What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Stanley Somers, and I teach at Hawthorne Academy High School as their Art Teacher.
What are some of your favorite projects youâ€™re proud to have been a part of?
In Animation, I worked for twenty two years at; Disney, Warners, Hyperion, FilmFair and many others. My favorite projects were Rover Dangerfeild, The Little Mermaid, and BeBe’s Kids. Â Â In art I with my ex wife Marsea open New Image Art gallery in 1994 in west Hollywood. The Gallery Initially juxtaposed Minimalist artist with performance art to create a new dialogue in LA.
How did you become interested in animation?
In the 70’s through to the beginning of the 2000’s it was the best way to draw and earn a living, the studios sought out artist that were schooled and loved drawing.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from LA and in 1978 went to Disney after graduating college. There they put me under Eric Larsen to be trained and tested in becoming a potential animator.
Whatâ€™s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
At my current job I am scheduled to teach either design/abstraction, 3/D design, photoshop, drawing and painting, each discipline is given one week, and repeated in rotation; drawing that are not set apart as artwork go on to photoshop or painting Â [which is watercolor, color pencil, and tempura combines]
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Doing art that is exactly the artwork that inspires me, and work I grow with. Then working with young people and seeing how with doors open to them they can flower in their artistic expressions, occasionally I get a real artist and I just try to create a supportive environment for them.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Well teaching does not pay as well as animation back in the day, but animators that do classic 2D animation don’t have too many opportunities in todays market. So till that changes I’ll be teaching and doing side projects. The other complaint is as much as art attracts students, students come with so little exposure that I have to start from square one.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Art Business, is fashionable, We had a renaissance of 2D in the 90s after Roger Rabbit, but they put it to sleep after 2003, not that 3D animation isnt great, or tv shows being directed here and sent overseas for completion havent been good, but all that dose not replace Richard William, Bluth, Old Disney,Â for an artist that was some fun shit, and any animator who was there will say the same.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
photoshop, graphite, watercolors, oil paint, papers, canvases, peg board, light table.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Well, the nine old men, the initial crowd I started with at Disney like Brad Bird, and Bruce Smith is the most natural animator I ever saw work, but just so many, the late John Mc Guire.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Well losing my capacity to gain animation employment and my divorce of my 17 year old marriage at the same time tested me, but surviving the big waves of Hawaii at 21 was more imminent danger.
Any side projects or youâ€™re working on or hobbies youâ€™d like to share details of?
Always painting and contemporary art, which I have posted on stanleysomers/facebook, I was part of the New Image painting movement in NY in the late 70s and that has continued to evolve into the low brow art movement, so I always believe in holding my ground as an artist, and have tons of fuel to proceed from our culture.
Any unusual talents or hobbiesÂ likeÂ tying a cherry stem with your tongueÂ orÂ metallurgy?
well I do believe surfboard design needs a new evolution and am working with Jeff Spinner to design a futuristic new board that will liberate surfing.
Well, you’re an artist first and foremost, and art will never let you down, because at base minimum you grow and entertain yourself in one of the most entertaining ways in life, after that the celebrity and audience is just a luxury, but remember tough aesthetics will test you to the core, Van Gogh, Pollock, Rothko could not survive them, but they left greatness. Animators like Milt Kahl and Richard Williams are one of a kind, I never saw greater drawing than a great animator at work, so many unexpected surprises. And that is why it is just so great.