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CalArts Remembers Cornelius (Corny) Cole

In 1970, Corny designed the socially relevant Oscar winning short 'Is It Always Right To Be Right?' (1970).

Beloved Character Animation instructor, legendary animator, artist and California surfing pioneer Cornelius (Corny) Cole has died at the age of 80.  He will be remembered, at CalArts, as a valued colleague, educator, mentor and friend.

“We were saddened to learn of the passing of Corny Cole yesterday morning,” recalls Dan Hansen, Director of CalArts’ Character Animation Program.  “To the outside world he accomplished many things as an artist and animator, but to the Character Animation Program he was a teacher and friend. During his 15 years of teaching in the program, he was a mentor to countless students and was always happy to help guide them down the twisting path of Character Animation.  Corny and his good friend and fellow teacher Michael Mitchell, who passed away in 2009, were the cornerstones of the program for many years.  Liking and respecting each other greatly, they loved to trade good-natured verbal barbs throughout the day. Together, they believed that Character Animation was first and foremost an art form, not simply a career path, and they imparted this joyous sense of artistic commitment to their students.”

“Corny was a great human being always thinking of the other person. He was one of the most talented, unselfish, giving artists I’ve known,” notes Character Animation’s Senior Administrative Coordinator Martha Baxton.  “In addition to his classes during the week, he would give up his Sundays to do a drawing workshop for anyone interested in drawing.  It drew many young artists, not just from the school, but from the industry and around the community. He was a friend and mentor to all the students and they have, throughout the years, come back and thanked him for his help.”

Dean of the School of Film/Video Steve Anker remembers Corny as a “remarkable teacher who inspired hundreds of students through the years at CalArts in ways that few instructors ever do. He was totally dedicated to helping each student find their own voice as artists. His broad experience in animation, drawing and illustration made him especially sensitive to the different needs of his students. Most importantly, Corny was passionately devoted to students staying true to their visions as artists and not allowing themselves to become cogs in the wheel of industry. For him animation was a great art that could only be achieved through a fiercely independent spirit and unique and creative approach. I have rarely encountered such a devoted mentor to developing young people and his presence will be greatly missed."

An exhibition of Corny’s work opens at the Animation Guild on October 7.  For more information go to: http://animationguild.org/gallery-839/

Read the obituary in Cartoon Brew: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/animators/corny-cole-1930-2011.html

Please send notes of sympathy to:

Character Animation Office
24700 McBean Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355
or email: mbaxton@calarts.edu.

Aug. 11 Update

A scholarship fund has been established in honor of Corny's extraordinary educational legacy to benefit animation students in the School of Film/Video.

Memorial gifts may be made online (note "Corny Cole Scholarship" in the special instructions box) or may be sent to:

The Corny Cole Endowed Scholarship Fund
Office of Advancement
24700 McBean Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355

Last edited by cziemba on Aug 11, 2011
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