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INTERVIEW: Carnival Cartoons’ Garnet and Jared

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As you might now know, Carnival Cartoons (Jared Deal and Garnet Syberg-Olsen) recently released their first, independently produced, figure - Buzz Carney.  We discussed the future plans and past influences of the guys responsible for The Carneys.

What exactly is Carnival Cartoons and who is involved with this venture?

Garn: Well, Carnival Cartoons is a company that Jared and I formed after we met in 1999/2000 while working at MTV animation in New York City. We have similar tastes when it comes to cartoons, and also similar drawing styles so it seemed like a good fit. We also found that we work really well together so we decided to partner up and form a company so we could start pitching our own show ideas. After the show we were working on at MTV didn’t get a second season…I headed Back to Vancouver where I’m from, and Jared stayed in the Big Apple, but we have continued to work together since then by phone, email, ftp etc. and with the odd trip back and forth. So…in a sense we are a “virtual animation studio”. Right now its exciting times for us, because we’re heading in a whole new direction creatively with the whole vinyl toy production thing. Its pretty cool because we’ve developed a huge library of original animation related content that really lends itself to toys…and it interesting to see the big players in animation are starting to think in the same way…what with the recent purchase of a stake in Kidrobot by WildBrain Animation Studio.

Jared: Yeah, it’s cool though because we don’t actually need a studio space, where we both physically can sit at a computer side by side (although that would be the dream situation). We’ve been able to crank out heaps of work on our own projects, and for other clients working remotely. Ya gotta love the interweb!

Your artwork and humor reminds me a lot of Ren and Stimpy.  Who and what influenced you and your artwork?

Jared: Crap...we have sooo many influences.  There are so many great artists out there now; it seems like every day we discover someone new who just blows us away.  Yeah, you're right one of our biggest would have to be Kricfalusi & well, pretty much any other ex-Spumco artist...Jim Smith, Bill Wray, Katie Rice, Chris Reccardi, Gabe Swarr, Fred Osmond, Stephen DeStephano…the list goes on. Other big influences...Mary Blair, Tim Biskup, Gary Baseman, Gendy, Craig McCracken, Craig Kellman, Tex Avery, Jeff Soto, Dave Cooper, Chris Prynowski, Aaron Augeblick. And some new finds...Nick Cross, Todd Kauffman, Joel Trussell, any one from the Meathaus crew (Zach Baldus, Easo, etc.).  We could go on for days!

Garn: For sure! Jared’s right… its like you find new animation artists all the time that are so good it makes you want to cut off your hands and give up drawing! Blogger is a great way to see stuff you just wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise. It’s so easy for artists to post stuff and give you peek into their world. I also like to look outside of animation for inspiration. There are so many great painters, illustrators, and designers out there that really get me worked up. J. Otto Siebold, Michael Bartalos, Melinda Beck, Ragnar, Calef Brown, Kirsten Ulve, Evan Hecox, Jim Flora, Lane Smith, Rod Filbrandt, The Clayton bros., Jeff Kleinsmith, Gary Taxali, Stuart Davis, M. Sasek…seriously this interview could just turn into a list of influences.

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The Carney’s Buzz

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Buzz is set to be the first vinyl toy launched by Carnival CartoonsJared Deal and Garnet Syberg-Olsen are the artists responsible for Carnival Cartoons.  They have combined to create some amazing artwork as well as some hilarious animations.  Buzz can by seen in the "Carneys" promo on their animation page.

Look for the vinyl figure to land sometime in late January or early February.  He is limited to 250 hand numbered figures (complete with a certificate signed by both artists and the sculptor) and should retail in the $65 area.  There are also plans for Carnival Cartoons to produce more Carneys characters.

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