Monday, August 31, 2009


So recently Alexis_from_Animation contacted me about a blog she's starting up which focuses on the animation industry and it's inhabitants. She was kind enough to interview me for her blog;
Meet and greet: Josh "Hat" Lieberman

There were a few question left out because of spacial issues, so thought I'd post the remainder of the interview here.

~How did your family/friends react when you told them about what you wanted to do?
Animation was something I'd already been doing my whole life so I'm not sure it came as a surprise to anyone around me. My notebooks from high school were always filled with more doodles than notes and I basically just carried that practice on with me to higher education. That is of course until I got bored with paying an absurd amount of money for information I could get for free and decided to leave. Plus I didn't have any friends growing up so it was easy explaining it to them.

~What's the most rewarding part of the job?
What's the worst?
On a personal level, the most rewarding part of the job is that I can hardly call it a "job". I get to come up with jokes all say, draw stupid pictures and then just happened to get paid for it, it hardly feels like work.
However in a more altruistic sense, as I grow as an artist and an individual my perception of what it means to actually be an 'artist' continues to evolve. Currently I like to invest a majority of the importance of what I do into inspiring others.
Sometimes I'll just go out and draw cartoons for people on the street as they walk by. The smiles I get in return are pretty rewarding. I've embraced this idea of doing what I love to encourage others to love.
The worst part... the hours. I don't get to work nearly as long as I'd like to.

~Name your three biggest influences.
Number one would have to be singer/songwriter Jason Mraz. He's had as much if not more of an impact on my work than any visual artist. The way he chooses to live his life and the person he chooses to be is incredibly inspiring. His approach to his craft is extraordinary, insisting that his creations are hardly "his" but "ours". It's a remarkably refreshing outlook in such a self centered industry as "art". He's a good part of the reason I dropped out of school and headed westward to follow my dreams.

Stephen Hillenburg has had a pretty big influence on me as well. Spongebob came out when i was 12 and when I first saw it I think things really clicked for me and I said to myself "That's what I'm going to do." He was also kind enough to personally write me back after I had send him a fan letter with some of my own drawings, which I'm sure at the time were quite crude. That letter still inspires me to this day.

Three would be my mom and my dad, unless that counts as two? Not sure I could pick just one. They're hard work is what allowed me to be able to pursue my passion uninterupted. Without them I wouldn't be here.

~What's your ulitmate goal as an animator/artist?
Direct Space Jam 2 starring Lebron James.

Not much new artowrk I can post yet, but found some even older animation I did. An excerpt from another unfinished project "underground". It was originally supposed to be a feature flash animated film loosely based on some high school friends and me... I think I completed about 4 minutes of animation. I did write the screenplay in its entirety however.



Sunday, August 9, 2009


mmm... Been super busy boarding on Madagascar 3, which is going great, but don't have much new stuff to post.

Thought I'd post an old animation I made. I did this at the end of my sophomore year, right before I dropped out. So I guess that would make this my senior film...?
The assignment was a 10 second turn and react, or something along those lines, but I wanted to make an animated short...

I remember at the time I was pretty into Tashlin, I think it shows.



Sunday, August 2, 2009


I think too often artists put more emphasis on exposure than expression.

There is this preconceived notion that ones work is only worthy when viewed by an audience larger than that of their common community. An idea that one's art is only as impressive as the amount of people who see it.

This obsession with mass acceptance stems mostly from human nature, however when examined from an artistic vantage point seems somewhat misguided.

This infatuation with seeing our name in bright lights can easily blind us, so much so that we lose sight of (or never even come to realize) the fundamental forces behing our creative craft.
Prolonged periods of this acknowledgable concern can often hinder our very ability to perform.

When embracing these assumptions, one begins to defince success as recognition and not execution.

And although there may be countless cases to confirm this theory (success = recognition), there are as many, if not more, examples of individuals who's unglorified existence suggests that quite the opposite also qualifies as an accurate description of success. Take for example Van Gogh, a house hold name who is just as famous for his paintings as he is for his lack of ability to sell them.
Although I'm sure the adage of Van Gogh never selling a single painting is far exaggerated (he probably sold 3 or so, his paintings aren't that bad) it is well documented he made little to no living off of being an artist. And yet today his name rings synonymous with 'painting' and even 'artist'.

One can easily argue you that Van Gogh is "successful", however, he doesn't know that.

This alternative perspective of success only weakens its very definition by proving that both ends of the spectrum can yield the same results. Thus recognition (known or unknown) is ultimately only a side effect of success, and not its core definition.

(A stupid drawing to break up the text. Khan takes birthday's very seriously)

This approach to art is something I've been exploring the past few months as I try to define myself as an artist and an individual. In doing so I've embraced a new understanding of being an artist, simply put; inspire.

I do what I do to inspire others. To have a positive impact on their lives.

Now initially it is easy to be overwhelmed by this outlook assuming that 'impact' like recognition is only as powerful as the amount of people you reach. But before jumping to that conclusion one must examine and understand the true nature of inspiration.

When beginning to approach the question you will arrive abruptly at an evident truth, inspiration is impossible to measure, and yet this problem is actually the answer.

When you understand the vastness of inspiration, it becomes evident that numbers are irrelevant. Do not under estimate your ability to impact, whether it be one person or one hundred persons. The quantity is insignificant, the quality infinite.

When dealing with infinite forces it is impossible for any particular snap shot to be more focused than the whole. Inspiring one person is the same as inspiring a hundred people, they are indistinguishable from one and other.

I've always envied musicians, those capable of singing on street corners, whose message impact every passerby. Whether that individual stops to listen, or refuses to engage in eye contact, your words are heard. I admire this kind of immediate inspiration and I began to ask myself, "why can't I do that?"

and then I realized "I can."

I performed covers of my favorite artists, Stephen Hillenburg, Craig McCracken, as I drew characters from Spongebob and Foster's Home for the good people of my community. In doing so i have granted myself an opportunity to have an instant impact on a person's life, creating a brief moment of brightness that I'd like to think can have a lasting affect.

I play music with pictures.
As far as I'm concerned, I've "made it".

you can be as successful as you want to be when you choose to embrace a definition of the word that allows you to be so.

It is impossible to define greatness, not due to its abstract nature, but because it is a fluctuation force with varying degrees of altitude. Each of us are capable of greatness in our own ways.

One can only be as successful as you allow yourself to be.