Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Saw Ewing was a lead cleanup artist at Disney Feature Animation. I worked under his guidance on the character Koda in Brother Bear. After Disney closed the Florida animation studio, I started work at Full Sail University and I worked closely with Sam as we taught college students the principles of animation using traditional pencils and paper. Sam had a dream of someday becoming a writer. He left Full Sail to follow that dream. I was happy to hear that Sam started a blog titled "Rusty Pliers."
Soon everyone referred to Sam as Rusty Pliers. I wondered what the moniker meant. My thought was that each artist that worked for Disney was a tool. For the duration we were tools with a set purpose, to create ageless films. When the studio was shut down there was little need for Animators who draw. We were discarded tools left to rust (rusty pliers) until we found new outlets for our talents. The Florida humidity has caused all the tools in my tool chest to rust. It is unavoidable with age.
This reading at Stardust Video and Coffee set the record straight. When Rusty Pliers got on the stage, he had an eye patch that made him look a bit like a pirate. He started reading tentatively at first outlining his early dreams of becoming an animator. Half way into the reading he took a moment to adjust his eye patch. He moved it from his left eye to his right eye which caused laughter to erupt. "That's so much better." he said. "I didn't realize there were so many of you out there." It was a full house. Standing room only.
Rusty then read about his next career move into the porn industry. This is apparently a hard industry to break into. It was during the filming of a hot kitchen sex scene where rusty earned his name. He discovered some pliers on the set and he worked them into the scene in kinky ways best left to the imagination. When the scene had reached it's climax the director shouted, "You are going to be a star!" He wasn't referring to the actors however. He was referring to the rusty pliers.
When the reading was over, my sketch was done. Back by the bar, there was a table full of former Disney colleagues. John Pierro has been doing a painting a day of his quirky and somewhat sinister intertwining figures. Merritt Andrews has been working for Universal Studios the past few years. Pam Darley turned me on to a bar her husband loves called the Brass Tap and I hope to go there on a Drink And Draw outing soon. Darko Cesar and his wife Mirjana were there as well. Darko is discovering how to use TV Paint which is the industry standard for producing traditional animation using a digital tablet. Kathy Blacmore is still teaching art to kids and illustrating children's books. It was awesome to see Rusty Pliers laughing with friends. I had one grapefruit flavored beer and since I'm a light weight drinker, I laughed at even the simplest jokes. I was just happy to be surrounded by so much talent.