Friday, December 12, 2008

Bloc Party in stop motion

Bloc Party - One Month Off

I just came across this video from Bloc Party for their new single off of "Intimacy". It combines some retro looking stop motion with classic fables and modern themes to create a pretty interesting juxtaposition.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Started a new one...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Updates: Band Together

I've been pushing through the rigging phase of the short lately. 3 of the characters have body rigs and 2 have face rigs as of right now. I was hoping to get all 4 main characters done by the new year, but that seems like it might not happen now. I am happy with my progress overall though. I finally have some animation to show! Check it out:

And.. if you hadn't noticed already, the film has a logo! Its about time it had one of those..

First Image: "Cloudy"

Cinema Blend just posted the first image from "Cloudy with a chance for Meatballs" the upcoming film from Sony pictures animation. The character designs are interesting. I'm not sure that I like the hands but the faces and bodies look pretty cool and stylized. I cant wait to see them in motion. You can read the full article here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gobelins Student Films

The latest batch of student films from French animation school Gobelins is online now. As usual, its awesome stuff!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Animated News and updates

Hey, I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. I am working away on Night at the Museum 2 right now, but I wanted to take a timeout and update the blog with a few cool animated trailers that are floating around the web right now. I had the chance to see Bolt when it came out last week and I really liked it. Its too bad its not doing better at the box office. I'll be back with some more stuff from Band Together soon. I've been working on it quite a bit lately.


Making of featurette:

Astro Boy:

Also, the Annie Award Nominees have been announced for this year, check em out. Thats it for now!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Band Together: Progress Update

For the last 3 weeks or so I have been working on Band Together almost full time. I've made a lot of great progress during that time. I finished this concept art for the Cave Oasis in the story last week. I've been able to finish all the models, as well as a few rigs. In fact there is only 1 rig that I havent started and that should go fast at this point. I started doing some test animation on the first versions of the rigs and its looking promising. I am shooting to have all of the rigs done, weighted and ready to go by the end of the year so I can concentrate on the visual story telling and animation style starting in 2009. Its been almost a whole year since this project started, and I am enjoying every minute of it now. I can't wait to get these characters moving. More updates soon!


"Oblivious" acrylic on canvas

Finally finished this piece over the weekend after a nice week long vacation. Back to work tomorrow!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Painting for the People

Heres a look at the piece I did last night live in Long Beach at Downbeat Lounge. Oil paint pens and pencil on acrylic:

"Media Mogul" 2008

Heres a few more pictures taken By my good friend Ryann

Monday, October 6, 2008

Live Art: Thursday Oct. 9th in the L.B.C.

This Thursday, come on down to Long Beach and enjoy some good drinks and music while I bust out some original paintings live! Its the first time I have done something like this, so it should be interesting to say the least. One of my good friends DJ Supah C, will be spinning that night. That's worth the trip right there. So come check it out!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Character Model Progress: Elder

I have been working pretty hard on Band Together lately. I actually finished this model a few weeks ago, but decided to keep working on some details. I think its pretty close now. This guy is the Tiwi tribe Elder, and calls the shots for the group. Hence the sweet hat. The textures on him are very preliminary, but the color should be similar in the final version. I have a few more details to add to the rest of the models, (teeth, mouth interiors, ect.) but they are all done. I've moved on to the rigging process and I am currently looking for a good modeler to help with the sets. Then its on to story reels and tweaking. I cant wait!

The original concept art for the Elder

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Z-Trip Obama Mix

DJ Z-Trip ( one of my all -time favorites) just released a mix that he's been doing for different Obama beinifits in the L.A. area. Its free for download here. Enjoy and spread the word!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monthly Find: September

This month's song of interest was a real find. I got to check out the Submarines as they opened for the Brazlian Girls last night at the Wiltern in L.A. Their sound in warm and inviting with a certain playfulness that I can really appreciate. Their song You, Me and the Burgeoise is awesome. And it's my favorite song pick for the month. I should note also that Bloc Party just came out with a new album. You can buy and download it from their site now, before its store release in October. I've already done that and its awesome!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Deadheads is a new horror/comedy tells the tale of a zombie on a quest for long lost love and the answer to mystery of his untimely death. This project is a labor of love for two brothers from the Detroit area, Drew and Brett Pierce. They just put out a teaser for the film and it looks like a lot of fun so far. Check out their website for more about the project. In the meantime, check out the teaser:

DeadHeads Iceman Teaser from Brett Pierce on Vimeo.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A little kick in the pants

I've come across a few really cool animated videos online recently through my constant blogosphere scouring. I thought I would collect them here in one post so they can hopefully do for you the same thing they do for me - give a little motivational kick in the pants.

oktapodi from inkman on Vimeo.

