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Plympton’s Farmingdale Exhibition

The master of indie animation, Bill Plympton, recently graced the campus of Farmingdale State College to host several lectures and film screenings for the public, as well as for the school’s graphic arts program students. 

Plympton, who considers himself the “Johnny Appleseed of Animation,” told Anton Newspapers that this is a very exciting time for animators, “This explosion of animation right now is amazing; it’s now in its second golden age.”

Aside from cartooning, animators now have a wider variety of career opportunities, such as Internet, gaming, commercials, and movies. “There are lots of students who love to draw who have a wonderful opportunity to get work doing animation,” Plympton said. 

Jon Salletta, a video communications major at Farmingdale, was among the student guests at the opening reception. A longtime fan of Plympton’s, Salletta has always been a fan of traditional animation. “He [Plympton] takes his unique style and crafts it into its own genre, a humorous thing.”

Plympton said pop culture is one of his obstacles. “Distributors feel that America only wants to see computer animation; it’s a roadblock,” he added. “I’ve been fighting this stereotype; I think Cheatin’ can break through.” He is the only person to hand draw an entire animated feature film.

The Art of Cheatin’ is Plympton’s work-in-progress, an animated adult themed story about “love, jealousy, revenge, and murder – full of nudity and violence, but also with my surreal sense of humor,” said Plympton. Cheatin’ is inspired by the work of James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

“It’s a totally unique film, watercolor animation,” Plympton said. “It’s not like Pixar or Dreamworks; it’s handmade.”

Plympton recently turned to public support for the funding of The Art of Cheatin’ through a website call Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. He earned the support of 1,334 private backers, some who pledged as little as $1, to reach $100,916 for the base-funding support. 

Cheatin’ is Plympton’s seventh animated feature and the first being done in a hand-painted style with over 40,000 drawings to be digitally colored. The film is scheduled to be completed in June. 

Plympton began his career creating cartoons for The New York Times, National Lampoon, and Playboy. In 1987, he received an Oscar nomination for his animated short, Your Face. In 2005, he received another Oscar nomination for his short, Guard Dog; and in 1991, he won the Cannes Palme d’Or for his short, Push Comes to Shove. 

Visit Plympton’s website: http://www.plymptoons.com for more about his past work and upcoming projects. 

The Plympton exhibition at Farmingdale runs through Feb. 22. This exhibition includes six animated short films and is made possible with the generous support of Farmingdale Student Government. 

The Memorial Gallery is located in Hale Hall, on the campus of Farmingdale State College at 2350 Broadhollow Road (Route. 110). Gallery hours: weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and the gallery, open to the public, is accessible to persons with mobility impairments. For information call (631) 420-6118.