Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tyrus Wong

He's now a hundred and four years old and still active.

... In 1938, The Walt Disney Studio hired [Tyrus Wong' as an "inbetweener" to draw the frames between the main drawings of the animators. Wong soon learned that the studio was trying to turn Felix Salten's novel Bambi into an animated film. After reading the story, he saw an opportunity to break out of his humdrum job.

"I said, 'Gee, this is all outdoor scenery,' " Wong recalls in a video featured in the museum exhibit. "I said, 'Gee, I'm a landscape painter. This will be great!' "

Inspired by Chinese landscape paintings, he used watercolor and pastels to make sample sketches that evoked forest scenes with simple strokes of color and special attention to light and shadow.

"He visualized the forest as being ethereal," Labrie says. "The sketches were more of an impression of the forest." ...

National Public Radio is profiling Mr. Wong because his exhibition of art (which began at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco) has now moved east to New York.

One facet of Tyrus Wong's vast array of work that is sometimes overlooked: Christmas cards.

I think that's one reason my father and Tyrus W. stayed connected after the Bambi designer departed Disney's. They both created holiday scenes that were sold in boxes of twenty-five. Tyrus moved on to live-action projects at Warner Bros. while Ralph Hulett stayed with animation, but they were both landscape artists who did lots of other things and they remained friends.


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