Among all of the random filing cabinets labeled anywhere from "reference pics of ewoks" to my "Amazon wish list" that are cluttered inside of my brain, there's a specific cabinet labeled "Artists Who I Will Always Look Up To For The Rest of My Life No Matter What". Inside that cabinet is a small list of names, and Gris Grimly is at the top.
I'm fascinated by artists that have enough passion for their own imagination that they eventually, sometimes even without realizing it, create an entire unique universe with their art. Recurring characters, stylized architecture, similar themes and emotions, and, most importantly, evolution of their world as they grow emotionally. Walt Disney, Tim Burton, Ralph Bakshi, Chuck Jones, Terry Gilliam, Craola, Skinner, Don Bluth, Michel Gagne, and Michel Gondry are all in this filing cabinet. And so is Gris Grimly.
In the 12 or so years that I have known (and been inspired by) Gris, he has done just that. Gris liked scribbling, and instead of worrying about realism and changing his art to fit other standards, he embraced his scribbles and his loose style, and ran with it, learning how to completely render these stylized scribbles into living, breathing, exaggerated and animated beings. And now, years later, he has managed to do that across multiple platforms, including his own personal illustrated books, adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe & Frankenstein, fine art galleries, music videos, stop motion animation and now film. Which brings me to share my excitement when I was on a plane a few months ago looking through Entertainment Weekly and spit my peanuts on the snoring woman next to me when I saw some incredible concept art accompanying and article announcing that Gris's "Pinocchio" adaptation is being developed into a new animated movie with Guillermo Del Toro (insert link: http://cdn.bloody-disgusting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Pinocchio_concept_art.jpg ).
There's two things (three if you count "spooky") about Gris that have gotten him where he is today: He works his ass off consistently and he's humble and appreciative about it. And because of that, he'll never get removed from that filing cabinet in my brain-closet.
For more information, go visit the one and only Gris Grimly, The Mad Creator, at his website, http://www.madcreator.com