer animation studios in the world, a few of their early visual effects contributions include first their work in Joe's Apartment, then Alien: Resurrection, as well as A Simple Wish and Star Trek: Insurrection. Blue Sky's breakthrough came when Chris wrote and directed the multi-award winning BUNNY for which he won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1998. He followed up the impressive short with his first animated feature film, both Oscar and Annie nominated and a huge box office hit, Ice Age in 2002. As director of the visually stunning, Annie nominated film Robots and executive producer of all of Blue Sky's subsequent films, Chris has also been the voice of Scrat throughout the entire Ice Age film series, performing all the hilarious character's "squeaks and squeals." Currently Chris is directing Blue Sky's future animated feature LEAFMEN, a property he is developing with William Joyce based on Joyce's illustrated book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Nash Dunnigan

This beautifully inspired painting comes from the talented illustrator Nash Dunnigan, who was especially moved by the friendship between the two young artists, Malik and Balla, and created this piece to show the significance of their bond. The pen-pals' ability to peer over their global fences and empathize with each other could serve as models for a global community preoccupied with war and distrust. Raised in the rural (and often colonial) countrysides of Virginia, Nash graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1991 with a BFA, after studying illustration and film making. He arrived in Manhattan in 1993 and worked in the New York TV animation circuit for years as a designer, storyboard artist, and art director until 2003 when he came to Blue Sky Studios. Since at Blue Sky, Nash has designed and workbooked for Robots, Ice Ages 2 and 3, No Time for Nuts, Horton Hears a Who!, and the upcoming movie Rio. Nash art directed the short, Surviving Sid, and is excited to currently art direct a feature in production that will be released in 2112. He has been part of many art collectives, including both sequential anthologies Out of Picture 1 and 2, the Totoro Forest Project, and was included in the Society of Illustrators Sequential Annual 49. Nash has also contributed to the much anticipated Sketchtravel art book, and has had his work exhibited in both Paris and New York.

For more of Nash's art please visit his blog.

Malik Adamson

This poignant card comes from Malik Adamson, one of the featured children in the documentary BROWNSTONES TO RED DIRT. A Bed-Stuy artist, Malik has an affinity for anime and hopes to use his talents to either be a professional artist, a photographer or a game designer, he has as he says, "backup plans." A self-described "kook," and now in 8th grade, Malik's art reflects his personality: effervescent and sweet, it shows a young man who seeks to escape a mundane (and sometimes harsh) reality through exploring worlds only found in his imagination.

Kyle Macnaughton

Artist Kyle Macnaughton's beautiful diptych titled Movement gracefully speaks to the theme of this event. The fish represents the "movement" - a collection of many people’s efforts toward a cause - and in it’s wake stirs the many individual letters between the children in the film. Raised in Toronto, Canada Kyle was well on his way to a career in film when in his second year at Sheridan College, while studying towards his degree in Classical Animation, he also worked at Walt Disney Studios as a Layout Designer. Currently working as a Visual Development Artist at Blue Sky Studios, Kyle contributes his unique vision and painterly style in the creation of innovative environments and characters for animated feature films such as Ice Age 2, Horton Hears a Who!, Rio, and other projects that are currently in development. Contributor of a visually stunning story to the collaborative publication, Out of Picture 2, Kyle has exhibited original artwork in group shows in Paris for OOP2, and San Francisco for the Totoro Forest Project. All this AND resident tennis expert in his department at Blue Sky!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rachel Tiep-Daniels

Representing growth, giving and prosperity this lovely, intricately illustrated triptych, titled Arbre tordu, is by artist Rachel Tiep-Daniels who was inspired by a beautiful twisted old tree in front of the structure where the children currently attend school in Sierra Leone. Born in Los Angeles and raised Sudbury, Massachusetts, Rachel studied at University of Miami's School of Architecture and The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale graduating with a degree in Computer Animation. With over 10 years of experience in the animation film industry, working for both Blue Sky Studios and DreamWorks Animation as a Visual Development Designer and 3D Artist, Rachel's film credits include Ice Age, Kung Fu Panda, Shark Tale, Monsters vs Aliens, Shrek the Musical, Puss n' Boots, Guardians and the upcoming Rio. Outside of her film work, one of Rachel's biggest accomplishments, which gave her a clear perspective and purpose, was volunteering at an orphanage in Ghana West Africa spending time drawing and coloring with the children. Upon her return, combining her passion for animation and art with what she had learned, Rachel co-founded the Picture Book Project Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization which gives artists and educators a way to help and inspire children in need. As President of the PBP Foundation Rachel co-created the Picture Book Project, a soon to be published coloring book, inspired by the orphaned children of Ghana and Tijuana and illustrated by 70 artists in the animation industry to benefit children in need around the world. Rachel, always inspired by her surroundings, is an inspiration to us all.

For more of Rachel's artwork please visit her blog.

For more information about The Picture Book Project Foundation please visit their website.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Balla Musa Tarawalie

Cindy Nofziger of Schools for Salone, Copper Pot Pictures' partner in the effort to build a school for the kids in Sierra Leone, recently returned from her annual trip to survey the non-profit organization's many projects. While in the country, Cindy had a chance to survey the proposed site for the new school and meet with some of the children who will benefit from this auction. We sent Cindy with a package of 36 blank postcards and boxes of colored pencils for the kids at the Children in Crisis Primary School... Balla completed 27 cards himself!!
Below are just a few..

