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SRQ DAILY Jun 18, 2015

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"I was inspired by real people in my life and the dynamics of people who are so different but somehow work things out."

- Michelle Kwon, Computer Animator

[Film]  Kwon and Bidinger Win Animation Award
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Ringling College of Art and Design alumni continue to make waves in the world of computer animation, with graduates Michelle Kwon and Michael Bidinger winning “Best Computer Animated Short” at the 42nd Annual SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival in Los Angeles with their animated senior thesis film Jinxy Jenkins and Lucky Lou.

With a style and palette reminiscent of the animation titan Pixar Studios (which hired Bidinger post-graduation), the short follows the afternoon adventures of the interminably unfortunate Jenkins, downtrodden by Greek myth levels of rotten luck, and the effervescent Lou, seemingly touched by the hand of Lady Luck herself, as they tumble and soar through the colorful and chaotic streets of an animated San Francisco. With nary a frame wasted, it’s a barrage of visual gags with an attention to detail one expects from a major Hollywood studio.

“I thought it’d be interesting to explore two very opposite characters in how they would interact and even balance each other out,” said Kwon, currently in LA where she works as a 3D generalist for entertainment studio JibJab Media. “I was inspired by real people in my life and the dynamics of people who are so different but somehow work things out.”

With six months of pre-production, storyboarding and designing characters and such, and then a full year of animation proper, Kwon said she and Bidinger had plenty of time to bring the finished product to their standards. “We split the responsibilities 50/50, with each focused more on different parts,” said Kwon, “But we both touched film in all aspects.” Kwon took a leading role in art direction and the look for the film, while Bidinger helmed technical aspects, particularly character movement, she said.

“I’ve always drawn and I wanted to do it as a living,” said Kwon, when asked about her choice to pursue animation. “I thought animation was cool and a practical way of implementing artistic skills and making a career.” As for her time at Ringling College, “It definitely helped,” said Kwon. “The biggest thing is the environment and being surrounded by talented artists all the time.”

Hard at work for JibJab, Kwon has ideas for her own side projects and she looks forward to SIGGRAPH in August, but for now, “I’m just taking it easy.” Asked about future collaborations with Bidinger, she said nothing’s planned, but she’s open. “Perhaps,” she says. “Maybe.” 

[Recognition]  Thompson Named 2015 FICPA Woman to Watch

Susan O’Neal Thompson, principal at CS&L CPA, has been honored with the statewide “Women to Watch” Award, presented by the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The “Women to Watch” Awards recognize outstanding women leaders in the field of accounting. Thompson was recognized in the “Experienced Leader” category. Thompson’s involvement with local community organizations, in addition to her evident commitment to clients and employees, were cited as distinguishing characteristics that led to her being named an award winner. 


[Recognition]  Super Lawyers, Rising Stars at Blalock Walters

Blalock Walters, one of Sarasota-Manatee County’s largest law firms, announced two of the firm’s attorneys were selected to the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers and Florida Rising Stars lists. Anthony D. Bartirome, principal at the firm and heading Blalock Walters’ Estate Planning and Wealth Preservation practice group in Bradenton and Sarasota, was named a 2015 Super Lawyer, while Michael D. Magidson, a member of the firm’s Business and Health Care practice groups, was selected to the 2015 Florida Rising Stars list. 

Blalock Walters

[Opening]  Galerie Dankneiss Opens Tomorrow

Sarasota welcomes its latest art exhibition space with the arrival of Galerie Dankneiss, opening tomorrow on South Links Avenue. Founded by Ringling Underground alum and recent New College of Florida grad Nathan Wilson, tomorrow’s opening show features work from a diverse group of up and coming artists from SRQ and New College, including Wilson’s geometric sculptures along with paintings by NCF student Belle Duvall and original skateboard deck designs by Gabe Finfrock. The show will also feature jewelry, works on paper and ceramics from a host of other young artists. 

[Exec Moves]  Juengel Joins Art Center Sarasota

Dustin Juengel has been appointed exhibition curator at Art Center Sarasota, where he will help plan and coordinate the center’s exhibition schedule. Born in Leverkusen, Germany, Juengel received his BFA from Ringling College in 2008 and his master's degree in Fine Arts from Chelsea College of Art and Design in London in 2010, returning to Sarasota in 2011. His art has been exhibited in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.  

Art Center Sarasota

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SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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