The unnatural history of Wall Street

Nike: Sanders Nieto

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The making of a supervisor

Theres an article over on CGtalk right now about my current supervisor Matt Logue. He is a great guy and fun to work with. Its definitely a good read.

By the way, today marks the one year anniversary for this blog. Time flies eh? Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Viva la Mexico

Originally uploaded by JPVA_LA
So its been a minute since my last post, but this is why: Melissa and I went on a week long cruise down to Mexico. We stopped in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Porta Vallarta. It was great! The week after I got back I had arthroscopic knee surgery to repair some torn cartildge in my right knee. On top of the, Cirque du Freak is into its final weeks of production so that mean crunch time! I'll have some more updates coming soon, but for now, ejoy the pictures I took in Mexico. (This is only a few, alot are still witing to be uploaded.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Monthly Find: August

This month's musical find is coming a bit early but I couldnt wait to share this one. Brazilian Girls came out with a new album recently. The song Good Time reminds me why I love music so much. Its my monthly find.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh yeah, and the Dark Knight...

I went to see the latest Batman installment a couple weeks ago when it opened. I even got to see it in IMAX in Las Vegas with a bunch of friends. I didnt write anything about it because it seems pretty pointless... theres so many reviews and stuff about it online already that it really didnt make sense to do another one. So I'll keep it real short. Lets just say that I liked it. A lot. And the IMAX was awesome. Well worth it. I'm just waiting to see what kind of records it breaks next..

Thursday, July 24, 2008

BBC Olympics Coverage

Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl, Gorillaz) Has created a series of characters to promote the Beijing Olympics on the BBC network. There are some animated sequences as well as desktop applications to promote the games. Hewlett has got to be one of my favorite artists. Hopefully we'll see more of this in the future. Check it out

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monthly Find: July - MGMT

This song is definitely my musical crush for this month. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Watchmen Trailer, a day early

Not sure how long this will be up, so check it quick! Plays in front of the Dark Knight this weekend..

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sketching in Motion

Beast Run from John Vassallo on Vimeo.
Running beastie, done in plastic animation paper. Wish I could get it to loop in vimeo. Oh well.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Remix Artist Collective, Volume I

I found this mix just the other day on Stereogum. Artists include Bloc Party Ra Ra Riot and Chromeo. It represents a growing trend of free online mixtapes which are popping up online. There was a similar mix released by Ratatat a few months ago covering some true gangster rap. These mixes are free to download legally. Viva freedom! You can also listen to it right here if you want:

Here's an excerpt of the liner notes from R.A.C. creator André Allen Anjos:
One of the main reasons I started RAC was out of frustration with the current remix scene. I was just plain bored with the lack of variety at the time. Things have definitely come along just in the past year or so with more and more bands remixing each others songs. I strive to create remixes for music lovers who want to hear the song re-invented, not just re-interpreted and chopped up. I hope people experience the original songs in a different way that not only complements the original, but takes them somewhere else.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Character Model Progress: Chi

He's the Hero of Band Together. Now he's also done being modeled. woot!


Monday, July 7, 2008

A couple new paintings underway...

Watchout for them squids, they just come outta nowhere..

Monday, June 30, 2008

Flickr set from Seattle

Seattle_engagement_08 029
Originally uploaded by JPVA_LA
I finally posted a few of the photos from my recent trip to Seattle. Theres more to come once I get around to uploading the other camera.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Bolt Trailer

The latest animated film from Disney has a new trailer out. Looks pretty cool!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Character Model Progress: Golath

This guy is the antagonist of the story for Band Together. I am still making some progress on the project even though I have'nt posted anything about it lately. Most characters are in the final stages of modeling. I'll be showing more of them pretty soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Radiohead Animation Contest Finalists

Animboom has narrowed the field of contestants down to 13 entries in the Radiohead music video contest. Go check them out and vote until June 30. There are some really nice creative entries in there!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monthly Find, June (birthday edition): Mates of State

There is a great new album out from Mates of State. I am digging the first couple singles. Although they sound a bit like Death Cab, theres a unique flavor to this band that I love. Check out their video for "Get Better" right here:

Oh ya, and its my birthday, woo! Its been a good week.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hulk Opens Strong

I had a chance to check out the film yesterday for the first time on opening night with the whole family. We enjoyed it and critics have been giving it decent reviews. I worked on the University Raid sequence and also a shot in the final fight where Hulk stabs the Abomination. Heres the trailer and some other stuff..

2 o'clock Critics - The Incredible Hulk from RedFence on Vimeo.

