Well this is a fine mess the world has gotten into, no? All politics aside, it’s terrifying to imagine our loved ones, or ourselves at risk to Corona virus, so we at ArtInsights love that people are staying home for as long as is necessary to get this pandemic behind us all. It has brought many people together and shown the best of who many of us are, and for that we are lucky.
We are a retail gallery, it’s true, but we’ve always had a strong internet presence, and we’re focusing on our website until the world is safe for all of us again. What does that mean?
Well, in concrete terms, Virginia has requested (legally..so really, demanded) that we limit activity in the brick and mortar store until June 10th. We want all the people we enjoy, love, and/or celebrate to stay safe, so ArtInsights is shifting ALMOST exclusively online. For those who want to pick up art, we can do that, albeit while adhering to the strictest social distancing measures. If anyone buys art online that lives in the DC area (in a house, or in an apartment complex we can drop the art off at the concierge or security desk where there is proof of delivery) we will drop off the art. Any of our clients elsewhere in the US will get free Fedex ground for any unframed art costing more than $200.
Further, we will be having surprise deals, specials, and events as we continue to navigate the time we are all inside, and I’ll be writing blogs with exciting art that will relate to special pieces or collections we’ll have, but they will also educate, so that those who aren’t in a position to buy anything for now will still enjoy reading them!
We have lots of events up our sleeve. Many of them involve multiple companies or artists, so that more people can benefit and feel bolstered. Artists are definitely hurting now. If you’ve seen some of the memes about how we are all enjoying art and it’s keeping us sane, that gives you an idea of just how important these artisans are, and how important it is to support them. For now, you can read about our first event, which celebrates Bob Singer, and offers exclusive art from his estate and directly from the studio. READ ABOUT THIS HISTORIC ARTIST AND HIS ART HERE.
Please, if you have any questions or requests, or art you’re looking for, please let us know. We’d love to find it for you! If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter or to be part of our Facebook gallery page, please do that. Many of these specials will only be 24 hours. You won’t want to miss them!
Retail is challenged right now, no question. But we believe we can weather the storm and come out the other side changed but better. The most important thing is to make sure we are all safe and finding comfort and joy.
We are in this together! Stay sane, find joy, and celebrate art!
When the weirdest, and I’d even say craziest thing that’s happened in our lifetime happened, and a disease started sweeping the world, as an art gallery and small business owner I started thinking about how we’d weather the storm, yes, but I also considered all the artists that we work with who also survive and even thrive on selling their art to fans around the world. I also considered the wholesale companies and representatives I love, (and I don’t love them all. I love several, because they are awesome human beings). How could we help not only ourselves, but the friends and collaborators we’ve known for dozens of years?
First up, I thought of Bob Singer. An old, brilliant, and I’d say formidable 92-year-old codger who has been part of the history of animation since the 50s. I’ve known him for over 10 years, and have had him on several of the ASIFA: Hollywood panels I’ve produced for San Diego Comic-Con. Luckily for me, for ArtInsights, and potentially for fans, we were able to get an exclusive collection of original art by this very important artist.
Bob Singer is an animation artist, character designer, layout and background artist and storyboard director for a wide variety of shows and studios. He wound of choosing art in a sort of random way. He says, “When I was in high school, I loved art and I also loved music. When I found out I had to buy my own instrument and we couldn’t afford it, I said, ‘all right, I’ll become an artist’.”
He graduated in 1955 from the prestigious Art Center College of Design in LA, started working in the television animation industry after spending a few years in the advertising industry. Yes, he was briefly one of those “Mad Men”.
Starting in 1956, he worked for Marvel, U.P.A, Shamus Culhane, and Warner Brothers, and continued to take projects from nearly every studio through his career.
It was at Hanna Barbera at which he spent the better part of 27 years of his animation career. He has worked on most of Hanna Barbera’s best shows, and you’ll see his indelible mark on The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Hong Kong Phooey, Jabberjaw and so many more cartoons that continue to be loved around the world.
He has said that his favorite tv show he has worked on is Scooby Doo. From Bob Singer himself:
“My favorite was far and away Scooby Doo. Those were some great shows that were designed in 68 and released in 69. And after so many years, it’s still running all over the world. I was part of the presentation crew that put it all together, although the characters were designed by the great Iwao Takamoto. My part was running the layouts on the show. I laid out the first Scooby.”
He was responsible for a lot of characters at Hanna Barbera, in part because he was tasked early on to start and run the character animation department. He explains:
“In the early days of animation in the 20s and 30s, most of the animators designed their own characters. At Hanna Barbera, the layout artists would be asked to create the incidental characters, like the cop, or housewife, and props like cars but they got so busy that it became a burden to the layout men, so that’s when we started the character design department. It was started with just two, and soon had 15 artists, doing all the characters for 7 different shows, making model sheets and it helped the studio run more efficiently.
everything was compressed as far as production, so sometimes we would work from a script, and other times from storyboards, but then the storyboard artists wouldn’t know what to use for incidental characters, so we’d do a quick sketch and give it to the artists to create the storyboard. Then we also had to get approval from the producer, so I’d design 3 to 5 different versions of the same character, and they’d pick one for us to draw and do turn-arounds on.”
Bob Singer also has a major soft spot for Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, and the whole Flintstones gang, in part because Wilma reminds him of his wife Harriet, and the babies remind him of his grandchildren.
Singer says he loves drawing them, and it gives him a feeling of connection to his fans who also have families they love, and kids who are either babies now or are all grown up but parents and grandparents remember as little kids.
Many of the original cels we have gotten for this cyber show, which are from the later Flintstones cartoons, (as well as those from Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons), are signed by both Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. We have a lot of pieces that come with original backgrounds. When you purchase any of them, we’ll send the art to Bob Singer, and he’ll be hand-drawing a little image of Fred Flinstone, George Jetson, or Scooby-Doo. For fans and collectors, that’s a lot of cool in one place!
There are so many more images available than what i’ve included in this blog. I’m sure you’d enjoy checking them out!
Basically, Bob Singer has done just about every job that relates to design, character, and background in cartoons.
Here’s a short list of the many times shows on which he’s been a layout artist:
Johnny Bravo (1997-2001)
The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972)
Scooby-Doo Where Are You? (1969-1970)
Space Ghost (1966)
The Man Called Flintstone (1966)
The Secret Squirrel Show (1965)
Mister Magoo (1960)
A Storyboard artist/director or story director:
Droopy: Master Detective (1993-1994)
My Little Pony ’n Friends (1986-1987)
Pink Panther and Sons (1984-1985)
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (1970)
A design supervisor:
The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries (1984)
The Smurfs (1981-1984)
SuperFriends (1984) and Super Friends (1981-1983) World’s Greatest SuperFriends (1979)
The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show (1983)
The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (1980-1981)
Laverne and Shirley in the Army (1981) **(also character designer)
Scooby-Doo and Scrappy Doo (1979-1980)
a character designer:
Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (1977-1980)
Laverne and Shirley in the Army (1981)
Scooby’s Laff-A-Lymics (1977)
The All New Super Friends Hour (1977)
A production designer:
The Scooby-Doo / Dynomutt Hour (1976)-1978
The New Tom and Jerry Show (1975)
The Great Grape Ape Show (1975)
Hong Kong Phooey (1974)
Partridge Family 2200 AD (1974)
Inch High Private Eye (1973)
The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo (1964)
Gay Purr-ee (1962)
a background artist:
The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show (1978)
Mad as a Mars Hare (1963)
Mice Follies (WB Honeymooners Bob McKimson spoof in 1960)
Crocket Doodle Doo (WB Foghorn Leghorn/Eggbert Bob McKimson cartoon in 1960)
A Witch’s Tangled Hair (1959)
The Mouse That Jack Built (1959)
So basically he’s done work on many of your favorite Hanna Barbera shows, (and a number that seem the result of protracted drug trips), and some very classic Warner Brothers cartoons!
It’s a great time to get an original by the historic artist, and the original graphites come directly from him and the cels are signed are remarqued by him with characters that are some of his favorites from his career, means you can be assured he is benefitting from the sale, and you are having an interaction with someone responsible for some of the greatest cartoons ever made. (Scooby-Doo, I’m looking at you!)
We hope you’ll take advantage of this great collection of art, and the exclusive signatures and remarques by this animation legend. If not, we hope you enjoyed learning a bit about animator Bob Singer and the crazy cartoons he had a hand in!
Visit ArtInsights for our special Gallery Opening on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday!
There’s such a storied history for Bill Melendez and his 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. Not only have we seen it generation after generation, it remains one of the most watched specials every holiday season. Yes, it is Christian at its core, but cartoon fans of all faiths (including Atheism) love it and can’t wait to tune in, even as they have it on dvd, downloaded, or whatever newest version is available.
In 2015, I had the great pleasure of going out to LA and meeting a number of animators who had worked on the original special, and we all gathered together to toast the 50th anniversary of a great holiday tradition.
During and around that A Charlie Brown Christmas Anniversary event, I was able to interview several key artists involved, including Lee Mendelson, which you can see HERE. I also got to see some rare Charlie Brown Christmas art from their archives. As a fan myself, I was thrilled. It has been a show my family watches together since as early as I can remember.
This year, as always, I had requests throughout the year for various images from my Peanuts art and Bill Melendez art fans. In my research for great images, I discovered something. (I’m always learning something new..) Somehow I had never learned that Woodstock was named after the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival! That led to a great release from the people that run the animation art program at Bill Melendez Studios that was in honor of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. We got big Woodstocks, little ones, recognizable art from Snoopy Come Home and less identifiable but charming Woodstock art from commercials and other TV specials. We sold a bunch of them. They also stumbled onto a very few images from the original Halloween special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. We sold them in minutes, then begged for more, but they were all gone, of course!
Cut to now… In asking for some images from Charlie Brown Christmas specials or commercials, the Bill Melendez folks found some great, very rare art, and offered me a special show. We’d had such a wonderful year full of collectors embracing these beloved characters, they wanted to show their appreciation. Of course we said yes!
The result is a collection of art spanning from originals by Bill Melendez himself, to A Charlie Brown Christmas art from the book and record, to cels and drawings from I Want a Dog for Christmas as well as Christmas themed commercials to limited editions that had sold out so long ago, I didn’t even have them at our own store or had just opened, so that would date to being released around 1995-2005. a LONG TIME AGO!
The Charlie Brown Christmas art from the record and book is so exciting because all the images were actually used to make the official one and only read-along book for the Peanuts Christmas special.
Someone made my life really easy by posting it in its entirety on YouTube:
I was floored when I saw these for the first time. I mean, we all recognize exactly what’s happening during each image and they’re from 1977!
We also got the official limited editions that had been released decades ago, including this one:
The thing about getting this collection, is we are requested to sell the art for only 10% more or less than their suggested retail. The above piece is $8000, which is exactly what they have as retail, and I haven’t seen any at all online, but even if I did, that piece would have been at a home and being resold. This is coming directly from the studio. It just doesn’t get any more classic than this!
other sold out A Charlie Brown Christmas limited editions include the below images, Tree Lot, Dog Gone Commercial and Snoopy’s Audition, all sold out but we have one of each!
We also have I Want a Dog for Christmas art. That special is a new classic played during the holiday season, and features Rerun, Linus’s brother. By the time they made this cartoon, cels were not being used, so the studio created model cels that are completely done by hand to accompany the original drawings or layouts or color model drawings from the special. My favorite is a great cel and drawings from a scene with Schroeder, Lucy, Snoopy and Woodstock:
The most surprising part of the collection is the original marker and graphite originals by Bill Melendez himself they sent. These have to be released by the Bill Melendez estate. We’ve only had a few in our entire span as dealers of Peanuts art. I truly wish I could keep one myself. They come directly from the source, so fans and collectors who buy them feel like part of the Peanuts family! (and, I’ll say it again and reiterate what everyone I’ve ever interviewed has said. Bill Melendez was the nicest man ever to work in animation.)
There was a show called The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show that ran between 1983 and 1985. We got Snoopy, Lucy, Charlie Brown, Linus, and Sally art from Sally’s Sweet Babboo, the one episode that featured a Christmas play and Lucy and Snoopy skating!
The Charlie Brown animation art oeuvre would not be complete without mentioning the commercials these characters appeared in, and we have charming images as part of this Charlie Brown Christmas animation show!
Have you been to our gallery in Reston Town Center since it’s been renovated? We have a new floor, new windows, a new door, and a new lobby! and of course it’s gorgeous in Reston Town Center at the holidays. Stop by and ask to see our Charlie Brown Christmas specials animation art collection.
Our Charlie Brown Christmas art show will be having an opening weekend on Black Friday, November 29th, Small Business Support Saturday, November 30th, and Christmas Special Sunday, December 1st, with refreshments, art exclusively available that weekend, and special surprises! Call or email us with any questions.
When a future sci-fi classic and an sci-fi-loving art geek collided
ArtInsights Gallery just got the last two original paintings representing Blade Runner created by the campaign artist who designed and painted the official movie poster in 1982. John Alvin is the illustrator for the iconic image used to promote what would become one of the classics of the science fiction film genre. He made only a few paintings featuring the characters from Ridley Scott’s film, and we can now proudly say we have or have sold every one of them. The last full color mixed media images of Blade Runner art are in the gallery right now.
A DUSTIN HOFFMAN DECKARD?
Imagine Dustin Hoffman as Deckard. It’s hard to do, and yet, he was one of the major actors not only considered but attached to the film early on. Also in play were Paul Newman, Al Pacino, and Gene Hackman. When Hoffman left the project over artistic differences, the filmmakers settled on Harrison Ford, who was just finishing Raiders of the Lost Ark at the time.
