Animation holds a place in the heart of Craig ‘Spike’ Decker

Craig "Spike" Decker
Craig "Spike" Decker

Craig “Spike” Decker is the owner and CEO of Spike & Mike’s Festival of Animation, which is opening its 30 Year Anniversary Celebration at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla on Feb. 9. His Festival of Animation has premiered works by the directors of “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters Inc.,” and the Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation premiered works by Mike Judge of “Beavis & Butthead,” Matt Stone and Trey Parker of “South Park,” and Bill Plympton, among others.

Decker grew up in the Philippines, Morocco and the streets of Riverside and Berdoo (San Bernadino).

Craig "Spike" Decker

What brought you to La Jolla?

A car. No just kidding. First of all nature. I love the marine life here and the osprey at the Cove. In addition to that, we were doing very long runs of our Spike & Mike Festival of Animation at the Contemporary Art Museum because it is a wonderful venue, a great location with great acoustics. We were screening here so much of the time it made sense to buy a house here.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I would create more cool places to hang out like D.G. Wills bookstore, Burger Lounge, Pannikin and Bernini’s Bistro. I’d also like to see more alternative medicine businesses like Coast Acupuncture and Michael DeFrancisco's meditation center. I’d also like for the grand old trees and historical buildings to stop being removed.

Who or what inspires you?

It would have to be John Lasseter, head of Disney•Pixar Animation Studios. Also, Katie the nurse, and Mooch, the WWII Marine I met who survived the Bataan Death March, as well!

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Billie Holiday, Lenny Bruce, Alfred Hitchcock, Luca Brasi, Hunter S. Thompson, Janis Joplin, Tim Burton, “Weird Al” Yankovic and John Lasseter. Oh wait; I already had dinner with the last three.

What are your five favorite movies of all time? (And what are you reading?)

My favorite films are “Bullitt,” “Spirit of St. Louis,” “Vertigo,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Chinatown.” I’m currently reading “Spike & Mike’s Outlaw Animation.”

What is it that you most dislike?

Pretention. A lot of people don’t realize the volume of talent that Mike and I have premiered at this very venue in La Jolla, as well as creating a genre of animation as an art form. We have premiered works by Tim Burton, John Lasseter (creator of “Toy Story”), Mike Judge, and Nick Park of “Wallace & Gromit,” etc.  —  all iconic, and in some cases, Oscar-winning artists. Hell, some businesses won’t even let us leave our flyers!

What is your most-prized possession?

It was my original Alfred Hitchcock “Vertigo” movie poster from 1958 with Saul Bass art, until it recently burned.

What do you do for fun?

Comic-Con, Annecy Animation Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Esalen Institute … and we are very excited about the 30 year anniversary show we are doing in February through the end of March.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Find something in this life that isn’t mainstream culture. And don’t get up early. Also, I like this famous quote from Hyman Roth talking to Michael Corleone in “Godfather II”: “Good health is the most important thing. More than success, more than money, more than power.”

What would be your dream vacation?

A month in France.



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