Event Images + Press Release
NEW YORK, NY - Ralph Bakshi will return to AFA in SoHo for a reception where his altogether new series of fine art paintings will be debuted in an exhibition entitled The Streets. This bold series of mixed-media construction/paintings was inspired by the gritty and colorful neighborhoods of Bakshi’s youth in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
MoCCA, New York’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and Bill Plympton will present a lifetime achievement award to Mr. Bakshi at a private reception, and then a public meet and greet takes place on Saturday March 20th, 2-5PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Exhibition runs through May 15th. AFA is located at 54 Greene Street at Broome in SoHo. Hours of operation are Mon-Sat 10AM-7PM and Sun 11AM-6PM. For more information log onto www.afanyc.com or call 212-226-7374.
Throughout an artistic career spanning more than half a century, Ralph Bakshi’s secret passion has always been fine art. Although he has become a renowned film director, Bakshi has remained a sedulously dedicated self-taught painter, and this body of work is as sophisticated as his films are outrageous. The Artist has created multi-media pieces that are emotionally layered works, and clearly a departure from his past figurative works. Bakshi builds up his surfaces with elements of wood, nails, and other found objects. The artist deconstructs the sculptural elements at some point during the process, and then uses the ravaged sculpture as a canvas, continuing to paint and repaint the accumulating textures, going deeper and deeper into what he thinks he sees. In this ongoing process of building up and taking away, Ralph transforms his reality into sculptured abstraction. Inspired by every single memory of his life in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Artist produces work that is as gritty, colorful, and dynamic as New York. Bakshi’s paintings are derived from a lifetime of loving the artistic peeling of the paint on old Brownsville walls; the play of sunlight on their surfaces that changed them every few minutes. These paintings are the closest thing to realism that Ralph can imagine, although they appear to be abstract.
Ralph Bakshi is a legend in the world animation. His controversial and cutting edge films have secured a place in the historical archives of many museums, including the Whitney and MoMA, because they raised a generation’s social consciousness with the raw, creative and artistic genius that was larger than life on the big screen. Bakshi was raised in the Brownsville area of Brooklyn, and displayed artistic talent before he was old enough to go to school. Graduating high school with an unprecedented “Award in Cartooning,” at eighteen years old Bakshi was given an entry level position at the Terrytoons animation studio. He promoted himself quickly to animator by commandeering an empty desk, and by the time he was 28, Bakshi was Creative Director of the studio. He created shows like Mighty Mouse, Heckle & Jeckle, Deputy Dawg, and later Spiderman for Paramount Studios. After this, Bakshi produced his first theatrical animated feature, a down-and-dirty X-rated adaptation of Robert Crumb’s “underground” comic strip Fritz the Cat. Bakshi’s next feature, Heavy Trafficwas even more outrageous, but won acclaim from both film and art critics. Next wasCoonskin, a savage attack on Hollywood racial stereotypes. In 1977, Bakshi releasedWizards, then Lord of the Rings. In 1980 he animated jazz music with American Pop, and afterwards Hey, Good Lookin’; a nostalgic glance at 1950s street gangs. After Fire and Ice in 1983, Bakshi retreated to his studio, painting every day for nearly 10 years, before resurfacing in 1987 with the brilliant TV series of Mighty Mouse, directed by Bakshi’s protégé, John Kricfalusi (of Ren & Stimpy fame). In 1992, Bakshi returned to the Big Screen with Cool World, a combination of animation and live action starring Brad Pitt and the voice of Kim Basinger, among others.