JOHN ALVIN & RIDLEY SCOTT SHARED A LOVE OF ARCHITECTURE
John Alvin wasn’t the first choice to make the movie poster, either. It’s not that they had someone else in mind, but rather, that the marketing folk had ideas they wanted to use. Alvin was in on an early meeting that included Ridley Scott, at which point he told Scott that he thought the architecture was really important to the poster and needed to be a major feature. Scott stopped what he was doing and saying and turned to John Alvin, asking him to explain what he had in mind. He explained what he had in mind for the poster, which would include Harrison Ford as Deckard, replicants Roy Batty and Rachael, with the architecture and gear featured in the film figured prominently. He would use what he called “heavy light” (what Disney executives would later consider part of “Alvin-izing”) to add a bit of film noir atmosphere. Though ultimately Roy was not part of the key art for the movie poster, the rest of John’s ideas can be seen in the famous finished poster image.
He would revisit the idea of Roy Batty as an essential part of the poster later, when he created an anniversary image that made Roy the dramatic central focus of the art.
Only four full color John Alvin Blade Runner original paintings were painted later representing Blade Runner. All are shown in the book The Art of John Alvin:
JOHN ALVIN DID VERY LITTLE BLADE RUNNER ART
The world and look in Blade Runner was very much influenced by futuristic architecture, as well as what Ridley Scott called, “medieval meets electronics”. He felt validated in this blend of aesthetics in seeing the harbor in Hong Kong, which had both junks and skyscrapers.
BLACK & PEACH WITH A PURPOSE
Of course another major influence was film noir. As Ridley Scott said, “The hunter falls in love with his quarry.” Rachael is not strictly a traditional femme fatale, though Deckard falling in love with her certainly could lead to his downfall. In John Alvin’s Blade Runner movie poster, the image of her hovers just below Deckard’s gun-filled hands, the smoke of her cigarette drawing the eye to both the lead character and the architecture featured in the poster.
FILM NOIR STYLE SAVES THE DAY
Alvin’s Blade Runner poster is as far off model as he could have gone without losing the spirit of these characters. John Alvin himself talked about that. When he was painting Harrison Ford as Deckard, the only source material he had was a postage stamp-sized image of him in costume. He had to get a jewel’s loop and a magnifying glass to draw him. He determined that utilizing the stylized yet gritty representation so popular in film noir movie posters, with their sharply lit faces and angled light, would be a way of problem-solving or working around the lack of good images of the actors in costume. Even the shards of light in the Blade Runner art are an updated take on the way light was used in the early days promoting film noir.
Once the go-ahead from Ridley Scott happened for the John Alvin Blade Runner key art, there were only a few detailed graphites drawn before they chose a finished design. There are often many stages required to get to the final look of a poster. Collectors and fans, no doubt, wish there were more original images. John Alvin wished that, too, since Blade Runner was one of his favorite movies of all time. Though we aren’t 100% sure, we’ve been told people have seen the original art for the poster, and it’s with Ridley Scott. The original art for the 10th anniversary image, which features a much larger Roy Batty in the poster, went at auction over 20 years ago, for almost $100,000, a record for the time.
Once photoshop made traditionally illustrated movie posters largely a thing of the past, John Alvin and his wife Andrea moved to across the country to be nearer to their daughter, who was building a career in theater and around Broadway. He started creating images for the fine art market, and became quickly very much in demand to movie lovers who knew his work and new collectors who were just starting to see the value of illustration art as “real art”, and original movie poster art as an important aspect of film history.
Since George Lucas had been one of his biggest collectors for years, and had commissioned a Star Wars art collection that John entitled, “The Force of Influence”, there were lots of studies for that work that art galleries were able to access and buy to offer to collectors.
JOHN ALVIN REVISITS A CLASSIC
Blade Runner was a different story. It was only because John loved the film so much that he decided to revisit the film and create a few images to develop ideas he wasn’t able to play with when he worked on the Blade Runner movie poster. One of the things he wanted to do was design a poster image that had Roy Batty as the biggest figure in the art, while still incorporating the architecture. The original Blade Runner art we now have in the gallery on display and for sale includes this piece, and as you can see, John was able to use better source material. This allowed the characters to be more on-model. He wove the architecture into Deckard’s jacket, but also used points of light to draw the eye across one of concept artist Syd Mead’s famous “spinner” crafts so recognizable from the film.
There was also interest on John’s part to create image that included Pris, played by Daryl Hannah, who is not only a fan favorite, but represents a strong female character, albeit a replicant known as a “basic pleasure model”. He also loved the character Eldon Tyrell, who he felt expressed the quality of hubris, especially as he was playing God in experimenting with Rachael in creating her, using memories from his own niece, but not telling her she was a replicant. Alvin saw Tyrell as a tragic figure, and wanted to create an image with Tyrell and his “children”, including Roy Batty, his prodigal son. Unfortunately, he never got a chance to finish this graphite in full color.
In addition to the conflict between Deckard and Batty, John believed the fascination Deckard and Rachael held for each other, though doomed from the start, was one of the aspects of the film that held the story together the most. Much like the film noir plots from the earlier 20th century, he felt their magnetism for each other is part of what made good on what he called the “promise of a great experience”. John always said that’s what he strived to deliver as a movie poster artist.
The love scene from which John Alvin got the name for the below original, called “Kiss Me”, is accompanied by music by the great score created by Vangelis, with the tenor sax solo performed by renowned British musician Dick Morrissey. The plaintive notes on the sax express the mix of idealism and fatalism in their relationship. John Alvin, who loved Vangelis’s score and played his hard-to-get copy of it often, strived to capture that duality. He also believed their story was inseparable from the world they lived in, so he wanted that expressed as well in the art.
The Blade Runner art itself is like all of John Alvin’s original art. It has a way of breaking apart close up and coming together when seen from a distance. Seeing the art in person, it is exciting to be able to dissect how he achieved the emotionally intimate quality for which his illustration art is most well-known. He was someone who did not like to paint in front of others, keeping secrets about how he reached his artistic goals, both big and small. He used any and every tool and medium at his disposal to translate what he had in his mind into physical art. It’s a shame there isn’t more Blade Runner art by John Alvin out there. He passed away over 10 years ago, and even with the release of 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, the 1982 film only becomes more of a classic. Though the film didn’t win a lot of awards, cinephiles did have the good sense to give it a Hugo Award fro Best Dramatic Presentation in 1983. Stop by ArtInsights while the art is still in the gallery to see some of John Alvin’s masterwork. If interested in the only original official Blade Runner piece for sale created by the movie poster artist, CHECK THIS PAGE.
Read an interview with Ridley Scott about Blade Runner
Snoopy's best friend, Woodstock, the Peanuts character, was named after the Woodstock Music Festival. In celebration of the 50th anniversary, Sopwith Productions is releasing original art used in the making of the Peanuts cartoons! Read all about it here, and see the rare, great Woodstock production cels and drawings on offer!
We are thrilled to announce Warner Brothers has offered us Hush and Detective 1000, two exclusive limited editions based on the art of Jim Lee, the nicest man in comics, and the co-publisher of DC Comics. Can you believe one of them is a worldwide art exclusive coming out right when they are releasing a feature film??
“HUSH”, is based on the 15th anniversary of HUSH, which is considered one of the best graphic series released, featuring Batman and Catwoman! It was rated #10 of the top 25 Batman graphic novels by IGN. Our art release is purrfectly timed to the release of the new animated film Batman: Hush!
In July 2018, an animated adaptation was announced during San Diego Comic-Con which will feature a “gauntlet of Batman villains including Poison Ivy, Ra’s al Ghul, the Joker, and, of course, the bandage-faced mystery villain Hush”. The film is set to be released next month, on July 20th.
This adaptation of the seminal DC classic tale, Batman: Hush centers on a shadowy new villain known only as Hush, who uses Gotham’s Rogues Gallery to destroy Batman’s crime-fighting career, as well as Bruce Wayne’s personal life – which has already been complicated by a relationship with Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman.
Here is the trailer for this new release:
We are also excited about our worldwide Jim Lee exclusive of the Batman: Detective 1000 fine art giclee, which comes on both paper and canvas. You can’t go into a Barnes and Noble or comic book shop without seeing this spectacular cover, celebrating Batman Detective #1000. The image has every important villain and superhero in Gotham, even Alfred!
The editions are on paper, (numbering 250) and on canvas (only 100 available), and will make a commanding statement in Batcaves all over the world!
This image captures so much action and subtext, you could stare at it for hours and keep seeing new things, which is one mark of a truly great piece of art. Artist Jim Lee brings both darkness and light, creating visual flow from the left bottom corner, up through the characters, but landing on the haunting glow that is Joker’s visage, before drifting off the bottom right with Scarecrow. There’s more genius in this art than some non-comic fans might imagine, as future art historians will prove.
Detective Comics has remained in publication longer than any other DC Comics title, and indeed, the very name DC was taken from its initials! However, since Action Comics was published weekly for a short time in the 1980s, and Detective was bi-monthly for a period in the 1970’s, Action has a higher issue count. Nonetheless, in March 2019, Detective became only the third American comic book in history – after Action and the Four Color series of the 1930s-60s by Dell Comics – to publish a 1,000th issue.
Detective Comics #27 (March 1939 with a printed date of May 1939) featured the first appearance of Batman. That superhero would eventually become the star of the title, the cover logo of which is often written as “Detective Comics featuring Batman”. Because of its significance, issue #27 is widely considered one of the most valuable comic books in existence, with one copy selling for $1,075,000 in a February 2010 auction!
“Batman is one of the most enduring characters in popular culture, and his debut in DETECTIVE COMICS represented a pivotal moment in comics and pioneered a new type of superhero that would appeal to every generation,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio. “Batman continues to have an impact on entertainment worldwide and the 1,000th issue of DETECTIVE COMICS is a testament to the creative genius of Bob Kane and Bill Finger and is a fitting tribute to Batman on his 80th anniversary.”
We are so loving our new, updated gallery space, and it was wonderful of our friends at Warner Brothers official DC art and Jim Lee to celebrate our many years as an animation and film art gallery with us. Come visit or buy these images online!
Michael Barry is a master framer, and has been framing since 1979. Now it’s very clear we do custom framing, because says it on our new sign! Until recently lots of people new to the gallery didn’t realize we do framing. We get it. Our vintage Disney art, Star Wars art, Marvel and DC art, Harry Potter… It’s magically distracting! Now we’ve got a new sign, and more new frames, and moved them so it’s clearer to folks walking by…
You may not know this, but Reston Town Center had been built with the pavilion taking the place of a spot in which, in the 70s, hippies, it is said, had bonfires. There was always great energy here. So we moved into a spot in the lobby of Two Fountain Square, where before us there was only a dirt floor.
It all started about 26 years ago, back when Mobil owned Reston Town Center. They had concerts and lots of other free events. Mobil, it seemed, had money to burn. They promoted all the stores here. There was a marketing budget, and they loved talking about the small businesses here.
The sign for our gallery was approved, after much ado, by both the folks at Mobil, and the Reston Architectural Review Board. But small and succinct, it just said, “ArtInsights”. We put a real hard wood floor in (that was four floors ago..), and got to work selling animation art, which at the time was only just becoming popular as a collectible. There are only a few galleries that specialized in it. But we ALWAYS did framing, and..in point of fact, for no more and often far less than Michael’s down the street from us…Michael had been framing since the 70s, and people followed him from Alexandria, driving from there, DC, Arlington, and parts of Maryland to avail themselves of his talent. Anyone who has framed art knows how important framing can be to interior design.
Over the years, we’ve had renovations, new floors, new walls, and the like, but every time we tried to get a larger, more interesting sign, we came up against whoever owned the center. We never even GOT to the architectural review board. We could just never get anything approved.
This year, to our great pleasure, Boston Properties gave us approval to put a far more interesting, more dramatic sign in front of our gallery! (and it says ART AND FRAMING!)
We also finally got a front door, which is something we’ve wanted a long time. Fresh air is important!
We also got new windows into the lobby, which gives us lots more light and a better view for people walking by.
Everyone who comes in thinks we made the gallery bigger, but it’s just little things like our moving the frames to the front and getting much bigger windows that have made the store feel bigger!
We added a bunch of new frames, and we’re pretty excited about them! Do you have some treasure, or funky thing, or a piece of art you’ve had sitting around that should be on your wall? Now’s a great time to come by and let us partner on some custom framing to beautify it for your home!
We have been grateful that all the major studios and many of our collector friends have given us rare art, special exclusives, and new releases to present in our new space to our clients.
Curious about some of the cool images (Batman, the Avengers, Star Wars, the Beatles, vintage Disney art from Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, Lady and the Tramp, Fantasia, and Mary Poppins, just to name a few..) stop by soon!
In the near future, we’ll be adding some music and special events to our roster, so check back often to see what’s new.
Lesson? There’s always something that renews enthusiasm in small business, no matter what the retail environment. My advice to other small businesses who have been around a long time is find something that will bring both you and your clients joy.
We all saw the colossal success of Avengers: Endgame coming, didn’t we? Maybe how fast it has succeeded took us by surprise, but we all knew a huge blockbuster was coming..so imagine our glee when we scored the exclusive international premiere of Avengers: Invincible, the only official and licensed Avengers: Endgame Marvel art release!
