Nickelodeon and Cal State Fullerton’s Begovich Gallery present “Happy Happy Joy Joy: Art and Artifacts From 25 Years of Creator-Driven Cartoons,” an exhibit that goes behind the scenes and into the minds of the creators who ushered in a new era of groundbreaking animation on TV, beginning in 1991 with the launch of “Doug,” “Rugrats,” “The Ren & Stimpy Show” and continuing on with landmark hits like “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “Hey Arnold!,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and more. The public retrospective exhibition will be open April 16-May 22 at CSUF’s Begovich Gallery. Admission is free.
The “Happy Happy Joy Joy” exhibit documents Nickelodeon’s dedication to creator-driven animation through a trove of rarely seen original sketches, production art and video content. The exhibit also will convey the sense of play and creative spirit inherent to Nickelodeon animation through a number of specially commissioned, larger-than-life installations. Among them are a 6-foot SpongeBob SquarePants sculpture constructed from almost 6,500 pencils — the number of pencils used to storyboard an entire episode; an 8-foot-tall Rube Goldberg-inspired machine that represents the creative process, start to finish; and an immersive space outfitted with a jumbo-sized television and living room furniture created to give visitors the nostalgic feeling of being at home as children.
“California State University, Fullerton’s College of the Arts is grateful for its longstanding relationship with Nickelodeon, as it exemplifies the kind of academic partnership that enables our students to become the next generation of creative arts professionals,” said Dale Merrill, dean of CSUF’s College of the Arts. “As a leader in the field of animation, Nickelodeon has a long-standing commitment to the education of future artists. It is truly an honor to be hosting this 25th anniversary event for Nickelodeon.”
“A Creators’ Talk” panel discussion and Q&A will open the exhibit at 2 p.m. April 16 with landmark animation visionaries Arlene Klasky (“Rugrats”) and Jim Jinkins (“Doug”), Nickelodeon animation pioneer Vanessa Coffey and other creative talent. Moderated by Butch Hartman (“The Fairly OddParents”), the panel will dive into Nickelodeon’s history and its impact on television animation, and how these artists brought their stories to life.
Located at Meng Hall on the Fullerton campus, the panel discussion is open to the public; RSVPs must be made in advance. The exhibit opens 4 – 8 p.m.
Many of Cal State Fullerton’s alumni have found internship and career opportunities with Nickelodeon, which also offers CSUF art students a master class series taught by a team of the network’s artists and talent.
In 2014, CSUF and Nickelodeon presented “Butt What Is Art? A Sanjay and Craig Fine Art Retrospective,” a comprehensive collection of production art that offered a look at the world of television animation.
This August celebrates 25 years of original creator-driven animation for Nickelodeon, marking a significant milestone exemplifying decades of rich history and commitment to bringing fresh innovative content to kids and families around the world. Later in the year, Nickelodeon will open up a 190,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art complex to serve as the West Coast hub for the network, housing the ever-growing number of animated and live-action series, TV movies, and award shows and events seen globally.