Today, I adventured to the Santa Fe Art District in Denver, and the Bitfactory Gallery. Australian artist Ron Campbell exhibited more than five dozen of his creations. If you grew up with a television in your house, or carried a lunchbox to school, you probably have seen his work.
I was drawn to the exhibit – hey, that’s a pun! – by mentions that he was the artist and director for the classic Saturday morning cartoon featuring The Beatles. As Mr. Campbell skillfully drew a custom cartoon for a patron who bought one of his pieces, I took in the vast array of characters that this man created, drew or animated — Scooby Doo and all the gang with the Mystery Machine, The Jetsons, The Rugrats, Big Blue Marble, George of the Jungle, the Smurfs, the Flintstones, Winnie the Pooh and perhaps the most ambitious, The Beatles’ movie, Yellow Submarine.
The man who bought the Jetson’s space car print had a look of sheer delight as Mr. Campbell used a paintbrush and bright blue watercolor to create a miniature Elroy Jetson blasting off with his jet pack.
In the two-room studio, I was blasted off to my childhood, where laying on my belly on the avocado green carpet, I was entertained in half-hour increments by the characters on the wall.
Nostalgia. It’s a powerful evocator.