Alex Ross’s Avengers: Invincible has been a piece that collectors have been clamoring for for years. There’s a reason, beyond the characters represented, that the art appeals to Marvel fans on both a visceral and artistic level. In his composition, Alex Ross uses light to move the eye from one side of the image to the other, creating a sort of visual heroism, especially as they are all turned in one direction, facing their future together. The colors he uses, too, are calming: bright without being frenetic, complimentary to each other that creates a subliminal message of teamwork.
The Avengers: Invincible Larger than Life is big enough to be the one dramatic image in anyone’s collection, especially if they are superhero fans, but also this kind of art brings whole families together to smile, geek out, argue who is the best/worst/strongest, as Marvel fans of all ages are inclined to do…(obviously, it’s T’Challa/Black Panther..says the girl with a cat named after him)
People who are new to all things Marvel as of the films remember the time when most of us only knew the names of a few Marvel superheroes, and only from our comic-book loving friends. Kevin Feige has changed that forever, I’d say. Avengers: Invincible features Quicksilver, Thor, Wasp, Hercules, Giant Man, Black Panther, Captain America, Hawkeye, Vision, Scarlet Witch and Iron Man. These characters are becoming household names, along with the actors that play them. How cool that we can have an artistic, authentically comic-book-based image that celebrates them? Museums are buying up originals by Alex Ross for their collections, along with other famous comic book artists that celebrate pop culture, and it’s high time!
There are only 25 in the edition. We love that. It means true fans will wind up with this image. Come by the gallery if you live in the area, so you can see this piece in person. Or you can trust us when we say it’s evocative in a way that will keep on giving to Marvel fans as it sits on the wall looking heroic.
Stay tuned for the next big release we get an exclusive on, it makes us happy to bring these pop culture images into your lives to bring a smile to your days!
In the 30+ years I’ve been selling vintage Disney art, I’ve largely avoided photostat model sheets. I mean, they are copies. They are copies created 50 years or more ago and used by character animators as a roadmap for the artists working under them of how to draw some of the most iconic characters in history, but copies nonetheless. Whenever I’ve been able to score an original graphite model sheet, it’s my absolute favorite thing to sell. They are incredibly rare, and knowing a model sheet with great provenance is in the collection of one of my clients thrills me. So there’s a huge difference about how I have felt about the original vs photostat models.
That being said, over the years, original graphites and concept art have become very expensive, and people have started collecting photostats more and more. Obviously, though, it’s very easy to fake them. I’ve seen countless images on Ebay for sale, often framed, for very little money, but that are also clearly not authentic.
Lately, I’ve become more interested in offering original photostat model sheets. They may be more expensive than they used to be, but they still have great history, and the images are so exciting. Who used them back then? Where did they keep it? (for example, often you see they have pinholes where they were put on the wall for the animators to follow)
I know with absolute certainty that the model sheets I have access to are authentic. This person has only ever bought from animators, and they are super tied into that crowd and have been for decades. Also, the collector who has them has had them for so long that they supersede the advent of giclees on paper, and copiers that could do the sort of fake they make and pass off as authentic nowadays. Granted, they are generally a lot more money than the fakes proliferating the auctions and sites now. It all comes down to how much it matters to you that the piece you’re buying was there then, a part of the history of creating the cartoon for which they were utilized.
With that in mind, there are a few rules you might want to follow when buying photostat model sheets:
Know your seller. I can’t stress this enough. This assumes you’re actually after an original, not a copy of a copy. If all you care about is the image, not the history, it doesn’t matter. If you’re wanting to get a photostat model sheet that was used by animators working on that character, you have to get it from someone who traces everything they ever sell all the way back to Disney. I say this in part because there are many people with integrity who buy pieces that have changed hands many times, and they just base their buys on what the seller is telling them. It’s a bit like “Telephone”. If the seller you bought it from got it from someone who was duped, that’s several layers away from the criminal who has faked model sheets. Stick with highly rated, well-versed dealers if you want a model sheet used by Disney animators.
If you buy from Ebay, or any other auction, limit your spending to under $300. To my mind, this is actually true for any sale on there. If you get a fake for under $300, at least you have an image. For over $300, and it had better be real. You’ll never know if aren’t buying it from someone with a pristine reputation who has been in the animation world a long time.
As always, only buy characters you love. Original model sheets represent a part of that character being brought to the screen. There are literally many millions of fans all over the world who love them. Don’t add something about which you feel mediocre to your collection.
Don’t buy them framed. If you are buying them from someone who will be framing them, look at them unframed first. There are many obvious signs of a fake model sheet, not least of which is the paper it’s printed on.
How much should you spend? I’ve seen vintage photostats from $150 to $650. Beyond that price, you might just save your money and be on the lookout for an original. It will be much more, but as I’m always teaching my clients, it is better to have fewer pieces of higher quality.
We almost always have at least one original graphite model sheet in the gallery. If you’re wanting to get some photostats, we have some available right now, and we can also try to track down ones that show your favorite characters. Here are a few photostats we have at present, but contact us for availability or to have us find specific characters.
Above are two photostat model sheets of Snow White.
These Bambi and Thumper photostat model sheets really capture how they are drawn and their expressions for the animators using them.
Here are two from Dumbo, showing Dumbo and Timothy, two best friends, from all angles.
Two classic secondary characters that are fan favorites from Cinderella, Lucifer and Jaq.
Here are two of the most fragile, beautifully rendered characters in Pinocchio, The Blue Fairy and Cleo, both of whom required translucent paint.
Who can forget the characters that populated The Song of the South? I’m sure plenty of folks at Disney would love you to, but Briar Fox and Briar Bear stick with you like a briar from the patch.
If you’re interested in adding some photostat model sheets (or for that matter, some original graphite ones) to your collection, let us know and we’ll set about finding exactly what you’re after or add it to your wish list!
Premiering live on March 2nd at Mindy Johnson’s Ink and Paint: The Women at Walt Disney’s Animation is a collection of vintage Disney concept and character drawings that will fascinate and excite fans and collectors of Disney art! ArtInsights already has them on-hand, but will be unveiling them at the event, which is from 2-5pm. Come see them in person!
We will be showing and selling drawings from Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, Dumbo, and some fantastic shorts like Canine Caddy, The Picnic, Mickey’s Elephant, and more!
The above drawing from 1932’s Mickey’s Good Deed (also called Mickey’s Lucky Break) has two pegholes, as was the case in the earliest Mickey cartoons. This is an early example of a cartoon where Mickey’s voice was supplied by Walt Disney, and is one of the most charming Christmas-themed Disney shorts.
This concept art piece of a pegasus baby from Fantasia has an official Walt Disney Productions stamp in the corner, usually used as part of the Courvoisier Galleries releases!
This wonderful original production drawing of Mickey from Fantasia has a perfect expression of the trouble-making apprentice, and some great notes and extras on it!
See the Sorcerer’s Apprentice section of Fantasia here:
When Mindy does her presentation, she’ll take you through the exciting and historic elements of some of these drawings, like the color key notes on the Geppetto from Pinocchio, the influence of women on the work created for Fantasia, and how the history of women in animation plays an important role in your favorite classic Mickey cartoons from the early 1930s!
This original drawing of the Queen from Snow White is not only exquisite, it also shows the complexity of creating images for animation. Disney envisioned the character as a mix of Lady Macbeth and the Big Bad Wolf. She is the first character to ever speak in a Disney feature film, and the first character to die in one, as well. In this drawing, you can see her reflection in the mirror, a close-up of her face, as well as the drama of her costume. The screen cap next to the drawing shows what was finally put onscreen as part of the film. The notes about the production and scene, as well as the notes near her face are just the sort of special additions fans and aficionados are looking for their collections!
In all the time I’ve been selling and writing about animation, I’ve only seen a handful of graphites from Night on Bald Mountain that I could trace back to the studio. A friend of mine has one of the only cels of Chernabog in existence, and wow is it a beaut! The character was animated by Bill Tytla, who had meant to be inspired by the poses of Bela Lugosi, who had been brought in for visual reference. Instead, he used Night on Bald Mountain director Wilfred Jackson’s shirtless poses to create the images he needed.
Both images from Dumbo have added notes and color as part of their drawings. The film won an Oscar for Best Original Score. For folks who love both Dumbo and Lilo and Stitch, they do have something in common. Both used watercolor backgrounds extensively as part of their artistic aesthetic.
We hope any who are interested in great original art from Walt Disney that carries significant historical significance will contact us about acquiring these lovelies. Remember that these images are subject to availability, so check with us! Meanwhile, we hope to see you this Saturday between 2-5pm!
When Mindy Johnson started out writing her book Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, her plan was to make a compact little tome that celebrated what many thought must have been a very small percentage of those in the Disney’s workforce responsible for the experimentation and advancements for which the animation studio is known. After, as Alice might do, “going down the rabbit hole” of research and discovery, Johnson wound up writing a book with quite a bit of heft, at 384 pages and sized at 10 x 2 x 13 inches.
We were curious, since Mindy is coming for a lecture and book signing, to get a few thoughts from her on what she discovered early in the course of her research. Of course she’ll be talking about it all in greater length when she’s here in the gallery, but we figured our friends all across the globe might enjoy knowing what got her so curious about the subject.
5 THINGS THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU ABOUT THE HISTORY OF DISNEY ANIMATION:
1. SO MANY WOMEN!
“Most books out there would lead you to think there were only a handful of women animators or artists who contributed to Disney’s animation, but it turns out there were thousands of women whose remarkable artistry inspired, defined and contributed to Disney’s classic animated titles.”
2. MEN INKED! MEN PAINTED!
“We’ve been lead to believe that it was only women who did the inking & painting on these films, but men were involved at various points throughout the history of Disney Animation.”
3. SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST LINES
“People thought Inkers were simply tracing the pencil drawings of the animators, but truthfully, Inkers are translating the line with tapered starts & stops, and specifically defined line widths for each character and scene — very calligraphic!”
4. THEN, NOW AND FOREVER
“Women were at the forefront of the various technologies that advanced animation – xerography and Digital technology.”
5. IMAGINE THOSE PICTURES OF ROSE FROM TITANIC, ONLY IN ANIMATION…
“Many remarkable women worked within Disney Animation whose accomplishments went far beyond animation – including several record-breaking pilots and ‘firsts’ within aviation, a world renowned opera star, and the founder of an international club for tall people!”
ArtInsights is celebrating Women’s History Month with a signing of the book Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney Animation and a lecture from the author, leading historian on women in animation and film, Mindy Johnson. Accompanying the event, which is from 2 to 5pm, will be the premiere of a collection of vintage animation, as well as illustration art by famed Disney concept artist Lorelay Bove, who has contributed images for Johnson’s upcoming release Pencils, Pens, & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation. Scrawl Books (our indie bookstore neighbor in Reston Town Center) will be partnering with ArtInsights for book sales, and refreshments will be served. Entrance is free, but RSVPs have first priority. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ArtInsights at 703-478-0778 to secure your spot!
About Ink & Paint:
From the earliest origins of animated imagery, the colorful link between paper and screen was created by legions of female artists working on the slick surface of celluloid sheets. With calligraphic precision and Rembrandt-esque mastery, these women painstakingly brought pencil drawings to vibrant, dimensional life. Yet perhaps as a reflection of the transparent canvas they created on, the contributions and history of these animation artists have remained virtually invisible and largely undocumented, until now.
Walt Disney’s pioneering efforts in animation transformed novelty cartoons into visual masterpieces, establishing many “firsts” for women within the entertainment industry along the way. Focusing on talent, Disney sought female story specialists and concept artists to expand the scope and sensibility of his storytelling. Upon establishing the first animation-training program for women, ink pens were traded for pencils as ladies made their way into the male-laden halls of animation. World War II further opened roles traditionally held by men, and women quickly progressed into virtually every discipline within animation production. Disney’s later development of the Xerox process and eventual digital evolution once again placed women at the forefront of technological advancements applied to animated storytelling.
About Pencils, Pens, & Brushes:
Based on Mindy’s critically acclaimed Disney Editions title, Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, this nonfiction picture book is a fun and inspiring look at many of the amazing women who have worked at Disney Animation over the years—from Story Artists, to Animators to Inkers and Painters, all with unique personalities and accomplishments, such as becoming a record-holding pilot, or designing Hollywood Monsters, or creating an international club for tall people!
This timeless treasure features the whimsical and inspiring illustrations of noted Disney artist Lorelay Bové, whose visual development and design artistry defined such animated classics as The Princess and the Frog, Prep & Landing, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia.
About Mindy Johnson:
In her latest landmark book, Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, author Mindy Johnson pulls back the celluloid curtain on the nearly vanished world of ink pens, paintbrushes, pigments, and tea. From the earliest black-and-white Alice Comedies to the advent of CAPS and digital animation, meet the pioneering women who brought hand-rendered animated stories to vibrant, multicolored life at Walt Disney Studios and beyond. Extensively researched with the full support of the entire Walt Disney Studios archival resources, plus a multitude of private collections, firsthand accounts, newly discovered materials, and production documentation, as well as never-before-seen photography and artwork, this essential volume redefines the collective history of animation.
Award-winning author, historian, filmmaker, educator, musician and more, Mindy Johnson’s creative accomplishments reflect the diversity of her talents and experience.
A leading expert on women’s roles in animation and film history, Mindy frequently writes and speaks on early cinema, animation, women’s history, and creativity. Her ongoing research and groundbreaking discoveries continue to cast light on the invisible narrative of women’s presence within the first century of the motion picture industry.
