BILLINGS – Born in 1939 in the Australian state of Victoria, this illustrator soon became the artist making memories in all of our living rooms on a Saturday morning.
Ron Campbell, director of the Beatles cartoon series and an animator on the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” album, is showing his work at the Toucan gallery at 2505 Montana Ave. in downtown Billings.
Whether directing or animating, Campbell was a force in animation for five decades.
He started his animation career in the late 1950s and was soon working on shows like Krazy Kat and Cool McCool. He was also a director on the successful TV cartoon series, The Beatles.
The inspiration for his painting comes from films that he helped make.
“I was obsessed with the idea that drawings come alive and went to art school and when I got out as luck would have it, television had just arrived in Australia and I was able to pretend I knew how to make cartoon films,” said Campbell.
“Rugrats, well gave up almost 10 years of my life to the Rugrats. I loved that show. Reptar, and Angelica I loved Angelica,” he added.
Campbell says his first job was spray painting a centipede.
“I sat there doing 100 drawings of a centipede, and each drawing had 100 little legs on it. And I sat there as a young man thinking, ‘they don’t know it, but I would pay them to let me do this,'” he said.
Working in cartoons and now creating original watercolor paintings, Campbell says he can see how much nostalgia his paintings bring to those who grew up watching the cartoons.
“For the first time,” Campbell says, “I am meeting the audience. The audience was always just numbers on a page, but now in my retirement, I am actually meeting the audience and discovering just how deep the affection people had for their childish memories watching cartoons on a Saturday morning.”