Saturday, October 20, 2007

Josh Meador at Bodega Bay

Well, his paintings anyway. Josh Meador, head of the Disney effects department for decades, is no longer with us. But a vast array of his art is on display at the Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery until the end of October.

Josh was one of the favored stable of artists who worked for Walt Disney. Beginning in 1936, he participated in a long list of Disney productions, and worked with other notable Disney artists such as Bennett Bradbury. He is most proud of the water effects in Cinderella, Bambi, and the fire and bubbling mud scenes in the "Rite of Spring" in Fantasia. He also was part of a team winning a special effects Oscar for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Josh and [his wife] Libby were high school sweethearts in Columbus, Mississippi. Both were quite bright. Josh received a nomination to attend the Naval Academy at Annapolis, but turned it down. He wanted to follow his passion and paint. After visiting New York and Pittsburg trying to find the right art school for him, he arrived at the Chicago Art Institute in 1931, the same year Josh and Libby were married. He studied illustration, painting, portraits, and etching. After graduation in 1935, Josh and Libby came to California where Josh applied and went to work for Walt Disney ...

Within four years, Walt put Josh in charge of the studio's rapidly growing effects department, jumping him over the heads of senior artists. (The Naval Academy knew what it was doing, nominating Josh for the Naval Academy.)

Outside of WDP, Josh was an avid landscape painter -- mostly in oils -- until his death in 1965.


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