Mindy has produced record-breaking global campaigns, creative content, exhibitions and events for a growing list of clients including: The Walt Disney Company, AMPAS/Oscars.org, WNET/American Masters, The Walt Disney Family Museum, Bing Crosby Enterprises, SiriusXM Radio and Horipro Entertainment.
In addition to her film expertise, literary efforts and consulting, Mindy is also an award-winning playwright, songwriter, composer, and contributing artist on several internationally acclaimed recordings and published compositions. Mindy teaches cinema history, aesthetics and intercultural film within the Los Angeles area, including a first-of-its-kind course on the history of women in animation, based on her ground-breaking book, at CalArts – California Institute of the Arts. See more about her on her website by clicking here.
About Lorelay Bove:
Born in Barcelona, Spain, raised in the principality of Andorra and part of a family full of gifted artists (her father is renowned painter Quim Bove) art has always been a way of life for Lorelay. Educated at the prestigious California Institute for the Arts, a school founded by Walt Disney to foster young creative talent, this exciting young artist has made an impact on the art and animation world almost immediately upon her arrival.
After making her entry into the business as an art intern at Pixar Animation Studios, she quickly transitioned into her current role as a Visual Development Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios.
As a visual development artist for Disney, her conceptual artwork has been extremely influential in the visual direction of films such as ThePrincess and the Frog, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, and Wreck-it Ralph. Lorelay is also known for providing the illustrations for the Little Golden Book The Princess and the Frog title, as well as Toy Story:Ride ’em Cowboy! Her work is also featured on the cover of The Art of Wreck-it Ralph.
Her work is often compared to the work of Disney Legend Mary Blair, although Lorelay confesses that she did not become aware of Ms. Blair’s work until her college years. Her own visual signature and style had already been well established for many years at that point, however, she finds the comparison flattering. “It’s quite a compliment!” she says.
So many changes in Reston Town Center, and this time they are for the better! For one thing, we are excited to hear the award-winning restaurant chain True Food is coming to the center, as is Peet’s Coffee! It will be a while, but we’re excited there’s new blood coming, and it’s fresh, hot, and trendy.
The lobby of our building is getting a complete makeover, and it will be all done at the beginning of April. Of course, our gallery is going to be in a bit of upheaval until then, but ultimately it will be so good! We are looking forward to having much larger, cleaner, more modern windows facing the lobby. You can see the new look below:
While they are doing the work, we’ll be starting to make changes inside and outside the gallery, some of which we’ll want to be a surprise for our clients, but one thing we want to let everyone know is we’ll have lots of new frames- (Come see them! They are SUPER DUPER COOL, and in all styles and sizes!)
They’ll now be across from the new door out to the street, with the table and samples more easily seen from the outside storefront. Our new door out to the street will be the new way into the gallery, but we’ll also have the lobby entrance back at the end of the renovation. Lots of pretty changes will also be happening, but you’ll see them as they develop. Bear with us, stop by and see them in progress, and come celebrate with us when they are all done!
We’ll be having some events in the meantime, and we have a few special collections we’re looking forward to announcing soon.
Some of the exciting announcements for new stores and restaurants in Reston Town Center include:
Andrea Alvin, is known for capturing a moment, a piece of nostalgia, or a remembrance. Her work evokes the feelings that “I remember having that,” or “that was my favorite”…Now she is blending her love of nostalgia and her passion for tolerance with a new series called “Hearts With No H8”.
Her recent designs based on candy hearts, which are now (sadly) nearly impossible to get, have been a great success. Not only do they capture the romance of February’s romantic season, but they capture the sweetness of the first time a childhood crush reciprocated by handing you a candy heart or a paper valentine. Who can forget Sally reciting Elizabeth Barrett Browning from her candy heart in 1975’s “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown”?
Exclusively at ArtInsights, we have Alvin’s Hearts With No H8 images, both the originals and limited editions, just in time to give to your favorite pal or loved one, whether they are an ally or a member of the LGBTQ community, and for every purchase, 20% goes to The Trevor Project, which is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. It’s also
Now more than ever, it’s important to support and celebrate our LGBTQ youth, and help them feel safe, seen, and celebrated. Because:
We have limited editions at $65 each, signed and numbered by Andrea Alvin herself, in an edition of 195. We also have the originals, which are $500, tastefully framed and ready to gift to the most openhearted of your tribe, chosen family, or cherished loved one, (even if that loved one is you!)
We have some other heart candy original paintings, and for any that are sold during the month of February, we will donate a portion of the proceeds to The Trevor Project.
Check out The Trevor Project and see all the amazing work this nonprofit, which is rated 4-stars on Charity Navigator, does!
AND HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO ALL, whether you have a sweetie, are your own sweetie, or both! It’s high time for a little TASTY TOLERANCE!
And just for fun, here’s the cartoon that everyone should see in February:
We were saddened by the passing today of a Broadway, film legend, and certified character Carol Channing, who died at 97.
Known for her raspy singing voice, her huge smile, she is most remembered for her role as Dolly Levi in the musical Hello Dolly, but she was nominated for a Best Supporting Oscar when she brought her sass to the 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie, which starred Mary Tyler Moore. She won a Lifetime Tony Award and was inducted to the American Theater Hall of Fame.
For a new show called Lorelei, in 1973, Channing reprised the role of Lorelei Lee, which she originated in the 1949 play Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The now famous classic film where Marylin Monroe sings Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend was based on the play, and Channing sang it first. Subtitled Gentlemen Still Prefer Blondes, it picked up with Lorelei, now a wealthy widow, setting sail on the SS Ile de France. It proved a popular show, often selling out, but it was more about Channing’s charm and star quality than it was about strong songs or plot, but at 51, she made it work.
John Alvin was hired to create the original play poster for a special charity engagement of Lorelei that happened as they were working out the kinks in the play early on, and he was told she absolutely loved the image he created celebrating her. He was a big fan of her work. He loved strong, engaging women on and off the screen, as anyone who has ever met his wife Andrea would attest.
We spoke to Andrea about the art, and she wrote, “John had graduated from Art Center College of Design a year earlier, and was just starting a freelance illustration career. He met a designer named Anthony Goldschmidt at a trade show, and Anthony had a job that he thought perfect for John. It was a poster for a production of Lorelei starring Carol Channing. John had done one other play poster with Anthony for Dori Previn’s “Mary C. Brown and the Hollywood Sign.”
The technique that John used was based on a series of paintings he did his last semester of Art Center. It was highly influenced by the Art Nouveaux poster artist Alphonse Mucha. He did a very refined drawing and then had a sepia toned print made of it. For this particular image, he used some of the handmade crow quill paper for the background. He then used transparent dyes to paint the image with his airbrush. It is a very subtle but pretty technique. He also designed and hand lettered the title art. “
As an early example of the art of John Alvin, who was already creating beautiful work in his mid-twenties, and as a lasting monument to the talent of Broadway legend Carol Channing, Lorelei certainly fits the (play)bill.
From the first moments of Mary Poppins Returns, there is reference to the genius artistry that was a part of creating the original. The opening titles, which are fanciful paintings which one assumes are concept work used to build the magical nanny’s London, are a mix of art by Oscar-winning concept artist Peter Ellenshaw created in the 60s, and images influenced him created by one of the concept artists who worked on the new release. They speak to the rich colors and evoke an atmosphere redolent with fog, mist, and chimney smoke, that places us squarely in a London of distant memory.
Many fans of the original 1964 Disney live action classic, Mary Poppins, are well aware that film won five Oscars, including a Best Actress win for Julie Andrews, who had been passed over for My Fair Lady, but won the year both films were released against Audrey Hepburn, who had played Eliza Doolittle. The song Chim Chim Cher-ee and the impressive score meant two Oscars for the Sherman brothers, who both literally and figuratively became legends in their own time. Editor Cotton Warburton, who put together many of the wackiest, most beloved family-friendly live action films, including The Happiest Millionaire, The Absent Minded Professor, and The Love Bug, garnered his only Academy Award for Mary Poppins. Artists Eustace Lycett (who worked on some of the best rides at Disneyland), Hamilton Luske (who co-directed Cinderella, Pinocchio, Lady and the Tramp, and a host of other Disney animated features) and matte background painter Peter Ellenshaw, shared an Oscar for Special Effect and Special Visual Effects. Ellenshaw, Andrews, Luske, and the Sherman brothers all became ‘Disney Legends’, an honor bestowed on people who make extraordinary and integral contributions to the Walt Disney Company.
Peter Ellenshaw was already known for his artistry, having been in the film industry since the late 30s. His first project was assisting on 1936’s sci-fi wonder Things To Come. He apprenticed with one of the most successful, renowned matte artists, W. Percy Day. Standouts of films on which he assisted Day are 1940’s The Thief of Bagdad, and 1948’s The Red Shoes. His first film for Disney was Treasure Island, continuing with beloved classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Old Yeller, and Swiss Family Robinson.
Though he lived in the US from 1953, he grew up in England, making him perfect to capture the atmosphere and visual majesty of early 20th century London. For Mary Poppins, Ellenshaw was responsible for the gorgeous matte backgrounds that made up the skylines and rooftops of London.
There is, in his work, the perfect expression of the magic of film and the importance of collaboration in creating a movie with lasting power and beauty. One cannot imagine Mary Poppins without remembering his wonderful scenes of London through which Mary flies, or the rooftops where the chimney sweeps dance. So evocative are these images that when Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall began the task of world building for his new movie, he and his cinematographer Dion Beebe and production designer John Myhre found inspiration from his paintings, even to the point of using his actual concept paintings to bring the audience into the world of London, giving Peter Ellenshaw thanks, and a screen credit. They wanted to get away a bit from the storybook, fantastical look of the first film, but there’s no question that the panoramic views of London used to set mood are heavily influenced by his work.
I never met Peter Ellenshaw, but I visited his studio with his son, Harrison Ellenshaw, and saw huge matte paintings from Mary Poppins and 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. They were spectacular. Harrison Ellenshaw followed in his father’s footsteps and also became a well-regarded concept artist in the film industry, being nominated for an Oscar for his work on The Black Hole. He also worked on Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Tron. and was also Though there are still artists like William Silvers, who is still working in concept art art and creates backgrounds both digitally, and (though rarely) by hand, matte background paintings done by hand are a thing of the past.
The pieces above are available as limited edition giclees on canvas, signed by Peter, who passed away in 2007. It is one case of Disney appreciating an important figure in the history of film and trying to raise awareness of his work, and we at ArtInsights celebrate that and him!
We loved Mary Poppins Returns, and believe many fans of the original will see that Rob Marshall created the film in the spirit of love for not only the books of P.T. Travers, but also the 1964 classic. Now when you see it, you’ll be all the more aware of the Peter Ellenshaw art, and his influence of the look of the new film!
The three images above, by Peter Ellenshaw, are called Practically Perfect, Chimney Sweeps Dance on the Rooftops, and Smoke Staircase, and are available for purchase through ArtInsights. For all art celebrating Mary Poppins available at ArtInsights, GO HERE.
For my interview with Sandy Powell, the costume designer for Mary Poppins Returns (who is already a three-time Oscar winner) read about it on The Credits: GO HERE.
For my review of the film for Cinema Siren, GO HERE.
Movie Lovers Gift Guide from Film Art Gallery ArtInsights Offers Film Fans
Art Celebrating Cinematic Anniversaries and Releases
All By Official Studio Artists
Reston, VA -You’ve seen “alternative posters” and “minimalist posters”, but what about art by the folks who actually helped you fall in love with the movies in the first place? Somebody has to champion them, and that would be you and us! That’s right! A movie lovers gift guide that is all art by the folks who make movies and promote them! Artinsights certainly has perfectly timed for what’s happening in pop culture this holiday season, all with art that is not only officially licensed, but created by studio artists.Steamboat Willie has its 90th anniversary on November 18th, and Yellow Submarine turns 50 on November 13th.Both Disney and Warner Bros. have highly-anticipated tentpole films releasing in December, with Mary Poppins Returns landing in theaters December 19th, and Aquaman swimming to screens on December 14th.ArtInsights Gallery has art representing all these properties, makingholiday gift giving easy for the loved ones of fans who search in vain every year for something special and unusual to make the season bright.Prices range from $150 to a king’s ransom, with several highlighted pieces in the lower range to keep budgets in mind.
Fans of Mickey Mouse and the Beatles have been celebrating all year. Yellow Submarine returned to theaters this summer, and there’s a new graphic novel release of the story.Disney is having what they’re calling the “world’s biggest mouse party”, and have a new exhibit in New York called “Mickey: The True Original Exhibition”.ArtInsights is ready for those with friends and family who are fans, with official art by Alex Ross featuring the Beatles called “The Fab Four “ in a limited edition mini canvas for $150.
Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie reminds Disneyphiles where it all began.For them, the gallery suggests one of two limited editions by highly-collectible Disney artist Tim Rogerson, one a giclee on canvas featuring Mickey through the years called “Mickey’s Creative Journey” priced at $150, the other a hand-signed giclee on paper capturing the character in a grey-toned piece called “Mickey at the Helm” for $350.
Mary Poppins, starring Emily Blunt, directed by Rob Marshall, promises to be a huge hit, especially with fans of the Oscar-winning 1964 classic.The gallery has a limited edition signed by Tim Rogerson called “A Mary Tune”,that shows Mary and her cohorts painted against the sheet music for Feed the Birds, written by the Sherman Brothers, who won an Oscar and Grammy for Mary Poppins. It is priced at $495.Also offered, for the fans who have everything, is art by matte background painter Peter Ellenshaw, who, indeed won an Oscar for his work on the film. “Practically Perfect”, which is signed by Ellenshaw, who passed away in 2007, is $1100, and would be a highlight of any Disney film fan’s collection.