These spirited and imaginative illustrations come from Sierra Leonean student Balla Musa Tarawalie who appears in the documentary BROWNSTONES TO RED DIRT. The 15 year old student's love of his country is captured in his vibrant images of his neighborhood. Balla wishes nothing more than to be a professional artist and his inclusion in this auction is a huge step in that direction! As a baby, Balla's parents were murdered by rebels during Sierra Leone's civil war. Adopted by Ma Musu Tarawalie, headmistress of the Children in Crisis Primary School, "Aunty Musu" encourages Balla to draw and has instilled a love of peace in his heart. Though his pain rips him apart and makes him yearn for revenge, Balla uses his art as a way to reconcile the hurt from his past with his desire for a brighter future.

Marty Fuller

Inspired by the children's stories in the Brownstones To Red Dirt documentary, this beautifully transportive and profound painting titled Peace is by artist Marty Fuller. Hatched and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Marty graduated from Ohio State with a film degree in 1983. Following college Marty co-founded Character Builders, helping it grow from a small commercial house to an award-winning go-to facility for studio feature animation and shorts and then ventured on to Sony Pictures, Blue Sky Studios, Illumination Entertainment, and other creative places. His life as an animator, sequence director, writer and story artist has enabled Marty to play a part in the making of 20+ features, working happily with Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, numerous Disney heroes and sidekicks, Horton, Sid the Sloth, Scrat and many of the nutty geniuses who populate the animation industry. Recently Marty helped make the feature length documentary The Cartoonist, about the life and work of Bone creator Jeff Smith. Currently a story artist on the future animated film The Lorax, Marty and his wife Debby are also hoping to see some of their books for young readers in print someday.

Joan Cabot

Inspired by the Brownstones To Red Dirt documentary’s Emanuel, an aspiring electrician who brings light where there was only darkness, artist Joan Cabot submits this postcard titled Beyond Their Circumstances. Joan was born on the island of Mallorca, Spain and studied art and illustration at the Escola Superior de Disseny de les Illes Balears. He then enrolled in a course at the computer graphics lab at the Universitat de les Illes Balears where he spent many years first as a student and later as an instructor in the postgraduate program. After working for small studios in Spain, he moved to London and freelanced for animated TV shows, commercials and film preproduction. Then he packed his bags and headed for New York where he joined Blue Sky Studios as Lighter and Previsualization Artist on Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age 3, Rio and a film currently in production. Joan has co-created 5 animated short films that have been selected in film festivals worldwide, and currently has his work included in a Universitat de les Illes Balears CG Retrospective that has just finished it’s run at the Museum of Modern Art in Mallorca and will open as ANIMAR-TE: 20 years of Computer Animation at the University of the Balearic Islands in Spring 2010 at the American University Museum's Katzen Arts Center in Washington D.C.

For more of Joan's artwork please visit his blog.

Marin Petrov

Combining a love for painting and a keeness for all thing technical artist Marin Petrov, along with his wife, learned a bit about gear mechanics in order to create this delightful interactive postcard titled The Messenger. Marin was born and raised in a small peaceful mountain town in Bulgaria, then moved to Sofia to attend university as a law student. In his last year at the Academy of Ministry of the Interior he could deny his penchant for the arts no longer and dropped out to pursue a career in computer animation. He found work with Worldwide-FX as a Character Animator and Rigger, and his film credits include the latest Rambo, The Gene Generation, Lonely Hearts, Undisputed, The Expendables and Righteous Kill. Quite recently Marin joined the Blue Sky Studios team as a Character TD and is working on a film currently in production.

To see Marin's postcard in action, check out his YouTube video!

To see more of Marin's artwork please visit his website.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Robert Kondo

The wonderfully humorous and expressive characters in this postcard come from one of the leading environmental set designers in the animation field, artist Robert Kondo. Raised in Hacienda Heights, California, Robert graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where he studied illustration and design with Norm Schureman. Robert worked as a sketch artist at graphic design studio, Oblique Strategies, and Angel Studios, where he met Warren Nung and Steven Olds, respectively, and who he cites as important influences in his professional career. In 2002 Robert joined Pixar Animation Studios as Sets Art Director assisting production designer Harley Jessup in designing sets and environments for the film Ratatouille. With additional film credits which include Wall-E, Robert has most recently worked on the soon to be released Toy Story 3 as a Sets Art Director. Outside of his day job Robert has contributed to the sequential art anthologies Afterworks and Afterworks 2, as well as the Totoro Forest Project, the highly anticipated Sketchtravel art book and Spectrum 15, to name only a few. Currently living in Oakland, California, in his spare time Robert also teaches at the Concept Design Academy in Pasadena and frequently shows his art in galleries and group exhibitons.

For more of Robert's artwork please visit his blog.

Tami Stewart

From the imagination of multi-talented artist Tami Stewart comes this intriguing illustration titled Reaching For You which continues her series of artwork depicting tiny monks who endeavor to accomplish large tasks. Born in Japan and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tami never trained as an artist. After college, upon reading a magazine article about dioramas at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, it was the beginning of her love of natural history museums. She made a bee-line for the Academy in San Francisco, started as a volunteer, and 20 years later continues to fabricate exhibits. As a core member of a team at Academy Studios in Northern California, Tami has contributed to exhibits at the Chicago Field Museum, American Museum of Natural History. Royal Ontario Museum, and MIDE Mexico City, to name only a few, and her sculptures and detailed exhibitry, although mostly anonymously crafted, is viewed on a daily basis by the thousands worldwide. An illustrator and painter as well as a sculptor, and recently contracted to illustrate insects, Tami is currently splitting her time between her inspired natural history sculpting, her beautifully detailed nature field guide paintings and helping organize this postcard art benefit!

