Alan Bodner, art director on Tangled, recently unveiled a series of artwork that celebrates song and dance. We spoke with him about the inspiration behind it and how he approaches his work.
What was the inspiration behind your recent artwork?
I have had a passion for dance since childhood. In her earlier years, my great aunt was a modern dancer training with the great Martha Graham in New York. She certainly inspired my love of dance. It felt like a natural subject to create artwork around. So, for the past few years I have explored dance and music through design. Movement and rhythm are wonderful to create on the page.
How do you describe your style?
I can’t help but think much of my art was inspired by animation, toy commercials and music from the 1960’s. I have not tried to copy anyone’s style, but do admit I was highly influenced by my time at Warner Bros. Animation and those wonderful Maurice Noble designs. In addition, many of the classic Disney Animated features. I love to exaggerate forms, figures and locations with a strong design sense.
How does your personal artwork differ stylistically from the work you do for studios?
Every show finds its own look and feel, but I suppose my own style is reflective of the shows I have art directed. Nowadays the shows have backgrounds that are loaded with textures, lighting and rendered forms. In my own work, I am always trying to keep things from getting too overworked or rendered. The great thing about doing your own work is the discovery. I bring much of that into whatever show I am working on and vice versa.
What are your favorite mediums to work in?
I have truly embraced working on my Cintiq with Photoshop. The variety of brushes and textures make it very appealing to create my work, which tend to be graphic in nature. I spent half of my career painting traditionally with cel vinyl paints. I really love that paint and was saddened recently when they stopped making it. I still paint traditionally doing dimensional paintings.
How has your artwork evolved over the years?
Oh, yes, my work has certainly evolved. My use of color, design and expression feels much more refined. I am still on a journey with this and excited to keep creating. That connection between my hand and thought are much closer. I don’t worry any more about every piece being so precious. If it doesn’t work, move on.
What advice do you share with artists at the beginning of their careers?
Everyone always wants things to happen quickly, but I truly believe it is important to plant seeds along the way. Get to know other people in the field you love or areas of animation you love. Then create a connection with those individuals. I have been hired by people that I started connecting with months or years before. I was told that animation was not a career many times. I was also told there would be too much competition. And you know what, there is. Let that crazy talk flow over you and keep on your path. It is a great field and so exciting to be a part of.
You can see Alan’s artwork at M Street Coffee now through April 14th.