Renowned animator brings memories to life through exhibit

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Australian animator Ron Campbell has been fascinating people with his cartoon-making from a very early age.

As a young boy, he enjoyed visiting the movie theater with the other neighborhood children on Saturday afternoons. Because televisions were not widely owned at the time, this was Campbell’s only opportunity to watch cartoons. The pre-film cartoons are what inspired Campbell to become an animator, and he has been bringing his ideas to life ever since.

Although he is best known for his work animating and directing the Saturday morning “The Beatles” cartoon series and animating The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” film, Campbell has also taken part in animating “The Rugrats,” “The Jetsons,” “The Smurfs,” “Scooby Doo,” “Winnie the Pooh” and more. Although Campbell has retired from his animation career, he has been spending his days as of late creating artwork based on his characters, which was recently featured at Jacksonville’s Gallery 725.

“The gallery consists of about 60 pieces of art, all inspired by the cartoons I helped to make,” Campbell said. “It’s a really fun show. The point is to bring back nostalgia for those who watched ‘Yellow Submarine,’ ‘Popeye,’ ‘Scooby Doo’ and more.”

Campbell said many years ago, Saturday mornings were the highlight of the week for many children as it was their only opportunity to indulge in cartoon-watching.  As guests wander through the gallery, they will be struck with memories that bring them right back to their childhood Saturday mornings and remind them of all the shows they used to know and love.

The paintings were on display in late September in Gallery 725. Campbell himself attended the official gallery opening on Sept. 25, and also appeared at the gallery on Sept. 26 and Sept. 27 to greet guests as they experienced the cartoon pop-art within the gallery. Although the exhibit has moved on from Jacksonville Beach, Campbell continues to travel all around the country to cities large and small, sharing his art with communities across the nation.

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