Canada

10 Amazing Toronto Animation Artists from TAAFI 2014

Last weekend, my wife and I were searching for coffee while walking along the Toronto waterfront. We were attracted to a building bustling with life, but instead of coffee, we found something much sweeter. We found TAAFI. What the heck is TAAFI? Great question. We asked ourselves the same question after stumbling into an amazing animation art festival.

TAAFI (Toronto Animation Arts Festival International) is in its third year. The four day festival includes screenings, lectures, exhibits, life drawing, workshops, and who knows what else. It’s a visual playground for anyone who loves animation, drawing, comics, or art.

TAAFI’s lectures, or talks, were tempting to attend: “Compelling Character Design,” “Indie Gaming,” “Comedians in Animation,” “State of the Industry,” and lots more.  But we showed up on the last day and spent most of our time walking the exhibits and meeting the artists.

Here’s a list of my favorite artists from TAAFI. All of whom I met, and all of whom were incredibly kind and gracious. All of whom, also, are from or are living in Toronto.

SIDE NOTE: I’m using these pictures without permission. If you’d like me to take it down, just ask! Also, all artist’s websites are linked in their names.

10 Amazing Animation Artists from TAAFI

Bobby Chiu might have been the most famous artist I met that day. He’s worked for Disney, Sony, and Dreamworks on a handful of films. He’s also designed toys and currently teaches at Schoolism.com. His website has a plethora of strange, amazing art (like the one below). It was hard to pick my favorite.

Big_Foot__s_New_Friend_by_bobbychiu

Bobby Chiu

Ally Rom Colthoff is an artist that seems to do a bit of everything. She’s working on an online comic that posts every Monday and Friday. In addition, she also has great landscape paintings, as well as these wonderful, glorious things. She also leads a fun art blog.

Ally Rom Colthoff

Ally Rom Colthoff

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Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Toronto, Canada

Oh my sweet. I sure do love Canada. You know, for a neighboring country to the north, we sure lucked out. They could’ve been jerks. Maybe they would’ve thought maple syrup was dumb; maybe they would’ve specialized primarily in stick figures. I don’t know, I’m spitballing. Luckily, Canadians are incredible.

Megan and I have a rich history with Canada. We honeymooned in Vancouver and White Rock, and we find the memories fond. The vibrant and varying terrain. The food. The traffic ticket mailed to us three weeks later. Well, that wasn’t so great. But that’s another story for another time.

SIDE NOTE: We still don’t know who was driving during the red light ticket. But let’s just say it wasn’t me.

After we moved to Rochester, I looked up a map of the Upstate area and discovered we lived right underneath Toronto, opposite Lake Ontario. Pretty neat. We initially didn’t have time nor the funds to visit. Thankfully, we finally made the time, if only 36 hours.

So, without further adieu, here’s the next edition of Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Toronto.

Touronto

Without traffic, Toronto is about 2.5 hours from Rochester. After passing through Niagara Falls, we headed onto a highway called “Queen Elizabeth Way,” which is about as Canadian a highway name as I could’ve hoped for.

While driving on the Queen E, after shutting off our cell phone data, we remembered our Garmin GPS is a hyper-patriotic robot who refuses to work outside the States. Further, we forgot to withdraw cash, and we were also without tourist maps and city books. After I suffered a thirty-second mini-freakout in my head, chest, and elbows, I discovered the predicament quite refreshing! Unlike New York City, Cleveland, Ithaca, and anywhere in Rochester (where we use Yelp and mobile apps to tell us how to breathe), Megan and I had to rely on our flesh-harddrives (our brains) and our good ol’ fashioned sense of direction to get us around town. Thankfully, Toronto is one of the best laid-out metropolitan cities I’ve ever explored. (more…)

Niagara Falls and the Speaking, Nasty Universe Pt. 2

When we last left our heroes, Kevin was cussing in a stranger’s driveway and angrily kicking rocks; Megan was hiding, due to embarrassment, from inside of their broken car.

(For part one, click here).

TOWtaly

About six hours we waited. Time slowed down, it seemed. We listened to podcasts; we took walks and explored the street; I peed in the bushes. There was one bright spot when a local, older couple offered us both Pepsi. They left though, and soon we were back in the car, having to pee again.

When 5pm struck, we knew the same-day-Toyota-service-possibility went out the window, so we called around for rental vehicles and prayed for a way home.

Enterprise had one left, an SUV, of course, for $108 a day. There was another place in town, a local shop. They charged only $35 a day with three cars left. The caveat? Well, they closed at 5:30pm.

The last we heard, the tow was coming at 5:09pm.

TOWnality

After six hours of sitting in a black car on a hot day—hating and focusing on everything that went wrong and everybody, including ourselves, who let us down—5:15pm struck, and all of a sudden two tow-trucks slowed down and parked next to our broken Prius.

Two tow-trucks at the same time—it was amazing, like something out of the books. Our luck, if even for a second, was finally turning around.

The first guy approached with a look of horror. He was the one we first talked to, who said we could make it to Toyota if we tried. His name was Dan.

“I am SO sorry,” said Dan, “I didn’t know you guys were still here! Your call was cancelled twice; I thought someone gotcha!” His thick Upstate accent broke a smile on my face for the first time in hours. (more…)