Visiting Pixar

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday June 13th, I had the pleasure of visiting the Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, CA. As I’m sure everyone knows, I am a huge Pixar fan. Visiting the studio was a dream come true. The studio itself is not open to the public in any way. There is no studio tour or visitor’s center. To get beyond the gates you have to be invited. My thanks to the incredibly generous Peter Moxom – Renderman Extraordinaire – for making my visit possible. I am forever grateful.

The studio is beautiful. I’ve seen many pictures and footage of the campus but nothing beats walking onto the grounds in real life. You are, of course, greeted first by the huge Luxo Lamp and ball. I never get tired of seeing this and stopped to take many pictures. Entering the wide open atrium, you are immediately struck by the enormity of this main hall. Filled with lots of natural light, the room is impressive. Reception is a relatively small desk, hardly noticeable among all the other things to look at. There’s the pool tables, a glass case filled with the studio’s awards, concept art from the latest feature, life-size statues of Mike and Sully, Guido and Luigi from CARS and a Lego sculpture of Woody and Buzz. Beyond that, the great hall stretches into the distance. Off of this wide-open concept is a cafeteria, studio store, the famed cereal room, employee mailboxes and a screening room off the back wall. By now, it is legend that the building was purposely designed to bring all studio personnel to a central location. Whether you’re eating lunch or on your way to another office, it’s difficult not to pass through this central hub. The psychological effect of this immediate. Everyone is right there. People aren’t hiding in offices and hallways. It truly makes it feel like a campus rather than am office building.

While much of the animation wing was off limits, I did have the chance to view a gallery of concept art for BRAVE. This was fantastic. Everything you love about the ART OF… books was right there in front of you. Sculptures, fabric studies, color scripts and some incredible drawings and sketches were on display in support of the studio’s latest feature.

My visit to the studio was followed up with a screening of La Luna and BRAVE in 3D in the amazing Presto Theater located in the studio’s newest building. This is probably the perfect way to watch a Pixar film. The image was better than anything I’ve ever seen in a theater and the sound was simply amazing. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit the studio. Everyone I met was so kind and generous with their time. It was an experience I will not soon forget. My thanks to Peter Moxom, Catherine Hicks, Andrew Gordon and Arik Ehle for their time.

 

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Preview: Cars Land and Buena Vista Street – Disney California Adventure

Cars Land Disney California Adventure

Radiator Springs Racers

What a treat! On Sunday I had the pleasure of previewing the new Cars Land and Buena Vista Street at Disney’s California Adventure. I love it all. The changes to the entrance of the park are beautiful. Lots of fun details and gorgeous design have really transformed this key area. It’s a much more pleasant way to enter Disneyland’s second gate. And Cars Land makes for a completely charming addition to this ever-expanding park. Really loved all the attention to detail – even in the ride queue.  I won’t go into any spoilers. There’s plenty of blogs and websites that can give you a much better run down of all the details if you want them. I thought Cars Land was fantastic. We ended up riding Radiator Springs Racers five times! We missed out on all the ‘Cone’ themed snacks but there will be plenty of time for that after the land officially opens on June 15th.

 

Disney California Adventure

Red Car Trolley on display - but not running yet.

Disney’s WonderGround Gallery Opening

Some merchandise from the WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney - Anaheim, CA

On Saturday June 9th, I had the privilege of participating in an artists signing for the grand opening of Disney’s WonderGround Gallery. Housed in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney district in the spot right next to D Street, the new gallery features artist’s interpretations of Disney characters. For this opening exhibition, the theme was the films of Disney•Pixar. I was super-excited to do a piece based on the TOY STORY films. In addition to the Pixar theme, artists were also invited to do a piece celebrating Mickey Mouse. I was fortunate enough to have three pieces in the show – Warm Up Mickey, Steamboat Willie and Hipster Mickey. My images were featured on Giclees and prints in various sizes, a journal, a magnet, a postcard and even a t-shirt. Seeing my work on the huge banners at the front of the store as well as the Gallery bags and stickers was such a treat. It was a dream come true.

I was on hand at the gallery from 3-5 to greet customers and sign my work. What a turn out. It was incredible. I was touched by the response to my work and so grateful to everyone who purchased art and merchandise. I had such fun meeting some really great people and can’t thank them enough for their kind words. Disney fans are the best! And what great company I was in. Meeting the other artists was something I won’t soon forget. Finally got to meet the super-talented Jared Andrew Schorr. What an honor to rub elbows with the likes of Amy Mebberson, Sean D’Anconia, Disney Imagineer Danny Handke, Michelle Romo, Sean Chao, Martin Hsu, Stacey Aoyama and Frank Svengsouk. Such incredibly talented artists and great people. A special thanks to the incredible Noah for taking the time to express such generous encouragement. I even got to shake hands with George A. Kalogridis President, Disneyland Resort.

I really want to thank all of the kind folks at Disney. This project was such a blast and one I won’t soon forget. The gallery was beautiful – everything looked terrific. I can’t thank them enough for everything they did to get this project up and running. Everyone I worked with was so generous and appreciative. I only hope I get the chance to work with them all again.

I also wanted to thank all the family and friends who came out for opening day. I can’t express enough how touched I was by your presence and generosity. I know how busy our lives can be. So the fact that you made the time (not to mention the trek) to be there is really quite amazing. I won’t forget this day and I’m  so glad that so many of you were there to share it with me. I am forever grateful.

A note on the merchandise: Currently, the artwork and merchandise are only available at the WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney district in Anaheim, CA. The artwork is available in a few different formats. Hipster Mickey is available in two sizes as a stretched canvas Giclee Limited to 95. It is also available as a deluxe print, on a journal, a magnet and a postcard. Warm Up Mickey is available in two sizes as a stretched canvas Giclee limited to 95. It is also available as a deluxe print, on a t-shirt and a note card set. Steamboat Willie is available in one size as a stretched canvas giclee limited to 95 and as a deluxe print. Playtime In Andy’s Room is available in one size as a framed canvas Giclee and as a deluxe print.

Check with Disney for more information on availability and pricing of each item. More items might still be coming so make sure to check back. Currently, the merchandise is not available online.

WonderGround Gallery - Downtown Disney

A view of the gallery the night before opening

Signing my Steamboat Willie piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WonderGround Gallery - Downtown Disney Anaheim, CA

The morning of the opening

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wonderground Gallery - Downtown Disney (Anaheim, CA)

A view inside the gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

WonderGround Gallery - Downtown Disney (Anaheim, CA)

It's a packed house.

WonderGround Gallery - Downtown Disney (Anaheim, CA)

Playtime in Andy's Room - my Toy Story piece Framed Giclee Limited Editon (95)

WonderGround Gallery

Some of the merchandise - Note card sets and prints

WonderGround Gallery - Downtown Disney (Anaheim, CA)

Warm Up Mickey - Large Giclee Limited Edition (95)

WonderGround Gallery - Downtown Disney (Anaheim, CA)

iPads allow visitors to view profiles on each artist and their work