Sunday, January 06, 2013

Animation Subset

Twenty years ago, when hand-drawn animation was skyrocketing at the box office, hand-drawn cels were a nice little niche market where tidy sums could be made. Then it crashed and burned. But now?

... [T]he market for animation art keeps bouncing back.

Since animation studios sold a glut of reprints in the mid-1990s, prices for hand-drawn animation cels—celluloid squares inked with characters—have been weak. Lately, however, the market has strengthened, spurring more sales by auction houses this winter.

"The market was dormant for so long, so now people are coming out of the woodwork with great collections," says Joseph Maddalena, president of Profiles in History auction house in Calabasas, Calif., which began holding auctions of animation art two years ago. ...

Theatrical hand-drawn animation has been left for dead, but not the production pieces that are again collectibles.

Funny thing, but the things that upended the market two decades ago were the studio factories that cranked out hand-painted cels to meet the (then) insatiable demand.

And TAG represented some of the work.

Disney had a stripped-down cel-paintg department on its main lot, in the same rooms where production work had taken place years before, cranking out sets of "Snow White" cels, "Sleeping Beauty" set-ups, and "Beauty and the Beast" collectibles (among others.) (And "B and B" never had production cels to start with. When made, the picture had been painted digitally.)

The flood of freshly-created cels ultimately tanked demand, and prices plummeted. And the union-repped department of cel painters was disbanded. I could see the down-sizing coming, but I was still sorry when it happened.


Jake Walters said...

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