Go check it out! I hope everybody enjoys it, we all put alot of work into this one.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Over the weekend I was lucky enough to get engaged to the girl of my dreams during a hike on Orcas Island near Seattle. I am so happy to be sharing my life with Melissa. She is my best friend and makes my life exciting. I am looking forward to doing her laundry for the next 50 years.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bigger Faster Stronger

I had the chance to check out a screening of this documentary film at the Arclight in Hollywood last night. Bigger Fast Stronger takes a hard look at steroid use in American culture and how it affects our self image. Its a very thought provoking and well laid out story told through one family's struggle with the moral and ethical implications of doping. Its a very socially responsible film which allows the viewers to really make up their own minds about the issues presented. It had 100% on rotten tomatoes yesterday when it opened in LA and New York, which is amazing. I really feel like it earned this mark and I'm not just saying that because one of my good high school friends Brian Singbiel was the editor on this project. It really is eye opening. Everyone should check out this film. Here is the trailer:

Big Buck Bunny: Open source aniamtion

*I posted this video a couple weeks ago, but it turned out that it hadn't been officially released yet, so now that it has, I am re-posting. Enjoy!

Big Buck Bunny from Blender Foundation on Vimeo.

This project was created completely with software available for free on the internet. Pretty amazing. The story animation and rendering are top notch. It shows money does not create good movies. For more information about the film, go here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Presto, a Pixar article

There is an awesome article over on about the new Pixar short "Presto", which will play in front of Wall-E in June. It details the creative process that was utilized to bring this slap-stick comedy to life. Its a good read.

Just saw this clip on cartoon brew from Presto. Looks awesome!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Little Aniversary

Memorial Day and the week following it mark a special anniversary for me. During this week, five years ago, I moved to LA from my hometown of Allen Park, Michigan to start my adventure in Hollywood.

Looking back, its been quite a journey. I wasnt even 22 yet and fresh out of college. Starting out, I was living on couches and scraping to get by. I rediscovered my love for animation and found out who I really was.

The best part of it all is the variety of creative, passionate, inspirational, and crazy people I have met along the way. They make my life worthwhile. Even if they are miles away or right next to me at work everyday, I am so happy to have them all in my life. So thank you to all my friends for keeping my life rich.

I am very fortunate to have everything that I have, and continue to take nothing for granted. I cant wait to see what the next five years will bring.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My latest animation reel

Animation Demo Reel from John Vassallo on Vimeo.

My character animtion demo reel for 2008.

Monthly Find:May

This month, I came across this band courtesy of one of my fellow animators at work. Its his brother's band. I really liked both the video and the song so here it is: The Sam Roberts Band, "Them Kids"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

DA da DA DA!! Indy makes his return to the big screen

I went into this movie really excited. I had high hopes. Maybe too high. I mean come on - its been 20 years since this franchise was in theaters, but the impression it left on my generation is profound. Would it live up to my expectations?

I went to see this film on Friday, a day after its long anticipated release. It opened well, everything felt right, but then, it happened. About 3/4 of the way through the picture, after stretching the already loose sense of reality that is the Indiana Jones legacy, Shia LeBouf got snarled in a dense tangle of vines and began to swing from one vine to another, along with a family of monkeys. At that point, I was taken out of the film. Really? He's really swinging like Tarzan above the jungle? And he lands perfectly amidst an ongoing car chase/battle? Give me a break. I had to laugh. At that moment, the movie jumped the shark and the rest of the ocean and never really looked back. The plot continued to get more and more ridiculous and as much as I enjoyed watching it, I dont think I would sit through it again. Or maybe my hopes were a little too high.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wall Painted Animation

This is amazing! Just thinking about how long this must have!

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Go Speed Racer

(image: yahoo movies)

In keeping up with the summer movie season, I went to check out Speed Racer this past weekend, the new anime adaptation from the Wachowski "siblings". Although it got a good deal of bad press and only pulled in a lousy 20 Million at the box office over the weekend, I actually like this movie quite a bit.

The pure imagination that went into this film is what really struck me about it. I was thinking to myself while I was watching it - "This is so impossible. A car could never do that, the G force would be too much, gravity doesnt work like that...etc." But thats what makes it so great! If you are going to go over the top on a movie, go all the way. And thats just what the Wachowskis did. You dont go to see an action adventure movie like this hoping that it could all take place in the real world. Its an escape. A glimpse into another universe.