Jerod Chirico

This colorful, exuberant painting is from artist Jerod Chirico. Raised in the small town of Conesus, New York, Jerod, along his three brothers, grew up playing lots of soccer, running around in the woods, and drawing while watching his father draw, who supported his family as a freelance artist and designer. Attending Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where he learned traditional animation from Professor Michael Genz, Jerod put himself through school working as a caricature artist in amusement parks for Kaman's Art Shoppes. Upon graduating in 2002, Jerod landed his first industry job as an as an Animator at DNA Productions in Dallas, Texas working on the television series Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Moving back to New York to work for Blue Sky Studios as an Animator on Robots, Ice Age 2 and Horton Hears A Who!, Jerod then transferred to the Story Department to work as a Storyboard Artist on Ice Age 3. Recently storyboarding for the upcoming feature animation Rio, Jerod is currently working on a film in development.

Tony Maki

Inspired by the plight of rhinos that are hunted for their horns, artist Tony Maki contributes this beautiful diptych titled Dove’s Perch. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tony attended the Academy of Art University graduating with a BA in Illustration and Traditional Animation in 2001. Through college Tony supported himself as a UPS driver, after which he worked briefly as a designer/animator of hand held games. Then with the support of mentors he developed a few TV shows and worked on a variety of short films. Relocating to the East Coast, for the past six years Tony has been a Story Artist with Blue Sky Studios, where his film credits include Robots, Ice Age 2 and 3, Horton Hears a Who!, and where he is currently at work on the soon to be released Rio. A contributor to the Totoro Forest Project, Tony is also a freelance illustrator and animator who specializes in character based development and creation.

To see more of Tony's art please visit his blog.

Amy Pertschuk

Inspired by her recent trip to the Galapagos, this piece titled PHATARIA UNIFASCIALIS is by award winning designer and internet entrepreneur Amy Pertschuk. Born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Washington D.C. Amy grew up inspired by spending many hours in the national museums. Moving across country to California, she studied Design and Illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and Parsons School of Design in Paris. In the 1980’s, Amy worked as a scientific illustrator at the California Academy of Sciences and illustrated several cookbooks including The Great American Seafood Cookbook and Ginger East to West.  In 1998, Amy co-founded, the Web’s premier nature-discovery resource. Most recently co-founding the Children & Nature Network with author Richard Louv and others, Amy is serving as C&NN's managing director.

For more information on the children and nature movement and Amy's current work please visit

Matthew Sharack

Reflecting his obsession with the Victorian era and a love for architecture, this vibrant, imaginative piece is the work of artist Matthew Sharack. Born in Savannah, Georgia and raised on Long Island, as a kid Matthew was perpetually with pencil in hand and remembers being inspired by Looney Tunes and Disney. He attended New York University and found himself in the film school, Tisch School of the Arts, studying film, television and animation. His first job was working for Nickelodeon on Dora the Explorer painting backgrounds for the research department. After that Matthew packed his bags and headed to California in pursuit of animation work and found a job in the mail room at DreamWorks Animation. Still unsure of his direction, he found an artist there to mentor him and that’s when things took off. Working towards becoming a visual development artist while holding down a job in production, Matthew has been a Story Production Assistant on Shrek the Third, a Story/Script Coordinator on Monsters vs Aliens and currently an Art Coordinator on a film due to release in 2011. Having exhibited his art in group shows in the past, Matthew soon be will be part of a group show at GhettoGloss Gallery in Los Angeles this coming April.

For more of Matthew's art please visit his blog.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sabrina de los Rios

This lovely painting titled Serendipity is by the talented Sabrina de los Rios. Half Peruvian and half Italian, Sabrina was born in Miami and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Sabrina's passion for film led her to Vancouver Film School where she discovered the world of animation. While working there she was able to study various film courses most of which were in Acting and also led to part-time work as an actor. After spending 11 years at VFS as Registrar for Animation programs and then Program Manager for 3D Animation, she fled to New York for an opportunity to work as a Recruiter for Blue Sky Studios. Brown Stones to Red Dirt inspired Sabrina to return to her creative side and sparked a desire to do more. “It's important to always try to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. By doing so, you will grow and be free.”

Vicki Saulls

This subtly drawn portrait of the lovely Augusta, one of the children from the Brownstones To Red Dirt documentary who unknowingly has inspired so very many, is by an artist not often known for her 2-dimensional work, sculptor Vicki Saulls. Born in Idaho and raised in Georgia and California, Vicki began sculpting at an early age. Graduating with a degree in Art from University of California at Santa Cruz she left off any artistic pursuits for a number of years till an extended adventure on the high seas helped her formulate her artistic direction. Returning to San Francisco, where she resided the 20 years following, Vicki embarked on a career as a museum modelmaker and sculptor for natural history museums, aquariums and parks, and where her mostly anonymous work can still be viewed today at such venues as Monterey Bay Aquarium, Yosemite National Park, Papalote Museo del Nino and the National Museum of Natural History in Taichung, Taiwan. From this she easily transitioned to freelance sculpting for similar institutions, as well as awarded commissions as a public artist with many sculptures permanently installed in such locations across San Francisco as Union Square and Golden Gate Park. Besides helping to organize this postcard art benefit, Vicki now works as a Senior Sculptor for Blue Sky Studios sculpting character maquettes for their many development projects & feature films.

To see a glimpse of Vicki's public art please visit her website.

