Animation Art: What is it?

Animation Art differs from other forms of modern art because it originally served another purpose. Every drawing or painting was used to make a fraction of a second in an animated cartoon. It starts with storyboards and sketches and ends with very precise drawings and a waterbased paint on a sheet of celluloid. On every original piece of animation art you will find production numbers to connect the image to the exact frame of the film. All have been used and show some wear and tear.
In the early part of the 20th century when animated cartoons were first created the public was shocked and enchanted by the images. Never before in human history did non-existent creatures move as if they were alive. When the first Mickey Mouse cartoon reached Paris it was such a sensation that it had to be shown from early morning until late in the evening.
To make a cartoon thousands and thousands of drawings and paintings are necessary. But celluloid was expensive, so after using the image the 'cells' were usually washed and used again. Most of the drawings were simply thrown away. But from the 1940s it was Walt Disney who started to understand that they had an art form that needed to be preserved.
Art lovers came to realize that although these images were made in large quantities, some of them stood out. There was something special about the 'frozen moment' of a single cell. While most cells and drawings were uninteresting and only had a use in a fast moving cartoon, some cells seem to have an artistic quality on their own. A single celluloid or drawing could be much more than part of a sequence of movement. If we look carefully at each frame of a film, we can see the talent of the artists. We mustn't forget that each single drawing and cell was made by an individual artist. So even a dreadful animation movie might have a wonderful, emotional single celluloid of great quality. And every cell and every drawing is utterly unique. You will not find another one anywhere in the world. Nowadays almost all animation is done by computers so no original paintings on celluloid exist anymore. Sometimes the first sketches are still made by artists. That means original animation production art will become rare.
For the first time AnimationNation brings the most beautiful and interesting cells and drawings to Rotterdam. At least three times a year AnimationNation organizes special exhibitions. Animation art is collected all over the world, but in western Europe it is still a mostly undiscovered art form.