Thursday, November 16, 2006

Looking for Paintings - Part 3

Jack Heiter has been in the animation business for about 50 years and has worked just about everywhere. In 1995-96 when I was storyboarding on Freakazoid at Warner Bros., Jack was my director. We became friends and with Jack, that was easy. I lost touch with him for about six years when he lived and worked in Korea. About a year ago I heard he was back in the States and was living near Portland, Oregon. I managed to contact him and looked forward to visiting him and his terrific wife Hae Jung and their equally terrific daughter, Nina. Last time I saw Nina she was about six years old. Jack and Hae Jung put me up for about five days while I explored the greater Portland area and some of the countryside.

Route 84 east out of Portland runs parallel to the mighty Columbia River. About 50 miles east is the town of Hood River where route 35 drops south around Mt. Hood and hooks up with route 26 west back to Portland. It's about a three hour drive if you don't stop for blueberries, apples, corn, honey and whatever fresh fruit and vegetables you'll find at roadside stands along the way.

The first day of October found Mt. Hood imposing but snow free.

A great old barn near Jack Heiter's home in West Linn, Oregon.

Nina Heiter and Pepper, two very cool critters. Pepper is the one trying out his Halloween costume.

Hae Jung and Jack Heiter, proprietors of the "Bums From Los Angeles Are Welcome Here" hotel in West Linn, Oregon.

One day I stopped in at Laika Entertainment in downtown Portland to visit another old friend, Jorgen Klubien. I'd met Jorgen in 1986 when he first worked at Disney Studios, Burbank, in Consumer Products and Publications. I was writing the Donald Duck comic strip at the time and Jorgen did the art for it for about six months. Jorgen was also a rock star (lead singer for DanseOrkestret) in his native Denmark and had to return periodically on business. (In 1993 I left Disney to work in Copenhagen for two years. Whenever Jorgen came home to Denmark we'd try to hang out a little bit.) He eventually wound up working at Pixar as a story artist on Toy Story II and, most recently, Cars. He's now at Laika directing an animated feature named Jack and Ben. We had lunch at Lompoc, his favorite neighborhood restaurant, and then he gave me a tour of the studio, where he re-introduced me to Helen Kalafatic, producer on Jack and Ben. About two years ago I was storyboarding on Maya and Miguel, the PBS series produced by Scholastic in New York, and Helen was the producer on that show. We'd never met in person until Jorgen introduced us at the San Diego Comic Con this year. She knew my work on Maya and Miguel and Jorgen knew my work on Donald Duck. And here we all were in Portland. We talked about the possibility of my working at Laika on Jack and Ben . I still had some business with Gary Groth at Fantagraphics in Seattle and suggested I could come back through Portland on my return trip to Los Angeles. A couple of days later I headed for Seattle.

The Astoria Column on a hill high above Astoria, Oregon. As soon as I can find the informational book on it I'll add it to this post. Although it looks like a lighthouse, it's not. The entire surface of the column is covered with images of historical events in the Astoria/Columbia River area, including Lewis and Clark. The images seem to be etched into the surface, somewhat like bas relief on sandstone, with color added.

Next: Washington


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