'Unfiltered' Bakshi Art Book by Chris McD and Jon Gibson-Forward by Tarantino
When Jon Gibson and Chris McDonnel met me in a coffee shop in LA with the idea that they wanted to do a book on Pops - my head spun. With many things. The first thing that popped into my head was: HA! Thats friggin brave . The second thing was: They have NO idea what they are getting into.
I had spent years trying to make sense of all the various realms my father encapsulates and the results and outpouring of creativity from each one. One story overlaps the next. The art he creates in his painting studio melds with the illustrations in the films he pitches and the storyboards and the characters that come alive. The RB I know was and always is an artist first. I mean the artist with paintbrush and oil paints and turpentine and canvas kind of artist. That is all I really knew of him growing up - until I went to film school (I was going to make documentaries ... needless to say I got sucked into film for a bit - glad thats over !). There was not an article of clothing that wasn't covered in paint.. or an ear or arm and lets not even talk about the hands and the fingernails. Important conversations were held about the easles that let him fit the larger canvases and that he could move around the studio (they had wheels!!The Joy!!). The plan of getting sharper scissors so the tips of his favorite brushes could be squared or evened or pointed perfectly. The booming call from the studio "LIIIIZZZZIIIIIIIEEEEEE" when my mom would go in and review, discuss, contemplate the wet painted piece at question at the moment - what is working whats not....
And then there was the other studio - where stories came alive. History was mirrored. Political discussions were depicted in doodles. Comic strips, Cartoons, illustrations. AND BOOKS. A LOT OF BOOKS. And the calling to "LIIIIZZZZIIIEEEE" and the hours of discussion with my mother about the current film being navigated.
So Chris and Jon are sitting across from me - saying they want to and can do this. Make sense of a man that is like a volcano of creativity, art, socially and politically motivated, stubbornly opinionated...and a hard core New Yorker on top of it all. Who has little or no social graces left (lol-your always a gentleman in my eyes pops) who doesn't give a shit about what anyone thinks of him. This....is what these two guys sitting before me wish, voluntarily to take on. Hallafuckinglujia! Hip hip hooray for the young, brave and strong.
I will get you there I say to them.
Because - selfishly - I want a book that can ( attempt ) to make sense of my father in a linear and controlled capsule that I can have for my kids and their kids and forever. To say... this artist - this man - in all his beauty, passion, insanity, absurdity, wildness, and frightfulness ... created a body of work that transcends time and space. That travels between canvas and book and film and paper. That the web of RB is as slippery and as concrete as two opposites can be.
They put their armor on - This Jon and Chris.
And marched into the battlefield.
And accomplished the most extraordinary task.
I am forever grateful to them. And to Rob the Editor. And Rizzoli.
Pops - truly an unfiltered life.
Here is a video by The Australian Cartoon Museum going through the book so you can check it out.
Unfiltered Still available on AMAZON
There was only one printing - :