Chris Robinson (writer)
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Chris Robinson is an Ottawa-based animation, film, literature and sports writer, and artistic director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). He also wrote the screenplay for the Jutra Award and Genie Award-winning animated documentary Lipsett Diaries, directed by Theodore Ushev.
Essays and columns
From 2000-2005, Robinson wrote the "Animation Pimp" column for Animation World Magazine. Partially influenced by gonzo journalism and Beat Generation writers, Pimp columns often fused philosophy, history and memoir in discussing various facets of animation. A selection of columns were later compiled into a book illustrated by German artist and animator, Andreas Hykade.
In September 2012, Animation World Magazine announced that Robinson and Andreas Hykade would soon debut “Breaking Pimp,” a new series of essays and drawings featuring their notorious Animation Pimp character. Like “The Animation Pimp” series (which was published as a book in 2007 by AWN), “Breaking Pimp” will be centered inside the world of animation. However, “Breaking Pimp” will be serialized, each episode venturing forth into the great universal unknown as part of a larger narrative. “Breaking Pimp” will shy away from neither the mainstream nor the subversive, neither the gentle nor the harsh. Only through the sometimes heartless, sometimes cruel, but always interesting dissection of our own demons can we truly appreciate the wonder of it all.
“Breaking Pimp” eventually will be published in book form and released as part of a traveling art exhibition featuring Hykade's drawings.
Robinson has also written on music, film, literature and sports for various international publications including Sight and Sound, Salon.com, Stop Smiling, Ottawa Magazine, and the Ottawa Citizen His monthly literature column, "The Lit Pimp" appeared in the Ottawa Xpress from 2006-2010.
"Robinson draws parallels between his own troubled past and that of epic defenceman Doug Harvey... The result is a biography cum memoir that should find resonance with many Canadians... Robinson reaches a high level of sports biography... creating an exquisite patchwork of sports, personal narrative and manic alcoholism that is tragic in its normalcy." - Janine Armin, Globe and Mail
His other books are: Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy (2003); Ottawa Senators (2004); Unsung Heroes of Animation; Great Left Wingers of Hockey's Golden Era (2006); his collection of articles, The Animation Pimp (2007), introduced by Nick Tosches with illustrations by Andreas Hykade; Canadian Animation: Looking for a Place to Happen (2008); Ballad of a Thin Man: In Search of Ryan Larkin (2008); and Animators Unearthed (2010), a collection of essays on some of the world's most famous independent animators.
His seventh book on animation was the 2010 Japanese Animation: Time out of Mind, which the Ottawa Sun called "a personal, “stream-of-consciousness” journey combing comic book shops and studios looking for past masters and new innovators." Japanese Animation: Time out of Mind inspired a four-part retrospective about Japanese animators Osama Tezuka, Atsushi Wada, Kei Oyama and Koji Yamamura at the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Robinson is currently working on a magic realist memoir called My Balls are Killing Me along with an animation film tentatively titled, The Cookbooks of L. Kreutzer, a novel, Drivin', and a series of essays about lessons not learned called The Power of Suck. Robinson is also working on a book about the classic Canadian hockey animation short film, The Sweater.
Robinson's first attempt at screenwriting was the Jutra and Genie Award-winning animated documentary Lipsett Diaries (2010) directed by Theodore Ushev for the National Film Board of Canada. Robinson and Ushev (along with help from Robinson's son, Jarvis Neall) recently made an iPad film for the National Film Board of Canada called Ball Breaker (2012). Inspired by Buster Keaton and Robinson's testicular cancer experience, this macabre, slapstick short features Robinson as a stage announcer whose attempts to speak are continually interrupted by an assortment of balls. In the end, the balls overtake Robinson. All that remains is his porkpie hat. Ball Breaker was made to promote the NFB's pixstop application. The film debuted at the 2012 Ottawa International Animation Festival is now viewable on YouTube.
In early 2011, Robinson was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After a year of surgeries and chemo treatments, he has now been in remission since January 2012. He is currently writing a graphic novel, My Balls are Killing Me, about the experience. Theodore Ushev is illustrating the book.
Robinson lives in Ottawa with his sons, Jarvis and Harry.
Books by Chris Robinson
- Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy (2003)
- Ottawa Senators (2004)
- Stole This From a Hockey Card: A Philosophy of Hockey, Doug Harvey, Identity & Booze (2005)
- Unsung Heroes of Animation (2006)
- Great Left Wingers of Hockey's Golden Era (2006)
- The Animation Pimp (2007)
- Canadian Animation: Looking for a Place to Happen (2008)
- Ballad of a Thin Man: In Search of Ryan Larkin (2008)
- Love Simple (2009)
- Animators Unearthed (2010)
- Japanese Animation: Time out of Mind (2010)
- Maurice Richard: The Most Amazing Hockey Player Ever (2011)
- My Balls are Killing Me (graphic novel) (upcoming)
- Amid (11 October 2010). "Chris Robinson Talks about the Ottawa Animation Festival" (Interview). Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
- Milligan, Mercedes (6 February 2012). "Meet Mr. Robinson" (Interview). Animation Magazine. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
- Sekerka, John (20 September 2007). "Pimping animation". Ottawa Xpress. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- Armstrong, Denis (19 October 2010). "A love of Japanese animation". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved 4 April 2011.