For Aquaman, the gallery has an image created by famed DC and Justice League Unlimited animation director Bruce Timm, which includes not only Aquaman, but many of the members of the Justice League, including Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, all of whom have been making news in live action studio news this year, called “Guardians of Justice”. Also suggested is a giclee on canvas by DC comic book cover artist Alex Ross that features Aquaman with the lead members of the Justice League called “JLA”.Both retail for $150.
There are a number of other pieces corresponding to film art news, including art from Pinocchio, which was recently announced as a property Guillermo Del Toro will reinterpret with a new stop-motion film. Whether purists strictly stick with the original Harry Potter series, or love the newest releases written by Rowling, art from the Harry Potter book and film series is alway popular, and coincides withFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.Many are created by Stuart Craig, the production designer for all the Harry Potter movies as well as the new Fantastic Beast series.
There are a number of images by Star Wars production artists, including the limited edition “The Cold of Hoth” by John Alvin, an exclusive giclee on paper for $150 from everyone’s favorite film in the saga, as well as images representing DC and Marvel characters.Of course, there is a veritable parade of Disney princesses represented in art, which is perfectly timed with the release of Ralph Breaks The Internet, in which the Disney princesses figure prominently, (including the use of the voices from the original feature films!)You can find all these options on the gallery’s new blog.See the bottom of the press release for links or contact the gallery for more information. Images of available art sent immediately upon request.
Since 1994, representing a wide range of film and animation art at the gallery in Reston Town Center, ArtInsights focuses on proprietary projects and artist representation relating to the history of animation and film, and the celebration and examination of popular culture, all by artists working in the film industry. With artists like iconic movie poster artist John Alvin, studio concept artists William Silvers and Jim Salvati, and Marvel and DC cover artists Alex Ross, the gallery builds collections of original and limited edition art for their growing worldwide collector base. See the work and read the blog onHYPERLINK “http://www.artinsights.com” www.artinsights.com. For more information about ArtInsights’ 2018 gift guide, go to https://artinsights.com/the-artinsights-2018-gift-guide-celebrates-film-anniversaries-and-new-releases/
RESTON TOWN CENTERPARKING, ARTINSIGHTS HOLIDAY HOURS, GIFT WITH PURCHASE, AND GALLERY UPDATE!
As many of you know, with the changes in parking at Reston Town Center, we have had a number of clients avoid the center and only come on the weekends, so we’ve committed to being open on Sundays, and have seen a lot more of our clients on the weekends. For those of you who have avoided the center altogether…
Now Balducci’s is open across the street!How does that help us apart from the traffic?
Balducci’s offers 2 hours free parking without any apps or parking kiosks.Now, we don’t advocate you parking there and walking out without supporting the place, but who among us won’t find something awesome there? They are all decked out for Christmas, with lots of hard-to-find items and specialty foods all in one place.
I spoke to the head of produce there, and told him his produce was a might pricey.He told me there’s a reason.and it’s a good one!He says they go through the fruits and vegetables multiple times a day to make sure it’s all fresh and perfect, and that he personally checks every box as it comes in off the truck.So that means if you (or your loved one) wants something that isn’t going to go bad in a day or two, or you don’t find has mold on it the minute you get home, Balducci’s is the place!
I go there often for things I can’t find anywhere else, like tarragon mustard, imported chocolates, and swanky cheese. The holidays are the time to splurge on swanky cheese!
Anyway, you can park there and walk across the street any time! Also, of course the parking is free in all the garages Saturdays and Sundays. and if you just need to run in and pick something up or drop off framing, remember you can always park right out front, as it has 15 minutes grace period.If any of our clients ever get a ticket for being there, we get it taken care of, so just pop back in and i’ll take it to the parking staff.
HOLIDAY SPECIAL HOURS:
Black (Panther) Friday, we’ll be at the gallery starting at 8am!
We’ll have cider and snacks to fortify our friends and clients. We will have a few costumed pals out at the tree after the parade for pictures with the kiddos, and we’ll be open to 6pm.
The rest of the holidays, our hours are:
Monday through Friday 10 – 6pm
Saturday 10 – 6pm
Sunday 12 – 5pm
We’ll be open on Christmas eve, from 10-2pm, for last minute pick ups and late shoppers.
We’ll be closed from December 31st to the 2nd of January to celebrate the new year.
Reston Town Center is actually a wonderful place to do your Christmas shopping! Parking is always free in all the garages on the weekends, there are great places to eat, and not only is there not the crush and crowds you find at the traditional malls, it’s also beautifully decorated during the holidays. They’ve gone the extra step this year, as they’ve been doing the last few years, to make it lovely and charming, especially at night, so come visit us.
Remember if you need to plan for coming in outside regular hours, you just need to let us know and we’ll try to arrange it. We are here to help and make the holidays as easy and fun as we can for all.
GIFT WITH PURCHASE!
We are gathering fun and exciting items to give to those who make purchases during the holiday season, so from November 17th through December 31st, you’ll get a little something geeky and art-related with every purchase! What is it? You’ll have to come in to find out, but we know it will make your season a little brighter.
As those of you who saw our newsletter and our gift guide blog might have surmised, we have lots of new art, and the gallery is all decked out in holiday finery, so it’s definitely worth a trip.
What else is happening? We are about to get a door out to the front of the building.After 26 years, we thought it was time! With all the permit headaches, it’s probably going to be finished at the coldest time of the year, but we’re still excited. We won’t be using it during the winter, but we’ll have lots more air and a great feeling of openness when it’s warmer out. We want to be able to be open when we want, including outside the hours that the building doors are locked.We aren’t sure yet how this will effect our hours, but we’ll write again and let you know when we decide.We are imagining Friday or Saturday night events with music and new art releases. We will have an event to celebrate our new door and other special changes to the space in the spring.
ARE YOU ON OUR NEWSLETTER LIST?
We have a newsletter we send out to our clients.We don’t send them very often, but when we have new art, or events, or something cool is happening, we let you know.So it might be bi-monthly? Why don’t you give it a try if you want to keep up with us, read about and see all the latest releases or gallery scoops? Just go to the front page of our website and the popup will show up where you can sign up.Facebook and blogs can only do so much!
It’s the anniversary of the first appearance of Mickey Mouse, which happened in November of 1928.I have always been a fan of Mickey Mouse as a rat, in particular.Ub Iwerks made the awesome black and white Steamboat Willie.He had designed the character after having designed Oswald, a character for which Disney lost control.
Steamboat Willie wasn’t the first Mickey short created (that was Plane Crazy) but was the first widely released. It was the first Disney cartoon with synchronized sound, which is interesting, since Disney’s inspiration for the short was reportedly The Jazz Singer. Steamboat Willie premiered at Universal’s Colony Theater in New York on November 18th, and was an immediate hit. By 1932, there was a fan club, the Mickey Mouse Club had a million members. By 1934, Mickey merchandise brought in $600,000 a year.The financial success of the character really is responsible for building the huge media empire we all know today.It’s true that, as Walt said, “It all started with a mouse.”
Ub Iwerks, who is recognized as one of the most influential men in cartoon history, went on to animate my favorite Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Skeleton Dance.
In 1938, Freddie Moore, the famous animator known for , redesigned Mickey’s body away from looking as much like what Ward Kimball called Mickey’s “rubber hose, round circle” design, or what made when they used squash and stretch on him look so noodle-like.Mickey’s eyes have changed a lot through the years, but Freddie Moore gave him the smaller white eyes with pupils.
That change had a significant effect, I think, on how connected fans became with the character. You can see that change in design by watching 1938’s Brave Little Tailor, and then 1939’s The Pointer, where the changes had taken place, then to, of course, 40’s Fantasia. You can see he also changed the color of his skin from pure white to a pale flesh tone. The expressiveness of his eyes, with the added pupils and eyelids, has a huge impact on his likability, and the huge following for the Sorcerer’s Apprentice short. It is nearly synonymous with Fantasia.As Moore died in 1952, at the age of 41, his influence over the iconic character is an important part of his legacy.
Brave Little Tailer
The Mickey Mouse Club tv show, which started in 1955, brought Mickey back into popularity by bringing him into households every week.However, there were no theatrical shorts featuring Mickey between 1953, with The Simple Things, and 1983’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol.The 1983 featurette was the first time a Mickey cartoon had been nominated for an Oscar since 1948’s Mickey and the Seal.
Even to this day, a large percentage of the sales through consumer products worldwide is derived from Mickey Mouse merchandise.
From our perspective at the gallery, there are a lot of American kids that aren’t fans of Mickey for a whole swath of their teenaged years, unlike Winnie the Pooh.Winnie remains cool, while Mickey goes out of favor until the kids become old enough to have their own children or feel nostalgic about their own childhood.Disney appears to be working to fill that gap by branding the character online and network television in new specials related to the anniversary. On November 4th, there’ll be a program called Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, featuring teen faves like Meghan Trainor and K-Pop powerhouse NCT 127.
We are lucky to have so much official art of Mickey for fans, created by the artists who actually work in the film industry, as well as production art from the Mickey Mouse Club we just got in.He can be such a charmer! Mickey Mouse continues to be a character lots of collectors clamber for, especially any art depicting Sorcerer’s Apprentice, or with his lady love Minnie Mouse!
Are you looking for art for the loved one that loves film and art? Or just looking for something unique that will make you a superhero, a princess, a rock star to your family? We are ready for you!
Artinsights certainly has perfectly timed for what’s happening in pop culture this holiday season, all with art that is not only officially licensed, but created by studio artists.Steamboat Willie has its 90th anniversary on November 18th, and Yellow Submarine turns 50 on November 13th.Both Disney and Warner Bros. have highly-anticipated tentpole films releasing in December, with Mary Poppins Returns landing in theaters December 19th, and Aquaman swimming to screens on December 14th.ArtInsights Gallery has art representing all these properties, makingholiday gift giving easy for the loved ones of fans who search in vain every year for something special and unusual to make the season bright.Prices range from $150 to a king’s ransom, with several highlighted pieces in the lower range to keep budgets in mind. In fact, click below for the page with a selection of dozens of pieces below $250!
Fans of Mickey Mouse and the Beatles have been celebrating all year. Yellow Submarine returned to theaters this summer, and there’s a new graphic novel release of the story.Disney is having what they’re calling the “world’s biggest mouse party”, and have a new exhibit in New York called “Mickey: The True Original Exhibition”.ArtInsights is ready for those with friends and family who are fans, with official art by Alex Ross featuring the Beatles called “The Fab Four “ in a limited edition mini canvas for $150.Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie reminds Disneyphiles where it all began.For them, the gallery suggests one of two limited editions by highly-collectible Disney artist Tim Rogerson, one a giclee on canvas featuring Mickey through the years called “Mickey’s Creative Journey” priced at $150
the other a hand-signed giclee on paper capturing the character in a grey-toned piece called “Mickey at the Helm” for $350.
Mary Poppins, starring Emily Blunt, directed by Rob Marshall, promises to be a huge hit, especially with fans of the Oscar-winning 1964 classic.The gallery has a limited edition signed by Tim Rogerson called “A Mary Tune”,that shows Mary and her cohorts painted against the sheet music for Feed the Birds, written by the Sherman Brothers, who won an Oscar and Grammy for Mary Poppins. It is priced at $495.
Also offered, for the fans who have everything, is art by matte background painter Peter Ellenshaw, who, indeed won an Oscar for his work on the film. “Practically Perfect”, which is signed by Ellenshaw, who passed away in 2007, is $1100, and would be a highlight of any Disney film fan’s collection. Check out all the Mary Poppins by clicking on the picture!
For Aquaman, the gallery has an image created by famed DC and Justice League Unlimited animation director Bruce Timm, which includes not only Aquaman, but many of the members of the Justice League, including Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, all of whom have been making news in live action studio news this year, called “Guardians of Justice”. Also suggested is a giclee on canvas by DC comic book cover artist Alex Ross that features Aquaman with the lead members of the Justice League called “JLA”.Both retail for $150, but hey, see all the Aquaman art by clicking
What about the release of the new animated feature on December 14th called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? Yes, we have art for fans of your friendly neighborhood web spinner.
and of COURSE we have lots of great Marvel images for your superhero-loving loved ones:
There are a number of other pieces corresponding to film art news, including art from Pinocchio, which was recently announced as a property Guillermo Del Toro will reinterpret with a new stop-motion film. Whether purists stick with the original Harry Potter series or love the newest releases written by Rowling, art from the Harry Potter book and film series is alway popular, and coincides withFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.Many are created by Stuart Craig, the production designer for all the Harry Potter movies as well as the new Fantastic Beast series.
There are a number of images by Star Wars production artists, including the limited edition “The Cold of Hoth” by John Alvin, an exclusive giclee on paper for $150 from everyone’s favorite film in the saga.
We also have the latest official images of DC and Marvel characters. Of course, there is a veritable parade of Disney princesses represented in art, which is perfectly timed with the release of Ralph Breaks The Internet, in which there is a wonderful, hilarious scene featuring the classic princesses of Disney with their original voices.
Looking for something truly special and rare? You know we are the official representative for the art of John Alvin, and we’ve added a lot of new art from his family’s collection. Want some of the only original Batman art created for a Batman film? Concept art for Revenge of the Jedi? Blade Runner or E.T. art by the man who created the posters for those classic films? Maybe art from Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin? Look no further.
