The Beatles seem to be invading St. Louis once again. This summer Paul McCartney will perform at Busch Stadium, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles's legendary performance at the old stadium. This weekend provides a chance to meet an artist who helped build the group's legacy, Ron Campbell.
“The Beatles fans, they spend their whole life remembering,” said Campbell, who also worked on popular kids cartoons. “Then there’s all the fans of the cartoons; the "Scooby-Doo" fans and all the childhood memories that they have.”
Australian-born Campbell spent eight months animating for the film that would become Yellow Submarine, a film that helped define the Beatles transition from a pop group to psychedelic sonic explorers. Campbell will be at the Clayton Fine Art Gallery Friday through Sunday showing work developed out of that era. Attendees familiar with the film will recognize paintings of the movie’s John, Paul, George, Ringo, the submarine and the villain named The Blue Meanie. Campbell will also do live in-store drawings for people who purchase his work.
Campbell became fascinated with animation when he was exposed to "Tom and Jerry" cartoons as a 7-year-old. In later years he attended art school and quickly began pursuing animation professionally. The animator worked on seminal cartoon shows like "Scooby-Doo" and "Big Blue Marble" in addition to his work on the Beatles’ film and tv series.
“I frequently get people saying things like 'thank you so much for entertaining me as a kid. You were my mother, my aunt, my babysitter,'” said the artist.
The artist and animator's Big Blue Marble show put American children in conversation with kids around the world. According to Campbell some children introduced as "pen pals" through the show continue to write even to this day.
Campbell’s appearance throughout the weekend is just one of numerous Beatles-themed events happening in St. Louis this year. The Saint Louis Ballet performed a celebration of the band’s music for Valentine’s Day and a Beatles touring tribute show will come through the city later this year.
Campbell will be at the Clayton Fine Arts Gallery Friday-Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.