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I've always bubbled with a plethora of creative passions (say that three times fast) -- many interests boiling at the same time. But art is always with me.
Years ago, my mother showed me what she said was my earliest painting. It pictures a boy standing on a vast lunar landscape, wearing an oxygen helmet and boots, stars and planets pepper the sky. I printed the title boldly across the top: "On the Moon with Kerry O'Quinn."
That crude piece of art revealed seeds of my soul that would grow and blossom. I am an idealist who loves exploring beyond the everyday, reaching for the stars – the essence and the mission of my life.
Kerry, the studio artist – painting a nude model in the U.T. Art Department.
Man Out West
During my early years in New York – my mind expanding in all directions: writing, animating, directing, designing, making films, producing commercials, devouring knowledge – I was also busy drawing and painting.
I would stop people on the street, or in restaurants, captured by a face, and I would boldly ask a total stranger to pose for me. Now, an aggressive kid wanting to paint you is weird, even in Manhattan, but once in a while someone said YES, and I did the best portrait work of my life during those years -- as I eagerly became a New Yorker.
I was profoundly inspired by the meticulous skills of magazine and book cover illustrators. I thought they were as awesome as Michelangelo. I wanted to illustrate with that kind of technical mastery and evocative vision, and I began seeking illustration jobs as I defined my own style. I painted some very personal expressions – in a style some mistakenly think of as commercial and impersonal.
Joan Blumenthal taught a weekly art class. Gordon and I attended, and sometimes assisted. Art became captivating to the three of us, with a bonding that included Frank O'Connor. He was a gentle soul and a fellow artist, and I came to feel close to Frank – whereas my friendship with Ayn Rand was always more formal and professional. I worked on several design projects with her, and let me tell you – the lady had very strong and precise ideas about art.
The heroic aesthetics of Ayn Rand's writing, both fiction and philosophic, inspired Gordon and me with focus, and we began exploring animation. We decided it is the only form of temporal storytelling that allows 100% control of every detail – the ultimate art, eliminating all accident.
We set about to create a film -- 24 drawings per second, using wide-screen, four-plane 3-D cell art -- set to a thrilling piece of ballet by Aleksandr Glazunov.
I was working full-time, and Gordon had become a top model, appearing frequently in NY TIMES and magazine ads, on the sides of busses, fashion layouts. In addition to being so gorgeous that people followed him home and slipped him phone numbers, Gordon had a brilliant mind. He soon became bored smiling at cameras, just as I became bored with magazine design. Our shared dream was to work for Walt Disney – who, no doubt, would send for us as soon as he saw the amazing little animated film we were creating.
We stayed up into the wee hours every night, driven to make this the ultimate work of art – "five minutes of escape velocity." We were obsessive – as many other young people were during the inflaming early throes of Ayn Randism ane NBI. Fortunately, I took all the good I learned during those years, and discarded the bad. Some do, some don't.
I loved drawing the human form. I did some of the best figure art of my life – mostly in Joan's classes.
"An Inch of Art" Short Story By David Houston
Illustration By Kerry O'Quinn
CLICK HERE: "Voyage To Darkness" & Arthur C. Clarke