We also have a number of one-of-a-kind pieces that relate to new releases and anniversaries, like The Grinch, which (STARRING BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH!) releases early November. We have an original graphite from the 1966 Chuck Jones cartoon classic.
Also, November marks the 20th anniversary of the Powerpuff Girls. We have one amazing, awesome production cel with all three lead characters.
Are you a fan of the Fantastic Four?
and OH Hey, we have Warner Bros. and Hanna Barbera cartoon art directly from the studio, too! Below is one half of a two-piece set of Wile E and Road Runner.
Click below to see all the art from both studios!
We have so much more. Contact the gallery for all the special pieces we are getting in for the holidays to make your gift giving fun and easy!
Happy Holidays, everyone, from your pals at ArtInsights.
We are always looking for extremely rare art to offer our clients, but hand-in-hand with that, we are always trying to find ways to promote and expand awareness about the importance of artists.There are so many important figures in the history of animation that fans and enthusiasts know little about, and we want to change that! That’s where Dean Spille comes in…
He is just such a luminary. Dean Spille, concept and background artist for Bill Melendez Productions, is the official background artist for all the Charlie Brown and Peanuts films. Indeed, he is responsible for the color stories, the graphic design, and the finished look of Peanuts TV specials all the way from the beginning.He worked on A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in 1968, and continued to influence these classics all the way to the TV short He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown in 2006. AND WE JUST GOT ART CREATED BY THIS AMAZING ARTIST!!
At first, Bill Melendez, in his desire to give credit to the many contributors on A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dean was listed as doing “graphic blandishment”, which is code for concept artist, background artist, or any other element not yet isolated as deserving of its own credit.He was named as production designer for over 20 shows, shorts, or tv specials between 1977 through 2000, and as often credited as color stylist as well.
A scene from from Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown, which is the inspiration for one of the 3 originals we are offering:
Given that the art Dean created is from his nostalgia and memory, it’s amazing how close this is to what was used in Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown. He certainly has the French village vibe down, not least because he’s lived in France for over 40 years! See his art below:
Inside the animation industry, Dean Spille is widely regarded as one of the most celebrated, talented concept and background artists in history.It’s impossible to extricate the evocative, inventive backgrounds when considering the look of the beloved Charlie Brown TV specials, and they are all thanks to Dean.
Though native to California, he’s been living in France for over 40 years, and is now 92.Imagine my thrill and excitement when we were offered an extremely limited collection of original Peanuts watercolor paintings by this treasured artist of the animation world.We aren’t even sure if we’ll get any more than these three, all of which were created by Dean from his recollections of his contributions over his career with Bill Melendez Productions on the Peanuts cartoons.
Who doesn’t remember the scene with the kids out trick-or-treating from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?
The art Dean Spille created is below. Classic!
If you’re a fan of animation art, Peanuts, or the Charlie Brown specials, these are exceptional, rare originals that represent an essential element of the beloved cartoons.We may have them in-house briefly after selling them, and we’ll post about that on our Facebook page, but in the meantime, as we only have three to sell, contact us soon if interested in any or all of them!We won’t be putting them online for purchase, but rather will sell them to those who contact us, since there only 3 and are one-of-a-kind.
What a wonderful palette Dean created for this scene! The original he created is below, and it may be my favorite. Dig his subjective use of color, and how well it works, or how well we recognize it from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!
We really want to find Snoopy lovers, those who watched the animated specials as kids (or with their kids!), and art aficionados who get excited by the opportunity to have an original by an artist who is so important to animation history!
MORE ABOUT DEAN SPILLE:
In the fifties, Mr. Spille began working with Bill Melendez at Playhouse Pictures, a studio created by innovative artists who made up UPA. Peanuts’ television endorsement of the Ford Falcon, created at Playhouse Pictures, was the beginning of a partnership and friendship that lasted a lifetime for Melendez and Spille. After leaving for Spain in 1963, Dean returned to find that Melendez had created his own studio. Spille worked on the first three specials while teaching design at California State College, Long Beach. Later a sabbatical from teaching took Spille to live and work in a small town in the hills of Provence. Working on “Babar the Elephant” and later “Dick Deadeye”, he also continued working on the Peanuts films, while splitting his time between Los Angeles and France.A definitive move to France was made as an additional project was in the works, the Emmy winning “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Dean Spille was, without question, an integral contributing artist to the success of Bill Melendez Productions, Inc.
Dean’s academic studies began at UCLA where he earned his BA in Cinema, furthering his studies at California State University earning his Master Degree in Fine Art. Dean continued his studies at the Accademia Delle Belle Arte in Florence, Italy and at Kokoshkaschule in Salzburg, Austria. Dean is also a former professor of Art at the California State University, where he taught Graphic Design and Animation. Today, he devotes his time to painting, and sells his traditional imagery throughout Europe, where he is known and celebrated for both his animation and fine art works.
We just discovered we have a few super rare and hard-to-find Peanuts limited editions created for the anniversaries of the Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown TV specials. Given how much we at ArtInsights love all things Snoopy and Charlie Brown, it’s like we got an early Valentine’s Day gift!
What a coincidence. Fans of the beloved Peanuts animated cartoons just celebrated the anniversary of the first airing of the 1975 Peanuts TV special Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown.Although there are over 40 animated TV specials created over the years through Bill Melendez’s studio, many fans actually remember a few of them really well.For me it was Snoopy Come Home, for which I had the board game, the Valentine special, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. As an adult, I can to love this weird one that it turns out is the favorite of many of the animators who worked on multiple films for Melendez, What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown!. However, we can all agree that A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown are the most classic, right?
MELENDEZ AND MENDELSON MAKE TV MAGIC
Beyond the fact that the Peanuts Christmas special was a huge deal in that it was the first time the comic strip characters by Charles Schulz were translated to animation, it was also the first religious-based animated special to ever be played on tv, and offered a wonderful jazz score by Vince Guaraldi.This cartoon has been played during the holidays every year since it played in 1965. The music was also a huge success, selling millions of copies.At the time, A Charlie Brown Christmas was seen by 45% of those watching television in the US.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown quickly followed the Christmas special in October of 1966, although it was the third, not the second, coming after Charlie Brown’s All Stars in June of the same year. It was nominated for an Emmy. Longtime Peanuts specials producer Lee Mendelson, (who brought Schulz and Melendez together to translate the Peanuts comic strip into a cartoon, among many other important roles in the history of Peanuts specials) was outvoted in the discussion about Charlie Brown getting rocks instead of candy.He wanted him to get his fair share.Apparently the audience that year agreed with him, sending the character thousands of bags and boxes of candy to Melendez’s animation studio!
My childhood is filled with memories of watching the specials with my dad.We also played my Snoopy Come Home board game a lot together.We quoted lines from all the cartoons and the comic strip, and I’d even say seeing them every year influenced my going into a career selling art and promoting the artistry of animation.
It was quite an experience the one time I got to eat dinner next to Bill Melendez at an event some years ago, only to discover what a wonderful sense of humor and quick wit he had.I had already heard he was famously a great boss, according to many people in the industry who had worked at a number of studios.In the interviews I conducted more recently, that compliment was repeated by everyone who had ever taken part in the creation of the Peanuts specials or any other Melendez studio project.
ANNIVERSARY PEANUTS LIMITED EDITIONS
2015, the anniversaries were coming up for both the Christmas and Halloween specials.The company connected with the Melendez family and his studio, who sells all things Peanuts and Bill Melendez Studio related in terms of art, planned a big event to celebrate with Peanuts art.They spent a long time, with the help and design artistry of Peanuts specials director Larry Leichliter, creating an anniversary collection of Peanuts limited edition cels.There were only 65 and 66 in each editions.When the first piece was released, we all called those folks who had always bought art when the company released art.They were allocated, so each gallery could only get a few of these A Charlie Brown Christmas limited editions and the It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown limited editions.(I think I got as many as any gallery was allotted, with 6 of each edition).Those who bought the first one, got right of first refusal on each subsequent piece so they could match the sets.So some said yes to them all, some skipped one, and so it went.
My Peanuts collectors tend to leave their art with me for a while and come in only a few times a year.One thing led to another, we did inventory, and POOF! We actually have a few Peanuts Charlie Brown and Snoopy limited editions (and of course some with the whole Peanuts gang!)available for sale!Imagine my surprise!
Anyway, this is all to the benefit of big Peanuts fans who will fall in love with these images.The largest Christmas and Halloween limited edition cels each took weeks to complete, there was so much hand-work involved.If you think they look cool online, they are truly spectacular in person!We look forward to a fan or a few fans who grew up with the cartoons and Peanuts comic strips like I did winding up with these pieces.They can bring them home as a wonderful, nostalgic reminder of holidays gone by.Or rather, holidays to come, because they will be playing these Peanuts TV specials every year until our great-grandchildren think they came out for them!
In this blog are all the images of the pieces we have.Click HERE to see them all, or on each image for more information for those specific pieces.
Remember if you love Peanuts and the Charlie Brown TV specials, there are some original production cels available from a number of cartoons you’ll remember we get directly from the Bill Melendez Studio. None from the Christmas or Halloween specials, but we’ve found a few choice ones for fans from Snoopy Come Home, several Valentine specials, and others that would excite you. Contact us!
We’ll leave you with this an interview I did with the producer Lee Mendelson, talking about the history of the Peanuts cartoons:
We are thrilled to announce the addition of original and limited edition art by the renowned concept and matte background artist William Silvers to our gallery!
All the art is from Bill’s personal collection, created in an official capacity as Disney and LucasFilm fine artist or was actually part of making a film.
We’re adding all the art as quickly as possible, but please contact us with requests or interest, as there are a number of originals we have not yet listed for sale, and some special images that will not be on our website.
As most of you know by now, we feature artists that actually work inside the industry, so it is a great pleasure to have his work at ArtInsights. He is also a very nice man. He is easy-going, has great integrity, and is committed to ever expanding his talent and skill. Here is Bill’s lengthy and impressive bio:
William Silvers is one of the preeminent concept artists working in the film industry today. Starting his career in New York as an illustrator for ad agencies, William continued to perfect his style and technique. His love of film and his passion for art led him on a path to filmmaking. He has worked with nearly every major studio, and is known for his use of diverse styles and techniques. Passionate and easy-going, William Silvers infuses his love of film and artistic expression in every piece.
In 1995, his film career began at Walt Disney Feature Animation where he adapted his fine art painting skills to the world of filmmaking. He created unforgettable backgrounds for Disney classics such as Mulan, Tarzan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear.
Eager for new experiences William enjoyed a stint as Associate Art Director for EA Sports-Tiburon. While there he contributed to the development of the award-winning game NCAA Football.
William achieved a personal triumph when his long awaited book Painting Realistic Wildlife in Acrylic was published. The book was a compilation of his beloved Wildlife paintings and it included instructional techniques to teach and inspire young artists.
His collaboration with Disney had bolstered a deep-seated desire to create meaningful work and that drive earned him a coveted stint at Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd.As a digital matte painter, William created some of the most stunning images for the feature films The Day after Tomorrow and Star Wars Episode III, The Revenge of the Sith.
With his reputation in the Industry growing, William accepted a position at DreamWorks Animation Studios. His work can be seen in How To Train Your Dragon 2, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, The Croods, Rise of the Guardians, Puss In Boots, Kung Fu Panda 2, Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special and Shrek Forever After.
The artist recently concluded his Sony Pictures Imageworks contract as a digital matte painter for the animated comedy adventure film Storks produced by Warner Animation Group.
William also creates new and exciting fine art pieces for Disney Galleries and Lucasfilm Ltd.His art can be found throughout the Disney Theme Parks, and his long relationship with the Walt Disney Company continues to be a consistent theme in his career.
“What began as a foray into film making blossomed into a comprehensive career, the foundation for which was Disney Animation.”
Collectors from around the world have also embraced his personal art, which allows him to expand his artistic vocabulary and express the wide spectrum of styles that continue to bring him joy.
We are also working on a contemporary art project with him, and we’ll bring you news of that as it takes shape.
WELCOME WILLIAM SILVERS, and may the force be with us!
It’s getting down to the last minute for getting Christmas presents and holiday gifts! We thought we’d help the folks out there who are still struggling to find something wonderful, and suggest film art.Disney art and Marvel superhero art, just to name two, make crowd pleasing, inventive gifts for family and friends who love movies.Our experience in the gallery is it can be the sort of art people don’t buy themselves, but love and enjoy, and would be so happy to get as a gift! We have so many visitors who frequent our store and know all about the movies, and come by just to see what’s new.They respect and look up to the artists that are represented here.I’m also so excited when someone close to them comes in and gets them a piece.It’s always so well received!
With that in mind, here are a few pieces that are ready to display and are $150 or under:
How many of my longterm clients know that the mice and birds in Cinderella are some of my all-time favorites? I’m not alone. John Rowe does a great composition of them and the star of the film, Cinderella’s castle…ummm, I mean, Cinderella.
Oh that haughty iris is such a great character. There are so many minor characters that are memorable in Alice in Wonderland. Here are just a few of them, created in a great Disney fine art piece by Michelle St. Laurent:
What a wonderful piece this Dig A Little Deeper is! Heather Theurer has gotten lots of press for her live action reinterpretations of Disney princesses. Here is her version of the first African-American Disney princess:
Did you love Moana? Of course you did. This is one of the best scenes in the whole movie, captured in Disney fine art by Rob Kaz.
You’d be surprised at the number of adult fans this pixie dream girl has. She should be the original “not bad, just drawn that way”, but regardless, many a fan would love to have this sometimes-sweet fairy.
