Few days back, I stumbled across the works of Tom at his blog, and after that found out that he was a professional artist who has worked in the movie industry. In spite of his health not co-operating with him for a while, he took effort and time to open up a little about himself and his profession.
Tom Rubalcava’s background is well described in his bio.
Tom has worked for two decades in television, advertising, and feature film animation. Tom was Character Sculptor and Effects Animator on the Warner Bros/Lorimar Gumby Adventuresâ€š TV series (1987-1988) and Gumby Movieâ€š the stop-motion feature film (1991). In 1991 at Colossal Pictures, Tom’s Animation Direction debut Coca-Cola Watchâ€š won a Clio Award. In 2000 he became Co-Partner at Way Out West Prods in San Francisco. Tom joined Maverix Studios in October of 2002 and is a dedicated principal member of the group.
Tom’s years of experience in the industry shows in his artwork. Rather than being just a graphical representation of objects, they tell a story. The figures have character.
You can see more of his works at his website, but now we will move on to a short interview with Tom.
When and how did you venture into arts? Where did you grow up and did it influence your artworks?
I had a love for art since childhood and my family always encouraged me, especially my mother, as she was quite creative and artistic herself. Even my grade school teachers were encouraging me and one teacher went so far as to enter one of my classroom drawings into a local newspaper art contest. I must have been 7 or 8 years old and I was very excited to find out that I had actually won first prize â€“ an award certificate and a yearâ€™s subscription to the daily paper. The drawing was a depiction of a beaver building a dam. I donâ€™t know where the original drawing is now, that was a long time ago and I am sure it was very crude.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where I have remained and there is no doubt that it had a profound influence on my early interests in art. There were many popular local artists in the area, whether they were fine artists, comic artists, filmmakers, photographers etc. They had me dreaming of what I could become. As a teenager, I was fascinated with the underground comic book scene in Berkeley and San Francisco and I would submit illustrations and resumes to some of the local comic book publishers of the day. They were kind enough to reply with constructive criticism on my art and encouragement, even as they politely explained that I didnâ€™t qualify to join their roster of artists. It was an unforgettable time and I learned so much from their critiques.
How did you happen to get into professional artwork – involvement in movie production and similar works?
Along with the fascination with the comic book industry, there was a further interest early on with animation, particularly stop motion animation. I was mesmerized the first time I saw films like the 1931 â€œKing Kongâ€ and later the 1958 â€œSeventh Voyage of Sinbadâ€. Willis Oâ€™Brien and Ray Harryhausen both were my biggest influences in this type of animation and filmmaking. By the time I was out of high school I had done much experimentation with 8mm film and crude stop motion of my own. Then, through very fortunate circumstances, I met a local independent, stop motion filmmaker and he offered to help me make my first real stop motion puppet. Our friendship grew and I suddenly found myself helping out in many facets of independent film production in the Bay Area, from make up effects (which stemmed from my then, newly discovered sculpting abilities) to storyboarding.
I know that you are into digital art/painting. In view of that, do you have experience in traditional mediums? Does skills in traditional medium help when you do digital painting?
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