Andrea Offermann

This delightful and delicate submission is by the prolific illustrator Andrea Offermann. Born and raised in Cologne, Germany, in 2005 Andrea received her BFA in Illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where she discovered her love for printmaking, fine linework, as well as nature and it’s patterns. In 2006 she returned to Germany and has since focused on her illustration and fine art, with illustration clients including FILU, Specler and Teaching Tolerance Magazine as well as being featured a number of other publications. Andrea's artwork has been shown in many group exhibitions including the Systema Naturae shows, Illustration West 47 show and the Quinquennium Exhibition all at Gallery Nucleus in Los Angeles, From Scratch show at the Chicago Art Source gallery, SK8 or Die show at Young Blood Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, and most recently a series of paintings at the David B Smith Gallery in Denver, Colorado and the Society of Illustrators Exhibit of Illustrators 52: Sequential and Uncommissioned in January of 2010. Andrea has contributed to Flight 4 and 6, illustrated the German children's book Keine Angst vor Schafen and just completed illustrating the young adult steampunk novel The Boneshaker by Kate Milford which is coming out this spring. Andrea's focus in creating images is a combination of science and history with research playing a major role as she strives to understand a subject’s complexities, mythologies and characteristics. Currently working on a 2D animation short that will be presented at the end of April of 2010, Andrea is also working towards her next show Systema Naturae: Air which will be in Los Angeles in July 2010 at Gallery Nucleus.

To see more of Andrea's art please visit her website and blog.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Greg Couch

This charming, luminous painting is by award winning artist Greg Couch. Born in Bettendorf, Iowa, this was where Greg spent the first eighteen years of his life, which he says explains many things. He began his illustration career in 1983 and as a published author and illustrator Greg has worked on fourteen Children's books including I Know the Moon and Halloween both of which received Society of Illustrators Silver Medal Awards. His most recent picture book, Nothing But Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson won a 2008 NAACP Image Award. Greg has contributed to the sequential art anthology Out Of Picture, the Totoro Forest Project and the highly regarded and much anticipated Sketchtravel art book project. As a Visual Development Artist Greg has worked on three feature films for Blue Sky Studios; Ice Age, Robots and Horton Hears a Who! and is currently helping to develop future films for them. No longer in Iowa, Greg now lives in Nyack, New York and where he can be found working on many different projects.

Katie Smith

This endearing piece is the submission of artist Katie Smith, a lover of all things superhero. Born in Virginia, Katie and her family moved to Germany when she was a child. She learned early on in life that drawing cartoons to make people laugh could avert attention away from her being the “new kid”, which helped when she and her family later on moved back to Virginia. Katie studied Studio Art and Art History, along with marketing, at The College of William & Mary. She then worked at Anthropologie where she drew on the dressing room mirrors with dry-erase markers when feeling bored and restless. Fleeing retail, she found work as a production coordinator at Pixeldust Studios, then landed her dream job at Blue Sky Studios where she is currently a Design Production Assistant. A contributor of her art to many collective projects including Purcasso, Terrible Yellow Eyes and The Picture Book Project, Katie’s work can also be found hanging on walls in the homes of her family members. A slew of Rockwell prints in her grandparents’ basement inspired her as a child, and being surrounded by the talent of her colleagues inspires her today.

To see more of Katie’s artwork please visit her blog.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Motoko Wada

Inspired by the children interviewed in Brownstones To Red Dirt and their belief in communication, the talented artist Motoko Wada submits this hopeful piece. Born and raised in Okayama Japan, Motoko’s childhood was filled with doodling and creating a fantasy world with her sister. At Kyoto University she studied philosophy and literature, and found that philosophy and art are similarly rooted inside her. After university Motoko freelanced as a muralist and illustrator in Tokyo, then went to work for Tanseisha Co. Ltd. where she planned and designed public spaces, museums and theme parks all over Japan including the National Science Museum, Osaka Museum of Wine and Asaka City Historical Museum among others. While at Tanseisha, Motoko became fascinated by the visual impact and possibility of computer graphics and taught herself enough to open a CG department within the company. Her passion for CG took off from there and she returned to school in the United States to earn an MFA at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. This was followed by work at Giant Killer Robots as a Technical Director on Fantastic Four and Son of the Mask. In 2005 Motoko migrated east to Blue Sky Studios where she began modeling characters and environments for such films as Ice Age 2 and 3, and Horton Hears a Who! Outside of her work at Blue Sky, Motoko can be found working on a personal project, an animated short film.

To see more of Motoko's artwork please visit her blog.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Diana Diriwaechter

These two lovely mythical storybook characters escaped from the mind of the versatilely talented artist Diana Diriwaechter. Born and raised in the Swiss Alps Diana found her way to the United States, settling in the Hudson region of New York State. During the day she works at Blue Sky Studios as a Materials Technical Director where she has contributed to movies such as Ice Age 2 and 3, Robots and Horton Hears a Who! Although Diana is mainly known for her fine art photography for which she has been recognized with many different awards such as a 1st and 2nd Prize from the prestigious International Photography Awards (Luci Awards), 1st Prize for The PX3 Peoples Choice Awards and a Merit Award chosen by Susan Kismaric, curator for The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Diana has also received numerous Honorable Mentions from establishments such as the Black and White Spider Awards, Women In Photography International and The World Wide Photography Gala Awards. Diana's work can be found in many publications such as SPECTRUM 16 and Photographer's Forum Magazine's The Best of Photography 2009. Exhibited by many galleries both nationally as well as internationally, Diana currently has artwork on display in both Italy and Spain, and her upcoming Solo show at the UAG Gallery in Albany will be on display in November of 2010.

To see more of Diana's art please visit her website and blog.

