Who doesn't remember rushing home to watch nick toons? Back in the golden age of nickelodeon, with all their boundary-pushing cartoons and action-packed Mike O'Malley game shows, there would be few among us who doesn't revere Ren & Stimpy as simply one of the best cartoons of all time.
Now years later, as I attempt to delve into the world of animation, a craft that I have the utmost respect for...my endless internet browsing has inevitably led me back to one man: John K, the creator of Ren & Stimpy.
While looking for animation tutorials, resources, and college courses, I stumbled across this website named ASIFA (The Hollywood Animation Archive) claming a "$100,000 animation course for FREE"! Best case scenario I was expecting tons of pop ups ads or one of those fake search engines with a bunch of bogus links.
"$100,000 ANIMATION COURSE FOR FREE!"
The introduction said it all...schools are a waste of time and a shit ton of money, and anything you need to know you can learn from Preston Blair's book "Animation" which you can purchase for $8. And who's advice is this? JOHN K! HOLY CRAP!
The following pages are his personal lessons to those daring to try them and post their results for him to critique. This gesture struck me as something not just rare...but practically non-existent in today's world. As someone that has consistently offered my services for free or to teaching anyone that wants to learn what I know, I can tell you there's only really one reason that anyone would offer this without monetary reward: out of a pure love of their craft. So started my true intrigue of John K...
He also offers a link to his personal blog to follow, where it's just a GOLDMINE of inspiration- from tutorials to doodles to vintage comics and toys to his silly t-shirts.
Upon further stalking on his imdb profile, John K is a pretty infamous animator. He was fired for making a drug reference in the remake of the Mighty Mouse cartoon, then practically tricked Nickelodeon into buying into Ren & Stimpy, and calls Walt Disney the "blandest human on the planet" and that he ruined animation. He also blames Bambi and Lady in the Tramp for the "furry" fetish and regularly rants about how hippies destroyed modern entertainment.
"I just knew at the regular networks there was no way in the world they would buy my stuff undiluted. So I diluted it. I hid the Ren and Stimpy characters, surrounding them with a bunch of kids in a show called 'Your Gang.' And I made up a bogus pitch about it being socially conscious. I tricked 'em! I told 'em it was going to be unfunny; that it would be wiggly lines, nobody would be able to follow the stories, and nobody could identify with the characters. And they said, `Oh! That's exactly what we want!' And I totally lied." - John K.
After just 8 episodes, he was fired from Ren & Stimpy and Nickelodeon for arguing not only script but technique. He'll even use the alias "Raymond Spum" when he acts, writes or directs in a cartoon that gets edited in a way that he feels ruins it and robs it of his "artistic vision...he cares! HE ACTUALLY CARES! It's his passion and pride...an artist with integrity! What a breath of fresh air!
...not to mention he is extremely knowledgable, incredibly talented, and absolutely crazy.
John K on the impact of The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991): "I think we are destroying the minds of America, and that's been one of my lifelong ambitions."
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3
He makes me have hope for humanity :-)