Animators go high-brow at Williamsburg gallery

Animators go high-brow at Williamsburg gallery
Portrait by Ian Clyde

Even the people who work on “SpongeBob SquarePants” need a creative outlet.

The annual “Too Art for TV” group exhibition, which opens at Bunnycutlet Gallery in Williamsburg on Dec. 6, features the works of 30 artists with day jobs in television, film, and commercial animation who want to flex their fine-art muscles off-screen.

“These artists have their own vision as artists separate from animation, but because their jobs are so demanding they don’t necessarily have a place to showcase them,” said Liz Artinian, Bunnycutlet’s owner. “Sometimes they leave behind their personal works because there isn’t really a place to showcase them.”

Artinian held the first “Too Art for TV” exhibition in 2006, when she was working on “Sesame Street” and having difficulty breaking into fine art galleries in the city. Her focus slowly morphed from becoming a fine art painter to working as a fine art curator, and with that, the Bunnycutlet Gallery was born in 2012. Since then, the gallery has served as a haven for animation artists who paint, design, or otherwise create on the side of their demanding day jobs.

Though many of the works on display at “Too Art for TV” are a long way from Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network fare — pieces at this year’s show include hand-stitched embroidery and oil paintings — Artinian said the artists’ fellow animators are still big fans of their colleagues’ alternative work.

“The animation industry is so good about sticking together and coming out in droves for any animation event,” she said.

For Brooklyn-based animation artist Ian Clyde, the exhibition offers the chance to showcase his collection of animal portraiture — a far cry from the animated advertisements he has created for movies and TV shows such as “Pitch Perfect” and “The Voice.”

“I do mostly commercial stuff, so I paint on the side to make up for it,” said Clyde. “I’m less of an animator — even though I do animation work for a job.”

“Too Art for TV” at Bunnycutlet Gallery [158 Roebling Street near Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, (917) 584–7420, www.bunnycutlet.com]. Dec. 6, 7–10 pm, through Jan. 2, 2014.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Not so animated: Jessica Milazzo, an animation director and freelance illustrator, will display a different side of her craft by displaying embroidery pictures at Bunnycutlet Gallery’s “Too Art for TV.”
Work by Jessica Milazzo