Jing Wei

This playful image comes to us from the heart of Bed-Stuy where Brooklyn-based illustrator Jing Wei lives and works. Born in a sub-provincial city in China, Jing was raised in the suburbs of Northern California. Her affinity for making prints like the one scene here was developed during her time at the Rhode Island School of Design, then honed in her many freelance illustration opportunities that have included American Way, Boston Magazine and Adult Swim. She has exhibited her art on both coasts, including in the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles Illustration West 47 Competition and the Museum of American Illustration in New York. Currently, she is in the process of working on a children's book and art directing a feature length film.

Please visit Jing's blog and website to enjoy more of her work:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sally Dannels

This lovely, inspired bird portrait is the work of the talented yet elusive artist Sally Dannels. A significant portion of Sally’s professional life was spent working for Academy Studios, where she was core member of a team designing and building natural science exhibits around the world, some museums she has contributed to as sculptor and muralist are the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Washington State History Museum, EcoCentro Argentina, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Holocaust Museum. Always loving to paint whether natural history, portraiture, landscape or decorative, for Sally these all serve as vehicles for the expression of paint in all it's different applications. She loves the ongoing process of mixing color, the paint flowing from the tip of the brush. She loves the challenge of each painting, how the painting dictates the final outcome, what colors to use, what the composition will be, what elements to use. “A painting has a life of it's own; sometimes I feel as though I am merely a conduit delivering the vision.” For many years now, Sally has been a Senior Artist at Evans and Brown in San Francisco, and her murals can be seen from Las Vegas to Dubai to Macao.

Francis Vallejo

Illustrator and comic artist Francis Vallejo submits this mysterious portrait. Born in 1985 in Farmington, New Mexico, Francis moved to Detroit, Michigan when he was three. Growing up on the infamous "8 Mile Road" had a profound impact on his interests and outlook. In high school the only thing that excited him was drawing, so upon graduation he enrolled at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida. Originally a computer animation major, after 3 years Francis then switched to illustration and got back to drawing while supplimenting his education with classes at the The Illustration Academy. As an illustrator some of Francis' clients have included Vibe, Moloko+ and 2dArtist; while his artwork has been included in the Totoro Forest Project, Spectrum 14, 15 and 16, Society of Illustrators 51 and Society of Illustrators Los Angles 47, as well as exhibited in galleries and shows across the United States. Only a year out of school, Francis is looking forward to life’s many adventures and soon announcing his many developing projects!

For more of Francis' artwork please visit his blog.

Colin Jack

The imaginative illustrator Colin Jack submits this delightful painting. Originally from Vancouver, Colin graduated from the Capliano Commercial Animation program at Capliano University in 2002. Two years ago he packed up his family and relocated to Toronto where he is currently working for Elliot Animation as Designer and Poser on Total Drama. As well an illustrator of children’s picture books, Colin's first, 1 Zany Zoo, will be released this coming summer and his second is in progress and due out in 2011 with a new publishing house. Towards the end of this year Colin plans to self publish his own art book (fingers crossed!) and when not drawing he loves spending time with his wife and 3 year old son.

For more of Colin's art please visit his blog.

Dan Barker

Inspired by the masks of African art, Dan Barker submits this lively drawing. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a child Dan always imagined that the masks he grew up with could talk and have conversations. A self-taught artist he learned animation on his own through In South Africa he managed local artists for BMG Records, and also worked for a number of post-production facilities as a generalist. He then emigrated to the United States and worked as an In-Game Cinematic Animator on Uncharted Drakes Fortune for Naughty Dog. Following that he landed at his current location, Blue Sky Studios, where he has done both animation and rigging on Horton Hears a Who! and on the upcoming animated film Rio.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Xiangyuan Jie

This beautiful landscape painting is by the immeasurably skilled artist Xiangyuan Jie, also affectionately know as "Master Jie". A native of Hunan, China, Jie received his formal art education in China, Europe, and the United States. In 1982, graduating with a BFA in Theater Set Design from the Central Academy of Drama at Beijing, Jie taught art and design at Hunan University and then studied and lectured at the Ecole Cantonal d’ Art de Lausanne, Switzerland. Upon immigrating to the United States, Jie taught at Auburn University in Alabama as a visiting professor and, in 1995, he received his master’s degree in Industrial Design from Georgia Tech. Following, Jie worked at Disney and Blue Sky Studios as a Background Stylist and Visual Development Artist with screen credits including Mulan, Tarzan, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear and Ice Age: The Meltdown. Published in Artist’s Magazine, International Artist’s Magazine and Southwest Art Magazine, in 1999 Jie received Third Prize in Artist Magazine’s Portrait Competition and his artworks have been featured in national and regional juried art exhibitions throughout the United States. A member of the Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and Plein Air Painters of the West, Jie received Second Place in 2003 and the Honor Award in 2002 and 2005 at the Portrait Society of America's International Competition. His landscape paintings were selected into the Top 100 in the 2002 and 2003 Art for the Parks competition, and received the Landscape Art Award, the Grand Teton Natural History Association Purchase Award and the Judge's Choice Award. Currently living and painting full time in Atlanta, Georgia, Jie enjoys painting people from life settings and en plein air landscape on locations wherever he goes on the road trips.

To view more of Master Jie's art please visit his website.

Nate Wragg

Contributing a painting of his signature "snow beast" this sweet submission is from artist Nate Wragg. Born and raised in the small town of Davis, California, Nate drew all throughout his childhood and in high school when he was introduced to the world of animation he was smitten. He eventually moved to Southern California where he earned an animation degree from Cal Arts. Nate interned with the James Baxter Animation studio in Pasadena, and then was hired on at Pixar Animation Studios where he worked as an illustrator and production artist with credits including Ratatouille and Toy Story 3. An illustrator for the children's book Too Many Cooks, Nate also contributed an illustrated story to the sequential anthology Afterworks 2, as well as authoring/illustrating several other books. He has contributed his art to the Totoro Forest Project, the We Love You So blog, and Terrible Yellow Eyes and his artwork has been shown with galleries in New York and Los Angeles, most notably the New York Society of Illustrators 50th Annual Exhibition.
For more of Nate's art please check out his blog.

