"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
- Walt Disney

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Finding Michael Hodgson

Michael Hodgson (photo by Jennifer Kellu)
In my quest to conduct interviews and gather research for my inevitable art biography on the late animation artist, and friend, Ron Dias, I uncovered another treasure.  To say that I discovered this treasure on my own would be a lie.  Though Ron is gone, I felt he was right behind me, nudging me towards this hidden gem.

In my interview last week with film and landscape artist, Michael Humphries (Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Lion King), he recommended that I reach out to layout artist, Michael Hodgson.  Hodgson, who is now happily retired from the film business, knew Ron through various animation projects in the 1980's.  Michael Humphries, however, did not have Hodgson's contact information, and my efforts to contact him were all but spent.  Until this past Thursday night... 

Before turning in for bed, I found myself browsing through photos of my 2012 vacation to California's west coast with my wife, Shannon.  While there, we traveled two hours south of San Francisco to finally meet Ron Dias in person at his Marina home.  My contact with Ron prior to then was limited to phone.  Our friendship began when he aided me in conducting research on animation artist, Dick Kelsey, in 2010.  During our 2012 visit to his home, Ron led us on a tour of his personal studio, and permitted me to take as many pictures as I wanted.  As I was looking at these photos on Thursday night, I came across one picturing a shelf in the rear of Ron's studio.  On the shelf were packages Ron was preparing to mail out to fans and friends (which he was known to do).  Out of curiosity, I zoomed in on the mailing label to one of the packages.  To my amazement, it was addressed to none other than, Michael Hodgson, and right above it was his phone number! 

Good ol' Ron!

Given the three hour time difference between me in Pennsylvania and Hodgson in California, I called him then and there that night.  Our brief chat not only led to a 45 minute phone interview yesterday, but a follow-up email from Hodgson sharing the following art he's recently finished for fun (click on each for a larger view):






I found Mr. Hodgson to be not only warm and friendly throughout the interview, but as giving as Ron Dias was when it came to emphasizing his love for animation and art.  We ended our conversation with a promise to keep in touch as my research on Ron unfolds.  Wherever and whenever the biography on Ron is published, I know it will be all the more stronger thanks to Michael Hodgson's generosity and history in animation. 

PS:  Like my new site banner?  The rendering is also by Michael Hodgson and he has generously allowed me to use it.  It's exactly what I was looking for.  Thanks Mike!

5 comments:

Dave said...

Vince, you tracked Ron down like a CSI case! Enjoyed reading about this new and next step in your continuing journey. Love the detail and depth in Ron's art!

Vincent Randle said...

Hey Dave! The art in this post is actually by Michael Hodgson. His art, indeed, is incredibly detailed.

David Cavagnaro said...

I picked up a drawing of his and I wanted to have it checked out to find out more information about it, any ideas where to take it?

Vincent Randle said...

Hi David! Please email me at vincent.randle@comcast.net and we will absolutely arrange something through Mr. Hodgson himself. All the best!

Christian Bocquee said...

Absolutely incredible, a treasure indeed. Thanks so much for sharing these!