In 1958 television had just come to Australia and Ron Campbell, an ambitious and spirited animator recalls himself walking around Syndey, “pretending that I knew how to make cartoon film commercial.”
His “fake it ‘til you make it” drive landed him his first gig, creating a sequence of a centipede collapsing under a poisonous spray.
“I had to do about 100 drawings and every drawing had to have about 100 legs on it,” he tells CultureShift’s Ryan Patrick Hooper. “I sat there drawing away saying to myself as a young man: They don’t know it, but I would pay them to let me do this. That’s how enthusiastic I was.”
Fast forward to 1964 and Campbell, then working in Hollywood, was the go-to man for The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” feature film. He also directed the band’s cartoon series “The Beatles”.
With an award-winning career spanning five decades in children’s television, Campbell’s imagination and talent brought classic characters to life such as Scooby-Doo, the Smurfs, the Flintstones, The Jetsons and Rugrats, to highlight a few.
Today, Campbell uses painting as a medium to recreate characters from cartoons he’s contributed to in the past.
“I decided to follow the example of [animator] Chuck Jones. When he retired, he did wonderful paintings,” he says. “I thought that would be a good idea. So I tried it and lo and behold, it sort of works. I find myself traveling around the country, going to geographic areas doing art shows and meeting with people.”
This weekend (Oct.11 -13), Campbell will be doing just that, as his original cartoon paintings of the Beatles’ Saturday Morning Cartoon and Yellow Submarine, along with a variety of his other animated works will be showcased and available for purchase at the Danielle Peleg Gallery in Keego Harbor, MI.
“I observe there’s an aura of nostalgia that comes over people because [the paintings] are memories of their childhood … watching Saturday morning cartoons and it’s just so powerful for them.”