Homer Flynn

Enigmatic “Mr. Pickle Searching for a Gnome” is the work of the enigmatic Homer Flynn. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1945, Flynn spent the first 24 years of his life submerged in the repressed, but charming naivete of The South. Seduced by the fantasy of easy living and loud music, he was unwilling to commit to the life of a concrete truck dispatcher attached to an unloved girlfriend and fled to San Francisco in 1969. Guilty, but free, he drank deeply from the cup of youth culture, ingesting, imbibing and experiencing any and all. Over the next 40 years, he was married twice, was proud to be a partner in the propagation of two lovely daughters, Jana and Isabelle, and became involved with the murky aesthetics of San Francisco's music, performance and video group, The Residents. As their chief visual designer and co-owner of The Cryptic Corporation, The Residents' business and public relations interface, Flynn has been involved in nearly all of the group's improbable projects since the early 1970's. Currently, he lives in San Francisco with his charming wife, Leigh Barbier. Flynn also claims himself to be the inventor of the shower-bath.

To learn more about The Residents you can visit their blog.

Heather Shepherd

Heather Shepherd's spirited illustration captures a moment between Gladis and Augusta, two Sierra Leonean girls who turn to dance to forget their troubles. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, with a passion for animals, art, and performing, Heather's path to animation was a windy one. Graduating from Ohio State University with a B.A. in Zoology/Anatomy and Theatre, her first job out of college was for an animator's dream employer, Disney. But Heather wasn't an animator, she was hired to do dolphin and marine mammal care and training at Disney's Living Seas. While there, she was allowed to take drawing classes at the animation studio and soon found herself working on Mulan as a traditional animator and went on to work on films such as Lilo and Stich, Tarzan, Brother Bear, Fantasia 2000 as well as various other short films. Heather then made the move to Los Angeles, working at both Dreamworks and Warner Brothers before hired on as a modeler and sculptor for Jim Henson Studios. Presently in New York she has worked for Blue Sky Studios since 2004 on Ice Age: The Meltdown and is currently working on Rio. Heather continues her passion for theater by directing and performing in various improv shows in Manhattan and will be directing a stage spectacular in the near future.

For more of Heather's artwork please visit her blog.

Matthew Wilson

This lovely painting which is an homage to our native Hudson River School masters is by artist Matthew Wilson. His image of a young explorer, exploring his world is imagined like Huck Fin, a mischievous loner searching for tall tales and grand characters. Born in sunny LaJolla, California and raised in Buffalo, New York, the son of a research immunologist and neonatal nurse, Matt went to a small but extremely unique high school in Buffalo with the intentions of becoming an architect but shifted gears dramatically and decided to join the Army. Upon leaving the army Matt moved to Florida to study computer animation at Ringling School of Art and Design. While in school he spent a summer in New York City at Parson's studying figure painting and fell in love with it. Since then, his path has been two sided with digital art supporting a deep passion for classical dutch oil. At present Matt is a Lighting Artist at Blue Sky Studios and also the Lead "Sky-Guy" with quite a few film credits under his belt. When not at his day job Matt spends every second with the love of his life, Alexandra, and his beagle Daisey Mae.

For more of Matt's art please visit his website.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alena and Ryan Tottle / Peter Kelley Studio

Today we have a very special submission to our Postcard Art Benefit from the gifted dynamic sculpting duo, newlyweds Alena and Ryan Tottle. This exceptionally impressive sculpture entitled Pen Pals is based on the Brownstones To Red Dirt poster illustrated by the talented Willie Real. Though not a postcard, Alena and Ryan's sculpture beautifully captures the essence and spirit of the boys from Willie's original design. Not to be forgotten, the precise molding and casting of this piece was also donated by Peter Kelley of Peter Kelley Studios. We are all so very honored to be able to include this brilliant sculpture as part of the benefit and applaud the artistry and PHENOMENAL effort that went into it's creation.

Alena Tottle
Born in Mississippi, Alena moved across country to Colorado where in 2004 she graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver with a bachelor's degree in Business Management. It wasn't until her senior year of college she realized her passion for clay. A self-taught sculptor, Alena spent her time learning as much as she could from sculpting forums and sculptors in the industry, including the deviant art community, which helped her land a sculpting job with Blue Sky Studios in New York at the end of 2005. Currently creating character maquettes for films in development, Alena's film credits include Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the soon to be released Rio. She has freelanced with DC Comics and has contributed her sculptures to many other charity auctions and events such as the Totoro Forest Project and Beautiful Grim. Alena's sculpture has also appeared in the fantasy art annual Spectrum 14 and in the Society of Illustrators 3rd Bienniel Dimensional Exhibition in New York City.

To see more of Alena's art and sculpture please visit her blog.

Ryan Tottle
Ryan was born in South Wales, United Kingdom. After receiving a BA Honors of Animation from Glamorgan Centre for Art & Design in 2005, Ryan started working as a traditional sculptor throughout the UK and Europe. He has created prosthetic makeups for Various BBC Productions such as Dr Who and Torchwood and as well as on location in Madrid, Spain for the recently released film, La Herencia Valdemar. A guitarist and enthusiast of the visionary art movement, Ryan now lives in New York with his wife Alena where he is currently hard at work transitioning into the digital realm creating models and sculptures in Maya and Zbrush.