Speed Racer was fun and worth seeing in the theater if not for the colors, then for experience of the speed and danger that it brings to the screen. Don't take my word for it though, you can watch the first 8 minutes online courtesy of yahoo movies.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Iron Man

I've been pretty excited to see Iron Man for a little while now, at least a couple months. On friday night I finally had the chance to see it with a bunch of friends, and it didnt disappoint! I loved this movie. It was action packed from start to finish, with enough of a storyline to keep it going. I had the feeling that this movie was going to be big. It turns out the it did around 100 million in ticket sales this opening weekend. I can only hope Hulk, Marvel's second movie produced will do as well. The new trailer played in front of Iron man and it got a pretty good response. Its gonna be a great summer movie season with Indiana Jones and Speed Racer coming up as well. I cant wait!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Freaky New Project

After nearly six months on Incredible Hulk, I am moving to a new project and staying with Rhythm and Hues. The new one is called Cirque Du Freak. I chose it because it looks interesting. It should be a fun movie to work on. So far its been great.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Artistic Capitalism

I've never been a big fan of commercials. Our culture is saturated with them. However,the Zune arts campaign rides the thin line between art and advertising in a really interesting way. By commissioning different and unique films loosely related to music and the Zune itself, Microsoft has allowed some cool little spots to be created. Since it ultimately fosters creativity and animation, I decided to post a couple of my favorite ones.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Monthly Find: April

Its coming up on the end of April already, hard to believe. So here is my monthly music discovery. I owe this one to my good friend Marie all the way out in NYC. Everybody Else is from LA and was chosen as the Alternative Press's "100 bands to know in 2007". They have a sound that reminds me of weezer in a good way. So check em out on Purevolume. If you have a suggestion for the monthly find, email me about it!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Wall-E Featurette

Andrew Stanton talks about the character he has created for the latest Pixar film due out this summer. This reminds me of an article that I've read and re-read numerous times on the awn website about Pixar's story process. If you haven't read it yet and you are interested in story development, definitely take a look at it here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Environment Concept art

Here is the first in a series of concept work for Band Together, my short animated film. The story takes place in a jungle gripped by a deep freeze. I have a few more drawings done that I ned to paint up in photoshop, and I will have more time when Hulk finishes next week, so expect to see more soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Monthly Find: March

The monthly find for March is going to be a two-fer. First I wanted to share this video from Yael Naim. Its the song used in the new Macbook air commercial, and if you're like me, you wanted to hear the rest of the song and not just the 15 seconds they play in the commercial. The video is cute, in a whimsical sort of way and doesnt take itself too seriously. I think thats why I like it. Second, check out this song from Matt Costa, former skateboard pro turned singer/songwriter who recently signed to Jack Johnson's music label, Brushfire records. This may be old news to some, but I found it this month, so its my Monthly Find.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Louis Leterrier talks Incredible Hulk: Empire Magazine

The director of the new Incredible Hulk talks about his approach to the super hero flick on Empire magazine's website. Theres a few blow by blow descriptions of the trailer and a few insights as well.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fanboys Unite!! Hulk is coming..

So I can finally share a little bit about the project that has been taking up most of my time lately. I've been working hard on this since December and it will premiere in June. Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Character Concepts

These are some of the first concepts I did for Band Together. The look of the Golath character is still evolving a bit, but its almost done. Some of the models are already started and the concepts for the environment are being developed as well.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

All Points West Lineup Anounced

I didn't get a chance to post this until today, but the lineup for the new goldenvoice concert being dubbed "the east coast coachella" has been announced. It features two nights of Radiohead as a headliner and will take place in New Jersey. I think I'm interested. Anybody else want to go?

Monday, February 25, 2008

...And the winner is:

Sunday brought a whole list of winners. For me the most exciting win of the night was Rhythm's win for Best visual effects in Golden Compass. Even though I didnt work on it, I'm still proud of everyone here that did! Congrats!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Monthly Find: Young Punx

What's this? A new section on the Exposition blog? A monthly reminder that there are some great bands out there waiting to be discovered. I found the Young Punx through a few online articles and their myspace page. They have a pretty interesting electronic mashup sound that borrows from House, D&B, rock and other influences, along with a strange facsination with clowns. Yeah... you just have to check it out.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Anouncing: Band Together

Over the Christmas break this year I had a lot of stories running through my head. Traveling across the country always seems to stoke my imagination. I always get the urge to do a short film and since the time is never going to be just right, I decided to go for it.

The story I wrote during the vacation became "Band Together". This will be the basis for my short. It follows the story of Chi, the smallest in a tribe of tiny little forest creatures. They are being starved by a giant beast which guards the source of their food. Chi has to find the strength to unite the tribe in their quest for food. Their fate depends on trusting one another and to defeat the larger, stronger, hungrier beast.

The drawing above was the first one I did as the story developed in my head. The look I am going for is kind of a "Dr. Seuss" meets "Where the Wild Things Are". I have some concept drawings done for the characters and I will post them once I get the color versions done. I've been really busy at work but I've stayed motivated and will continue to work on this as much as I can.

If there is anyone interested in getting involved with this project, get in contact with me - I could use some modelers and environment artists to get this project moving.