Sunday, November 4, 2007

Rodney Alan Greenblat - PUFFY's original artist is having a show

A lot of long-time PUFFY fans probably recognize the cheerful and fun early PUFFY artwork, with the little caricatures of Ami and Yumi that became almost ubiquitous throughout Japanese society and even appeared on soft drink cans in their home country. This artwork defined PUFFY's image from 1996 through at least 2000, and it gave everything they did a unified theme.

Some fans may even know the artist, but a lot of you probably don't. You can see Yumi meeting him (apparently for the first time) in Run! Puffy! Run! here:

Incidentally, think the way she looked here ↑ was the inspiration for anything? ↓↓↓

Anyway, as you can see above, the artist's name is Rodney Alan Greenblat, and he is more than just PUFFY's image-maker. As his name implies, he is American - though he has worked with other Japanese clients in the past, including NTT DoCoMo, Family Mart and Sony Computer Entertainment International. He's the artist responsible for the look of "Parappa the Rapper", for any gamers out there. He's not strictly a commercial artist either, though - he's a fine artist first and foremost, working mainly in watercolor on paper but also doing sculpture, drawings and ceramics.

Rodney runs a web site where he both showcases and sells his artwork. He actually still has some rare PUFFY merchandise listed there, although all that seems to still be available is one keychain. (The one I've got pictured above, probably.) Incidentally, I contacted him through his web site just asking out of curiosity why he stopped doing PUFFY's artwork. He replied quickly, and diplomatically told me that it was (PUFFY manager) Kaz's decision - we all know they went through an image makeover in the early part of this decade. He says he remains on good terms with the girls and would be happy to work with them in the future.

You can own a piece of his original hand-painted artwork yourself, either by buying it through his web site or by attending one of his shows. I guess my email to him triggered my inclusion on his mailing list, and just this week I received a notice of a new show he's got coming up. Here is a reprint of the email if you happen to be in the area:

Dear Friends,
Here is an early announcement for my show at BCB gallery in Hudson, NY, opening December 1st. The show opens on the same night as Hudson's "Winter Walk" an annual event when the shops and galleries stay open late for holiday shopping. Includes hot cider and a fireworks show. Dress warmly! Yours, Rodney

FREE WHEEL
An exhibition of watercolors and sculpture by

Rodney Alan Greenblat

BCB ART - 116 Warren Street, Hudson New York 12534 (518-828-4539)
December 1, 2007 - January 13, 2008

Opening Reception Saturday, December 1st 6-8pm

Gallery Hours: Friday-Sunday 12-6pm and by appointment
Preview all the works here: http://www.whimsyload.com/rgallery.html (coming soon)
http://www.bcbart.com/

I'm seriously considering going myself - though I gotta admit, the prices are a little rich for me. But I might just hit the show to see what's going on, and I'd love to meet Rodney himself.

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