Peter Kelley
These beautiful maquettes were molded and cast at Kelley Studio in Mount Kisco, New York by toy-prototype sculptor Peter Kelley and his colleague, Shalon Palmer. Peter started his career in art at New York City's School of Visual Arts and now has more than a dozen years experience sculpting toy prototypes for major toy companies like Hasbro, Fisher Price, Mattel, to name only a few. Besides his expertise sculpting in traditional materials such as wax and clay, Peter specializes in high-quality digital sculpture utilizing all the current digital platforms to create exacting replications. As well, he enjoys casting the detailed, terrifically sculpted maquettes that come to him from the talented people at Blue Sky Studios.

For more from Peter please visit his website.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wilson Swain

This wonderful painting is the contribution of a tall man with a sharpened pencil and a permanent expression of mild surprise, illustrator Wilson Swain. Ever the imaginative artist, Wilson has been an illustrator at heart since he was a child growing up on the prairie of Illinois. Graduating from University of Indianapolis with a BFA in Graphic Design, Wilson moved to California and garnered an additional BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design. Still in Southern California, Wilson is a freelance illustrator with several books published including his most recent through Chronicle Books, the pop-up The Castaway Pirates by Ray Marshall and the musical A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas by G. Riley Mills and Ralph Covert. Wilson has shown in galleries across the country and always enjoys a good yarn-- especially when it involves animals in clothing... or yarn!

For more of Wilson’s art please visit his website.

Lorraine Rocha

Thinking of all the fun things one can do with a pen pal, this lively painting is by artist Lorraine Rocha. Though she always loved to draw and paint, Lorraine originally studied for a completely different career graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture.  After working in the field of architecture, and constantly drawing her co-workers while in meetings, Lorraine was convinced by her sister and brother-in-law (Annie and Colin Fix) to pursue her true calling and so enrolled in San Jose State University's Illustration and Animation Program. Upon graduating Lorraine worked in the art department at Industrial Light and Magic and contributed to movies such as Ironman and Miracle at St. Anna.  Currently a freelance concept artist in Las Vegas, Lorraine most recently worked on 2K Games' Bioshock 2.

To see more of Lorraine's art please visit her blog.

Leigh Barbier

With this intriguing diptych titled Twins we enter an imaginary world called Mushroomville created by the talented Leigh Barbier. Graduating from San Francisco State University with a BFA in Art, Leigh's professional life started as a modelmaker for natural history museums contributing to the exhibits at the California Academy of Sciences, Oakland Museum and Tilden Nature Center. Moving into the film industry, she began as a moldmaker on James and the Giant Peach, which led to opportunities as a model maker and sculptor at Industrial Light and Magic and Tippet Studios. Encouraged to try her hand at digital work, she transitioned her career to digital painting at ILM where some of her film credits include Avatar, Star Wars: Episode II and Episode III, Pirates of the Caribbean, Iron Man, Star Trek and Transformers. Leigh is credited for illustrating artwork for much of The Residents discography and she actively exhibits her drawings, paintings and sculpture in galleries and shows throughout the United States. In Leigh’s Mushroomville only women and girls reside, while men live in Sugarhill. Segregation is especially difficult for the Twins, so they try to do their chores close to the border of these two territories where they can visit and discuss their observations.

For more of Leigh’s art please check out her website.

George Cwirko-Godycki

This colorful submission, from artist George Cwirko-Godycki, is reminiscent of the moment when the children wrote their first pen pal letters. With only their preconceived notions of zebras and giraffes roaming the plains, the kids in Brooklyn opened their lives to potential friends waiting an ocean away with a simple, "Dear Friend." A Bay Area native, George recently graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. More of George's illustrations can be seen in his self-published sketchbook which was released last summer. Currently residing in San Mateo, California George is working away on a new illustrated book.

Please visit George's blog to see more of his artwork.

Andrew Coats

This postage stamp inspired illustration titled Leon is by artist Andrew Coats. Born in Peru to a Colombian mother and a Scottish father, Andrew was raised all over the world.  He has lived in Portugal, Venezuela, London, and came to the United States at the age of 16.  Having a love for film and art since a young boy, but unsure of how he was going to apply that to a job, Andrew opted for a liberal arts education at New York University. Once there he very quickly learned about the animation department of Tisch Film and Television at NYU, where he could combine his love for both. Upon graduating, Andrew started out as a Designer, Modeler, Rigger and Animator on the Disney TV show Little Einsteins, followed by work at Blue Sky Studios as an animator on Horton Hears A Who!, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Currently at work on Blue Sky's next film Rio, Andrew is an Animation Character Lead on the main character Blu.

For more of Andrew's artwork please visit his blog.

Cory Godbey

This sweet and playful submission comes from South Carolina artist Cory Godbey. Cory has illustrated picture books and book covers for Oxford University Press, Random House, and Thomas Nelson to name a few, and has worked on several animated shorts and commercials with clients including Prudential Insurance, Microsoft Zune, and Xbox. He has contributed to the acclaimed Flight graphic novel anthologies with his first story Walters appearing in Flight 6, and in 2008, Cory was accepted in the Society of Illustrators 50th Annual of American Illustration.  In early 2009 Cory founded the popular Maurice Sendak tribute site Terrible Yellow Eyes where professional artists from all over the world contribute works inspired by Where the Wild Things Are.  Currently an illustrator, animator, and writer for Portland Studios, Cory seeks to tell stories with his work and likes drawing monsters.