And what about Star Wars: The Last Jedi? You loved it? You hated it? Either way, you’re probably a fan of the saga, and so is that loved-one. Here’s a sold-out Star Wars limited edition of BB8 the Astromech droid by Steve Thomas that no one will argue about. The best of the new Star Wars characters captured in official Star Wars film art!
Maybe that hard-to-buy-for friend or family member is a fan of Marvel. If everyone didn’t love Thor and company before Ragnarok, they do now! We have framed special-release posters from San Diego Comic-Con of both Ragnarok and Black Panther that will be a great gift and tickle their fancy. We also have a sold out Captain America limited edition and a great New Avengers piece…
OMG! You can get Thor, Cap, and Iron Man by Alex Ross for your Marvel-obsessed loved-one! Can there be a better gift? No. The answer is no.
I thought today I’d talk about my very favorite kind of animation art, model sheets.The explanation of animation model sheets, according to wikipedia:
“In animation, a model sheet, also known as a character board, character sheet, character study or simply a study, is a document used to help standardize the appearance, poses, and gestures of an animated character. Model sheets are required when large numbers of artists are involved in the production of an animated film to help maintain continuity in characters from scene to scene, as one animator may only do one shot out of the several hundred that are required to complete an animated feature film. A character not drawn according to the production’s standardized model is referred to as off-model.
Model sheets are drawings of posed cartoon or comic strip characters that are created to provide a reference template for several artists who collaborate in the production of a lengthy or multiple-edition work of art such as a comic book, animated film or television series. Model sheets usually depict the character’s head and body as they appear at various angles (a process known as “model rotation”), includes sketches of the character’s hands and feet, and shows several basic facial expressions.
Model sheets ensure that, despite the efforts of several or many artists, their work exhibits unity, as if one artist created the drawings (that is, they are “on model”). They show the character’s structure, proportions, attire, and body language. Often, several sheets are required to depict a character’s subtler emotional and physical attitudes.”
Finding original model sheets of characters that millions of people know and love always brings me great joy.Actually, even finding obscure model sheets from movies or characters only loved by diehard fans or super-geeky animation fans is great fun.
In my 30+ years selling animation art, I’ve sold some amazing original model sheets.
There are two I remember the most and I’m the most proud of….One was from Alice in Wonderland, of Alice.It was the one the animators actually used, that had been photocopied and you could find the photostat versions often online.I think it looked something like this:
I also found a great Pongo model sheet, and since he’s one of my favorite characters, I was very excited to sell that one (so don’t fall in love ;).
Over the years, I had Snow White and the dwarfs, Dumbo, Sleeping Beauty, The Ugly Duckling, and a bunch of various Mickey and the rest of the fab five like Donald Duck and Goofy.In 30 years, I’ve maybe found one a year.Partly that’s because I have always done a ton of research to know where they’ve been before they get to me, and the more popular and collectible animation art has become, the riskier buying anything you can’t trace gets.
Interestingly, not that many people are as big a fan as I am of them.I’ve always attracted more collectors who love production cels.But..the characters that have been seen by millions and continue to be seen are created and kept consistent through these images.It’s a big deal!It’s the artistry of the character design sitting there on the wall!
I’m not trying to pitch you guys to want to buy them, because I do so rarely find them. I just want people to understand the beauty and genius behind them. We do have one right now, and it’s one of those that are cobbled together by animators who want to keep a character consistent by seeing it from every angle…but it also has more than one character on it.Another love of mine as an animation art dealer is the art of Fantasia.The film is a classic, of course, but it also has an artistic quality that is unique in all of of Disney history.
Here is the model sheet we’ve got right now, and actually I’m looking at it in person, because it makes me happy, especially this time of year.
There are plenty of photostat versions of model sheets for collectors who either can’t find the original, can’t afford one, or just want to collect a variety of pieces from the time that capture the art behind the films they love. For example, there are lots of photostat model sheets from Alice in Wonderland, as many different ones as the number of characters represented in the film.
Here are just a few, so you can see how wonderful they are and how perfectly they capture less “popular” characters…
I’m toying with the idea of finding more photostat images to sell to my clients.I didn’t use to have them or carry them, because they are some hundreds of dollars, and have been for some time, because they come from the time.
Contact the gallery if it’s something you might be interested in, because I know a bunch of old-time collectors who have them.How wonderful would these look in someone’s office?!Yes, they are esoteric aesthetically, but that’s what makes them work in a professional environment.The same is true for a house that has a lot of tradition art in it.Either original or photostat model sheets will work there when other animation might not!
For those who love Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera, there are some great images available from those studios as well.We have an original from 1959 that’s more of a layout and a model sheet that is clearly from back when they are designing characters.How awesome is it to know these characters hadn’t even been placed in a cartoon yet?Fans of Quickdraw McGraw will get a kick out of that, and it’s definitely a piece of animation history.
Here are some limited editions with Tom and Jerry,Wile. E. Coyote and Roadrunner, and the gang from Scooby Doo. The designs for Tom and Jerry are particularly interesting, given they were created while Hanna and Barbera were at MGM and the duo won seven Oscars and were nominated for another 7! To put things in proper perspective, Bugs won only one Oscar!!
These do a great job of mixing the artistry behind the characters and the color and pop of production cels.Again, they show the brain behind the movement and characterization of these classic cartoons, but in the above images you also get the color, hand-painted cel so many collectors want.
What it comes down to for me, is model sheets really represent the history behind animation.They show our favorite characters in positions and doing things that sometimes they haven’t even done yet in a cartoon. They also capture just how talented not only the character animators are, but also those working with them who have to stay on model regardless of what is happening in their scenes.There is so much skill, discipline and artistry in animation.There’s no greater example of that than in animation model sheets.
If any of you collectors or animators have any great images, put them in the comments or email them to me, I always love seeing them!
Many of you know I’m also a film critic.I got to see the great new Star Wars release on Monday, and there’s a review on our sister site, Cinema Siren.But for all you fans who want to read it who DON’T go on there regularly, it’s at the bottom of this article.
*it’s verified SPOILER FREE by Michael Barry, who hasn’t seen the film and doesn’t want to know any plot points* If you don’t want to read it, you can stop at the art by Alex Ross and look no further on the post.
STAR WARS ART
In honor of The Last Jedi, I am writing a bit about the official Star Wars art we have at ArtInsights:
The art of Star Wars has always been collectible.In fact, as many of you know, George Lucas has such a vast collection of art and artifacts from the saga, he’s building a museum to house it and his other fine fine art.
My experience of people who collect Star Wars art, not just toys or models, is they are some of the most enthusiastic, geeky collectors of all fandom.They are notoriously obsessed with accuracy.John Alvin created a number of images for the first three films, then for their re-releases and was thrilled to create the official images for Star Wars Celebration.
He often referenced times when a fan would come up and tell them how he got everything about a particular ship or craft right, and it was always when he was at his happiest.He himself was an absolute Star Wars geek, and at the time of his death he left behind dozens of completely crafted, painted, and completed models of everything from X-Wings to the Falcon and various ships of the Galactic Empire.It’s why he was thrilled when LucasFilm came to him to create an image called “The Trench” as official art for their website.
One of my favorite images John ever created as a limited edition is “There Will Be No Bargain”.At the time there was no official Star Wars art featuring Salacious Crumb. We created a piece that highlighted the characters in Return of the Jedi, but included Salacious Crumb as a main feature.Often when people come into the gallery and point out the piece, I’m temped to do my impersonation of his laugh (but I stop myself).
The art for the Star Wars Concert has a long, strange history.The poster for the Star Wars Concert is the most highly prized original poster collectors look for from the saga. John Alvin’s art was used for the poster announcing a concert to be held at the Hollywood Bowl with John Williams.Only 1500 were to be made and when the show was cancelled, they stopped printing.No one knows just how many posters were created, but not anything close to 1500.I love the concept art for the poster, because R2D2 and C3PO are two of my favorite Star Wars characters.Like two bad pennies, they just keep showing up! 😉
Mike Kungl’s Star Wars art has been hugely popular, also because of the precision the artist used in creating his images.His work was so popular, it wound up being featured on the set of the Big Bang Theory.Even now, people come into the gallery and recognize his style from the show.
He excels at creating very dramatic renderings styled after propaganda posters, and that’s what Star Wars fans love about his art.Every one is very iconic.Here he is talking to me about his art:
We got Roger Kastel, who created the Empire Strikes Back poster to create art for us. At the time, he wasn’t even doing any illustration work any more, he was doing traditional paintings.He created a number of graphite images based on both his work on Jaws and Empire Strikes Back.He stopped doing them some time ago, but we still have one.I did love working with him, and really his ESB image is by far the most iconic of the entire saga!
As to new art, since we have felt strongly a long time about only working with artists who have create art for the actual campaigns or LucasFilm projects, we don’t sell a lot of art from the new movies.If one of the artists we know who worked on older films will do a commission, we will do those with our clients, or if artist Steve Thomas does something, we make an exception.His advertisement-styled graphic images are very popular and reasonable for fans, and they are official Star Wars art, so we try to get as many as we can of those, because they generally get released at $89 and only go up a bit to $150 right before they sell out.We have BB8 which sold out quite some time ago, but we have!
Alex Ross did a special piece that was for one of the comic books (still canon!) and we have that, too!It’s a well-priced piece that was released for a convention, and we have it in the gallery.Our favorite scoundrel is front and center, as we remember him.
If you’d like to see all the Star Wars art we currently have, CLICK HERE.
For those of you who are going to see the new movie soon, let us know what you think of it in the comments here or on our Facebook posting of this Spotlight article.NO SPOILERS, please!A Star Wars release always makes December even more the most wonderful time of the year!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is so good that it will thrill and surprise everyone from the first generation of fans to its newest recruit. It reaffirm to all the power of the force. This film, as written and directed by Rian Johnson, moves the saga forward dramatically, but in truth, it is all about character.
The Last Jedi is unquestionably Johnson’s baby, which given how controlling the LucasFilm powers-that-be can be, speaks to their faith in his vision.When asked how he approached crafting the story, Johnson said, “This is the 2nd chapter. The Force Awakens created these vibrant new characters, it was the job of this movie to pick them up and really test their mettle and put them through their paces.”
It’s best not to discuss any plot points. Fans already know Luke Skywalker is in the movie, because he’s the biggest character on the one-sheet poster.Audiences will learn more about the characters they’ve always known and loved, and more about both the sophomore and freshman classes.As to those from A Force Awakens, Poe, Rey, Kylo, and Finn equally get their chance to shine, and show the complexity and motivations of their characters.There are also some great new additions to the cast.Most notable is Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico and the dynamic she brings to her scenes with John Boyega. In an interview, Tran talked about why. “From the beginning we clicked during the audition process. I don’t think there’s a better partner anyone could have when you’re going into a movie like this.”Their chemistry is undeniable.
Kelly Marie Tran also talked about the continued theme in the Star Wars Universe of having strong self-aware female characters.“From the beginning, the Star Wars films have always been groundbreaking in that way.What keeps people interested is they continue to do so.”Another new strong female character portrayed by Laura Dern has a very interesting arc we see unfold in what almost feels like real time.The potential for spoilers dictates no more is said about her role, or that of other Star Wars newcomer Benicio Del Toro, but they fold themselves and their storylines convincingly into the saga.
With all the newer members of the cast, lovers of the franchise can rest easy about the old guard.Carrie Fisher’s Leia is luminous, as always.Her swan song took a 1977 ingenue albeit fearless princess, and turned her into both a general, and a powerful wise-woman. Even at that, it is Luke’s story that is most enriched, having several wow moments that legitimately rival the last act of A New Hope.
As to the expanded diversity in The Last Jedi, it’s not something that hits the audience on the head, but really feels right.In a story where there is conflict and resistance, it makes sense that those who believe in freedom and equality would be coming from every perspective and gender, as well as a wide variety of alien species.
Visually, the audiences are brought through everything from cityscapes, to deserts, vast galactic spaceships, and desolate island landscapes. Some of the most exciting scenes of dogfights in space take us through such spectacular environments they will make your eyes pop.
Also, as one would expect, there are some spectacular sets, and, as has always been the case for the films of Star Wars, there is a great balance of the real and the digital.Says Johnson, “We had a huge amount of practical sets for this film. Part of the lived-in feel of Star Wars is something we really wanted to capture.At the same time, the other end of Star Wars is constantly pushing the envelope in terms of special effects.” “Rian’s script at first count had something like 160 sets,” said production designer Rick Heinrichs, (Pirate of the Caribbean, Beetlejuice), but they wound up with around 125 sets where it was filmed at Pinewood Studios in England, as well as other locations around the world.For example, they built a cave that was changed and relit to work for three other settings.
There’s so much going on it’s almost impossible to remember the entire story (not that it would be shared in this review..) Which of course, may be a ploy to get audiences all to see it multiple times.At 2 hours and 23 minutes, it is definitely on the long side, and there are so many plot threads it feels like they could get knotted up in the viewer’s brain. It’s possible there’s an even better movie that could have been carved out in the editing room.However,a shorter film might have sacrificed the strong character development, which is what will remain with fans long after the credits roll.
Lovers of Star Wars are incredibly lucky to have Johnson at the helm, who is clearly a super-fan of the saga. He took the stories, archetypes and mythology, and expanded and enhanced it in nearly every way.
I wanted to tell collectors about one of the rare times we could buy Disney storybook art directly from Disney.
