surf with me

Corny Cole (1930-2011) was a CalArts character animation department staple over the past 15 years. He had a long career in animation working for Disney, Richard Williams, and Chuck Jones among others.  Any professional anecdote I’ve heard regarding Corny always contained some sort of humorous escapade or crazy situation-like getting a call to bail him out of jail due to unpaid parking tickets.  He was an interesting “crusty” and warm figure (who cleaned up real nice on occasions).  He (as is obvious in his work) was a thinker and feeler.   Lucky for me, he was assigned to be my mentor in school.  I think I might understand him even better now than when I was in school, because much of what he shared came from experience; and the more experience I have, the more I relate to him and his rebellious attitude about “the illusion of life”.  While at CalArts you often saw him in the life drawing room somewhere on the floor doing art based on one of his revisiting models:  Peggy, Sarah, “Shadow”, and Parker immediately come to mind.  Most of the time he was wearing a loose, well-worn canvas jacket, and giant sneakers with a mug of coffee at the ready-either for drinking or dipping his brush in.  He generally worked with whatever medium was handy and did a lot of mixed-media.  I wrote in a previous post that to me, “Corny was more about capturing movement and being in the moment”. That was my impression then-and still.  I remember watching him work and admiring his art in progress, but there were few occasions when you could actually study his completed work, because it always seemed ongoing.  Sadly, in 2008 he lost his home, several pets, and virtually all of his artwork in a fire.  So, it was a treat to be able to see some of his art recently displayed at the Animation Guild.  I visited on a quiet day toward the end of the exhibition, and seeing it on the walls brought back memories of, and some new insights about Corny.  Some of the work which I’ll post later are very intentionally muted, and were more recent works.  While looking at his art on display, I thought that some of the studies really should have been on attached to turntables because that is how he worked.  Since he was usually on the floor and moving around the art, it seems he didn’t necessarily intend it to be shown from one perspective.  That’s why I posted a few images in different orientations.  In one image I put a checkered pattern beneath the art to give another glimpse into what he was seeing.  I never liked drawing with that checkered floor.  It was distracting!  Anyway, I haven’t found much of Corny’s life’s work available to view; so at the last minute, I decided to capture most of what I saw to share here with whatever insights I could offer (please excuse the flash or any blur.  I wasn’t equipped to shoot it correctly).  

Aside:  Corny has a twin brother who is also somewhat famous.  He was one of the pioneer “big wave surfers” in California, and I believe is living in Hawaii:  Peter Cole (  -Waveybrain

  1. abloodywonder reblogged this from waveybrain
  2. kastiakbc reblogged this from bloodyrousa and added:
    Oh my god…he’s dead…and I never got to meet him ;______;
  3. waveybrain posted this