To see more of Corey's art please visit his blog and to see more of his Marurice Sendak tribute please visit Terrible Yellow Eyes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tony Jung

From artist Tony Jung come this sweet and heartfelt painting. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Tony emigrated to the United States when he was 5 years old and grew up in New York City. After graduating from University of Michigan, he worked on Wall Street as a lead developer in financial derivative-based systems. Memories of drawing all his life and dreams of working in the film industry spurned Tony to start teaching himself 3D animation, and eventually he left Wall Street to chase the dream. He successfully landed a job at Blue Sky Studios, and as Modeler and Lighter his film credits include Ice Age 2 and 3, Horton Hears a Who!, and Surviving Sid. Tony has also freelanced for PSYOP, has done concept and character design for video games, and is currently Art Director and Lead Game Designer with his innovative start-up game company. If you look carefully, you can spot Tony on the subway in New York City with a sketchbook in hand, drawing away.

For more of Tony's art please visit his blog.

Ryan Wood

From artist Ryan Wood comes this beautifully rendered portrait. As a teenage skateboarder Ryan was more interested in the art on the decks and stickers than the sport, and was later thrilled to discover that people actually got paid to draw. A combination of Looney Toons and his dad, the art teacher, inspired Ryan's path as an artist. After graduating with a BFA in Illustration from Utah State University, Ryan found work as an artist with a videogame company. From there he learned animation, 3D modelling and texture painting, and his game credits include the Tak and the Power of Juju series (THQ/Nickelodeon), Chicken Little, and Meet the Robinsons (Disney). Currently working on a new project with Avalanche Software where Ryan splits his time between concept art, texture painting and creating imaginative caricatures.

For more of Ryan's art and illustrations please visit his blog.

Lizette Vega Biancalana

This lovely portrait is the work of artist Lizette Vega Biancalana. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Lizette graduated from San Jose State University's Illustration and Animation program with a BFA in Art. After graduating she worked for Electronic Arts and did a stint with Hallmark Cards designing christmas ornaments. Currently in New York working as a Designer and Visual Development Artist with Blue Sky Studios, her film credits include Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the soon to be released Rio. Lizette's illustrated story Crawdaddy-O is part of collaborative sequential anthology Out Of Picture Volume 2, and her artwork has also been included in the Out of Picture exhibit in Paris and the Totoro Forest Project art auction. Besides being an avid sketcher, Lizette and her husband are working on writing and illustrating children’s picture books.

To see more of Lizette's art please visit her blog.

Dan Santat

This bold, mask inspired contribution comes from award winning children's book author and illustrator Dan Santat. Dan, who graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design, is creator of the Disney animated series The Replacements. As a commercial illustrator his clients have included Macy's, Scholastic, Harpercollins, Wall Street Journal, and The Village Voice, among many others; and as a children's book writer and illustrator some of his book titles include The Guild of Geniuses, Chicken Dance, and the Otto Undercover series written by Rhea Perlman. Living in Southern California with his wife and two kids, Dan will soon be releasing his graphic novel, The Domesticated Four in spring of 2011.

To see more from Dan please visit his website.

Jacqueline Jones

The artistic Jacqueline Jones works in production management at Blue Sky Studios, but she shows off her artistic chops here with this graffiti inspired image of a boy reaching up to paint Africa. Jacqueline's choice of spray paint as a medium was inspired by the graffiti that both plagues and highlights Bed-Stuy. A born and raised New Yorker, Jacqueline originally set out to be a costume designer, earning a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology before going on to receive a secondary degree in Art History and Costume Design from Purchase College State University of New York, otherwise know as SUNY. Prior to moving into animation, she worked in the wardrobe department on live action films such as The Night Listener and Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. Though she continues to have a strong love for fashion, design and art, Jacqueline feels lucky to have the opportunity to pursue her passion for management in such a creative environment as Blue Sky Studios.

Shaun Cusick

Alien Pen Pals was inspired by the sci-fi movie posters Shaun Cusick watched growing up on Long Island, New York where, between sci-fi flicks, he found time for drawing, camping and playing the tuba. With a BFA in Illustration and Graphic Design from Pratt Institute Shaun started his career as a graphic designer but changed direction to freelance sculpting and model making for television and f/x film projects. He returned to Pratt to learn computer animation, and it paid off. Employed at Blue Sky Studios almost since the beginning as a maquette sculptor and Senior Modeler, Shaun has worked on Alien Resurrection, Bunny, the Ice Age movies, Robots, Horton Hears a Who!, Gone Nutty, No Time For Nuts and Surviving Sid, and most recently as Lead Character Modeler on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the studio's next picture, Rio. Somehow, he still finds time to draw, sculpt, model aliens, monsters and tikis while simultaneously renovating the 1920s American Craftsman home he lives in with his wife, children and cats.

More of Shaun's artwork can be seen on his blog.

Colin Fix

Colin Fix's illustration captures the boundless joy felt by the students when their letters finally finished the exhausting journey from Africa to America (and vice versa). After graduating from San Jose State University’s Illustration and Animation Program, Colin began his career as a traditional animator for The Learning Company and as an assistant concept artist for Industrial Light and Magic’s Art Department. Since then, his work has spanned videogames, film and even the card game Hecatomb with clients that include Wizards of the Coast, Electronic Arts, Planet Moon Studios, Shabba Games and Konami, to name a few. Colin's art has appeared in the fantasy art annuals Spectrum and Aphrodisia and, most recently, he's lent his talents to the smash hit 2K Games' Bioshock 2 and has worked on Beowolf and A Christmas Carol, legendary director Robert Zemeckis' most recent forays into animation.

For more of Colin's art and illustrations please visit his blog.