What is your name and your current occupation?
Jorden Oliwa Aka Johnny Gonzo, Freelance animator/Illustrator/comic artist.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Building scaffolds in the ashtrays of coal power plants. Managing a kitchen, cooking fulltime.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Massive Swerve/ Ren and Stimpy APC/ Mucha Lucha/ Motorcity/ Roy/ Angry Beavers/ Mission Hill.
How did you become interested in animation?
I was into comic books first and a teacher recommended that I get my drawing chops up in animation. So I enrolled at VFS in the classical animation program.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Edmonton, Alberta and I started doing layouts on a TV show at Studio B productions on a series called ‘Ned’s Newt’. My layout teacher at VFS offered me a job in the middle of my final film.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Wake up, coffee, fruit juice, maybe toast or a protein shake….internet, emails etc, drawing, computing, scanning, colouring, designing, thumb-nailing, prototyping, creating, and anything else, who knows, every week is different. But lots of drawing and working on my cintiq.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The part is I can draw all day and its the best because I can draw all day and love it.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
When it all gets bastardized for money.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Cintiq 21ux on a macbook pro, scanner, canon s-90 camera, scanner, exacto knife, ink pens, lightbox, spray paint, markers, etc…..
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Merging business with creative passion. The inconsistency of work and declining wages with the expectation of more knowledge and more responsibility. My first layout job was the best per dollar/responsibility I have had in 14 years. For a wage at a studio in the same city, now I would now be expected to supervise and teach a fresh crew how to the job as well as a quota at the same time. Oh yeah, and no benefits. In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness? Robert Valley on numerous
occasions. Worked on a John Kricfalusi directed cartoon.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Working in the animation industry and expecting the wages to go up with the cost of living.
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I have 2 graphic novelprojects. The Rink Rat chronicles https://vimeo.com/20039242 a slightly off-side comedy for the whole family is a story of couple of knuckleheaded friends growing up in the deep freeze of edmonton alberta playing hockey. The Rick and P-Air get jobs for the local junior team as the ‘Stick’ and ‘ Puck’ boys. PAirs 6 hockey loving sisters provide the 2 boys with plenty of entertainment and fun. We are developing it into an animated feature, with 2 drafts of the script completed and a teaser going into
animation this summer. The Sinz of a Gonzo Nation is the other project http://nodicestudios.ca/wp/?page_id=4 . It is a modern
retelling of the Labours of Hercules…instead of a greek god he is a gangster rapper. Ehch4Oh( the herculean Hip hop hero) travels the world doing the deeds of his evil producer in his quest for godhood. Of course ever hero needs heralds, and Ehch4oh has, 12 and they are all named after the deadly sins.. Vanity is his photographer, lust his Arms dealer, Gluttony Dj/drug dealer, envy is the mechanic etc…..It’s a 2 volume graphic novel.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Cooking. Boring I know.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business? Make your own films/shorts/ music videos, the technology is your friend you only need motivation and dedication, it will get you further and will be more rewarded than doing in-betweens for 15 years at a huge studio.