Grant Munro, affectionately known as “Grantie” to his friends, is as beguiling and entertaining as ever, edging toward his mid-nineties. His sly wit, quick insight and dancer’s sense of rhythm draw us immediately in, giving us just enough of a taste of his artful charm to leave us craving for more. This postcard was created by Grant on a trip to Cuba in 2007. Other ink and watercolour sketches from that trip, along with a sweeping range of drawings, paintings and collages from various moments in his life, can be found in a delightful book called Grant’s Sketches, A Book for Rita (2014). http://www.blurb.ca/b/5341951-grant-s-sketches
Grant has been a live wire in the creative arts since his youth. Born in 1923 in Winnipeg, he was a young artist studying with Group of Seven painter Frank Carmichael when the renowned film animator, Norman McLaren, saw his work and interviewed him for the National Film Board of Canada. That was in 1944, during the war. The rest, as they say, is history. After six months of titling work in the newly-formed Animation Department at the Film Board, Grant proved he had potential as an animator and began collaborating on films and making some of his own. In 1947, he spent a year in Mexico, painting and studying silverwork, before returning to Canada to pursue his work in film. In 1970, the Canadian government sent Grant to Cuba to reorganize the animation department of the Cuban film agency, the ICAIC, where he forged lifelong friendships. He retired from the Film Board in 1988; but luckily for us, he didn’t retire his trusty sketchbook.
Here is a tribute Grant received in 2003 from the Museum of Modern Art, when it presented a retrospective of his film work, entitled Grant Munro Rediscovered:
On the occasion of Grant Munro’s eightieth birthday and the release of a new DVD, Cut-Up: The Films of Grant Munro, the Museum of Modern Art pays tribute to this seminal but under-recognized animator. Working from within the historic Animation Unit of the National Film Board of Canada from 1945 through the early 1970s, Munro directed, produced, shot, edited, and even acted in some of the most significant hand-drawn and pixilated animation ever made. A frequent collaborator with Norman McLaren, Munro brought a wicked wit and sublime grace to the art. “MoMA.org | Film Exhibitions | 2003 | Grant Munro Rediscovered”
The website where you can find Grant’s films (“Cut-up: The Films of Grant Munro”) says it all:
To encounter the work of Grant Munro is to discover an artist of inimitable talent and charm. Whether as animator, documentarian, actor, dancer, editor, cinematographer, or general provocateur, his talent, humor, passion, and all-out goofiness have graced the world of cinema for more than fifty years. He is a combination of Joan Miro, Buster Keaton, Chuck Jones, Gene Kelly and Felix the Cat. There is no one like Grant Munro. http://www.milestonefilms.com/products/cut-up-the-films-of-grant-munro