Cartoon based on Louisville projects teaches life lessons

Family brings lessons to life using animation
John McKissick (Source: WAVE 3 News)
John McKissick (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A family is putting their experiences growing up in the West End of Louisville into animations.

It's in the basement of a Louisville home that Dinky, Big Mama, Pickles and the rest of the Southwick gang come to life.

Seven years ago John McKissick saw his nieces and nephews watching a cartoon with some less than appropriate language.

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"They're not supposed to be watching that with all the vulgar language and so I decided to make my own for them to learn from," he said.

But he did more than that - he created the cartoon based on his own life, growing in the Southwick Housing Projects in the West End of Louisville.
The characters?

"LJ is me. Based off of me when I was younger," he said.

And the lessons-based on McKinnick's real life too.

"Things like bullying, self esteem, cancer, things like that," he said. "Yea my mother died of cancer a couple of years ago. So it's near and dear to my heart."

McKinnick comes up with a concept, writes a script, does a table read with the cast and has an animator take the cartoon to life.

All his real life lessons then come full circle.

"People thinking growing up in the projects is a bad thing. It's not. You gotta lot of good people that come out of the projects," he said.

So even though the Southwick Housing projects were torn down years ago, the lessons that came from with the projects will live on.

"Raise your head up and stand tall," he said. "There's nothing wrong with being different! That's what makes you you!"

The team is working on Kickstarter campaign to get the show on Cartoon Network, but for now you can find the episodes on YouTube by searching for the Southwick Gang adventures.

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