Quite a few years ago, around the time Disney was deciding whether to keep having an art program or not, someone who had been working in and around Disney for many years contacted me about the likelihood of Disney Publishing opening up to sell art to galleries.Obviously, I was ecstatic!
There are a lot of artists who created Disney storybook art that are great talents, and some of them are even legends now.Claude Coats, Retta Scott, Bill Peet…just to name a few!I had the great pleasure of selling a whole collection of illustrations for Retta Scott’s Cinderella book.It was for the puppet book, not the original storybook, but they were glorious and finding and placing it with a collector is one of my favorite memories as an art dealer.Regardless of the fact that whoever was building the program at Disney for illustration art sales wasn’t branding the art based on the artist, but rather the subject matter, I was still all in.I knew my clients would be thrilled.
As a test to see whether there was interest, Disney was doing some low key selling of original Disney storybook illustrations on Ebay.This was back before Ebay had unintentionally created the garage sale feel they have now. I scoured the site for when they posted art.They only did it for a very brief time, and I knew about it from the beginning.
One of the images they placed on there was this original Disney publishing illustration from a storybook about Villains.You can see the space to the right where the words go.
What I love about a great Disney storybook art for a well-known story is you get both color and story in one place . To me the composition and story elements of the Queen transforming into the wicked witch are wonderfully vibrant and compelling.The skull that the poison gas is creating, and how it connects you visually with the skull of poison on the apple is scary and beautiful at the same time.We can tell there is very bad magic at work, and the plot is about to go south for poor Snow White…
What is also great about illustration in general is that very rarely is there just one medium used.It might be drawn on illustration board, with gouache, but enhanced with airbrush, or pen and ink.Illustrators use whatever will solve their design problem or build the aesthetic they are after for that project.
We bought the art from Ebay, and promptly sold it to a villains collector. Oddly, even then they didn’t know or weren’t willing to tell us who did the actual illustration. (Yet another reason I should have been working inside Disney…CREDIT, people…CREDIT!) Years later we were thrilled to be able to offer it again to another lover of illustration and villains, or rather misunderstood heroes.
Sadly, the folks inside Disney publishing thought better of selling the art out of their archives.I do wish they’d lost their head and sold a bit more before coming to their senses!I remember my friend Lella, who used to be the head of the Disney archives, would bemoan the fact that the company sold so many backgrounds from their movies to the public through Sotheby’s.At least they DID.We were only able to get about three pieces before collectors got wind of what they were doing and then the prices often went above 10k.Lucky for us we knew about it at the beginning!
For collectors of Snow White and villains, this piece is particularly great, since it’s so prohibitively expensive to get both the Queen and the evil witch. Also, since the vast Snow White art collection owned by Steve Ison was sold back to Disney, finding original art representing the characters has gotten a lot harder and more expensive.
I have seen cels of the moment of her transformation before, but they are very strange and also very expensive.Here’s a way to represent the darkness of the character, tell story, and celebrate wonderful illustrative talent at once.
Alex Ross has become the #1 collected artist in comics.His style changed the world of comic book art, and he brought an illustrative, more Norman Rockwell style, with realistic, hyper-realistic depictions of superheroes as real-life humans, albeit with way more muscles.As a gallery that specializes in pop culture, we have carried the work of Alex Ross for over 20 years…Now, his agents have finally started making videos where Alex himself talks about his work and inspiration.I thought i’d talk about some of my experience selling his work, and post some of the videos here:
He talks about his realism in art here:
As great as Alex Ross’s work is, he wouldn’t be nearly as famous in terms of art collecting had it not been for the Warner Bros stores.They got behind his work and promoted it as real art as well as a collectible.His images were some of the crowning glories in the stores, always put in a place of prominence. His new limited editions were released to increasingly committed fans who were quickly becoming completist collectors.
I had my own taste of Alex’s enthusiastic fandom when ArtInsights was the first and only gallery to represent Alex Ross Art at a comic convention.We had a booth at New York Comic Con showing only The Art of Alex Ross.Alex’s representatives were kind enough to give us some great exclusive limited editions, and we also had full color and graphite originals.No other art gallery before or since has had that exclusive.
I had been working with what is now the head of the collections of Alex Ross limited editions for over 20 years at that point, and she knew me well, so she knew I would represent the art with integrity and honesty.The same agent had been in charge of the Warner Bros. stores before they went out of business, so she knew everything necessary to design and implement a fine art portfolio for Alex Ross.She’d been doing it for decades.
From the first day of the convention, we were swamped with convention attendees.Some of them were just fans in love with his work, but not interested in buying art.Others were avid collectors looking to buy the latest exclusive.We had a Doctor Strange, Captain America, and Batman exclusive signed lithograph that we sold out of the first day. Had there been any DC Comics original art of the Justice League, a concern in the far east would have bought every one of them.Alas, he has not been working on DC projects for some time, so there was no art for sale.Apparently this one group will buy absolutely anything, with almost unlimited funds.This is one reason why mere mortal collectors should look to graphites if they want something original of his art.
Many people wonder why Alex never comes to conventions.There’s an easy explanation for that, but I think fans and art collectors often don’t consider it.Alex still paints in the traditional way.For the most part, he is not creating inside a computer.He still uses brushes, models, and paint.That means that when other working artists can make adjustments by clicking on the mouse of their computer, Alex Ross would have to completely repaint the art.
He talks about physical painting and why he does it:
He is a traditional illustrator in a digital world, but he likes it that way.His idols are Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker, and the rest of the geniuses of twentieth century illustrative art.He was particularly influenced by Andrew Loomis, who was not only a great illustrator, but the author of instructional art books essential to the craft.
If you know the work of Norman Rockwell AND Alex Ross, you may recognize the strong influence and reference Alex Ross used from some of Rockwell’s works in Ross covers for Kingdom Come and Justice.Here is a video of Alex Ross talking about his inspiration for The Justice League paintings:
To my mind, when Alex Ross creates images like the Marvel Shadows and the DC Shadows series, he does his best work.I usually prefer his images of single characters.To my mind, we get to see shadows and light playing on the subject more distinctly, seeing more specific choices he’s making.
My favorite images to date, by far, are his images inspired by Universal Monsters.Created entirely in shades of grey, black and white, these pieces show the nuance with composition, shadow, and light only a great illustrator can express.There are times when Alex’s color art is so frenetic and intense, I have a hard time focusing.That’s not to say it isn’t compelling, I just think in Alex Ross’s Dracula, for example, or his Bride of Frankenstein, you almost feel like you could step into the painting and become part of the story.They are at once evocative of the films represented and seductive as unique illustrations, separate from the subject matter.Whether you know the stories or not, you are drawn to the tableaus he has laid out before you.
ALEX ROSS UNIVERSAL MONSTERS:
Not only are all the Universal Monsters officially licensed images, the folks at Alex Ross Art got permission and became officially connected with Bela Lugosi and even has the logo of his estate on the certificate of authenticity.Much to absolutely no surprise, his Universal Monsters giclees on canvas were the hit of San Diego Comic-Con.They outsold all the Marvel and DC images!
There were only 15 put aside as matching sets, and they are far less than if you buy them individually and we have #13 if anyone is interested in the whole set.
ALEX ROSS SPIDER-MAN:
We love Alex Ross Spider-Man art.Whenever we get the opportunity, we get whatever Alex Ross Art releases for our clients.Alex has loved Spider-Man his whole life, and actually his first memory of him is the live-action character on The Electric Company!
We have a piece called Rockomic and another very sold out one called Spider-Man Visions, plus the more recent Spider-Man: Marvels. My own memory of Spidey is from the Saturday Morning Cartoon, which was the best!It came on at 6:30 am and I got up especially to see it.
Am I the only one who really loves Aquaman?I mean, he’s not just some stupid character to be made fodder for jokes in Entourage! Whether he’s the blonde character I know from the Superfriends or Jason Mamoa, who nearly singlehandedly saved the new Justice League movie, I enjoy having him around to manipulate water, make jokes, and talk to fish… Apparently, Alex loves him, too.
If you’re a fan of Captain America (which I am!) and Iron Man, here’s Alex talking about what he enjoys about creating images of these superheroes. And you can find some great Captain America art HERE.
One of the latest releases from Alex Ross is of Wonder Woman, and it’s called “Wonder Woman: Goddess of Truth”. After the image was posted on the Alex Ross twitter feed, Patty Jenkins saw it and fell in love with it and sent Alex a note saying how beautiful it was.The best aspect of Alex Ross’s Wonder Women: Goddess of Truth is how perfectly it translates into giclee.
Giclees are basically a very high-quality ink-jet printer.Instead of only 4 different inks, there are many different ones that spray microscopic drops of paint that read the original within a millionth of a difference in color.This original watercolor gets translated so perfectly, it really looks like the original.Actually, I call it “Colors of the Wind” Wonder Woman, and we only have APs. For obvious reasons it was very popular when it was released and sold out immediately.This image is my very favorite superhero portrait he’s ever done.
I’ll leave you all with videos of Alex talking about his career and sharing advice to artists:
and for those artists out there, find inspiration here and wherever you go.If Alex can do it, so can you.Make a plan, and stick to it.Work hard, and stay positive.For the rest of us, we can be the vital ones who support these visual artists by hanging their art on our walls!
John Alvin did art for the campaign to promote the wonderful, timeless HBO mini-series Band of Brothers, which won 6 Emmys. I thought on the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I’d examine the story behind John Alvin creating Band of Brothers campaign art and find out more about the process, and the general fascination with World War II history I recall John having and discussing with me on a regular basis.
I remember John Alvin and I talking many times about World War II.He never mentioned his personal history, or how he was connected to it.I told him some of the stories about my family, which he found very compelling.My grandmother Colette had been working in London when France fell and Charles de Gaulle made his speech about the importance of everyone doing what they could do in the war effort.She was working directly under Rene Pleven, as part of de Gaulle’s Free French Forces.She went to de Gaulle and asked him how she could help, and he told her he needed her in New York.She had grown up in New York, spoke both French and English, and knew many important people in the US who could help, so he sent her there to organize relief for the Free French.
My dad, who was only 5 or 6 at the time, had to come from Paris to Vichy, France, to North Africa and onward to New York to reunite with her while she was doing her work for de Gaulle. My dad told me during that time he saw a man get kicked down a long flight of stairs in the subway by a German officer, cracking his head open. He remembers it vividly to this day. He doesn’t remember Pearl Harbor, because in France, they were already deeply into the war.
John was fascinated. He never told me his story himself.
When he spoke to me, it was about that book and that series, and how great he thought it was.I, too, fell under its spell, especially as so many great actors took part.I’d been a fan of Tom Hanks since Mazes and Monsters. His second collaboration with Steven Spielberg, the Emmy Award-winning miniseries was about “Easy” Company, a parachute infantry regiment. It made Damien Lewis famous in the US, (a gift that keeps on giving..) and was at the time the most expensive TV miniseries ever made by a network. The first episode premiered on September 9th, 2001, two days before the September 11th attack.
I just spoke to Andrea Alvin about why she thought he was so connected to his work on Band of Brothers. As you’ll see, John Alvin’s connection to the subject ran deep.His father, Albert Alvin, had been a career military man.He was a captain in the Army, and spent World War II as a military intelligence officer stationed in Italy, because he spoke fluent Italian.His mother Rena had been an Army nurse and followed Patton’s troops.She was at the Battle of the Bulge, where she worked right behind the front lines caring for the injured from all forces; American, German…anyone who needed urgent medical intervention. The battle lasted from December 16th, 1944 to January 25th, 1945.For the rest of her life, she would get weepy every year around Christmas remembering the horrors of that traumatic experience.
Also, as a young child, John Alvin lived for about four years in Germany.His father was part of the occupational army helping rebuild Germany*.When John was 4 or 5, his dad took him to an abandoned Messerschmitt factory.It was like a graveyard of airplanes.He was allowed to climb on and in the planes.It made a huge impression on him, and Andrea counts that experience as one of the main reasons he was so obsessed with building models.
The art John Alvin created for the Band of Brothers campaign, though not ultimately used, has an emotional quality and visual authenticity derived from his love of history, interest in research, and his personal connection to that time. The color images look like they are done in pastel, but John never worked in pastel.He worked on pastel paper, and used Prisma color pencils and freehand airbrush to get the effect of pastels.Though not sure, Andrea thinks John may have also used some actual pictures of his father as reference.
Whatever his inspiration, he captured the bravery, and the intensity of focus and commitment the men of Easy Company must have maintained as they struggled through the terrifying experience of surviving war.On the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we think of all those men and women who gave their lives or lost their optimism and their innocence, and who fought bravely to keep this country safe.
We also remember that standing up for those being endangered around the world, as well as on our own shores, is the true mark of patriotism.
Production Designer Stuart Craig has quite a CV. Beyond being the BAFTA award-winning designer for the entire Harry Potter film series, he has also won three Oscars, for The English Patient, Dangerous Liaisons, and Gandhi. He has worked on over three dozen films, including as art director on classics A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Superman (1978). Do you love Notting Hill, The Mission, or The Elephant Man? He worked on those, too. He has continued his part in translating J.K.Rowling’s vision for the cinematic world with last year’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and is currently working on The Crimes of Grindelwald, which is being released in 2018.
He is essentially the architect of the world we see onscreen for all the Harry Potter movies. Indeed, as directors came and went, his involvement stayed consistent. An argument could be made that continuity, and the loyalty of fans to commit to every film, are largely to his credit.
When the Harry Potter studio tour at Leavesden was opening, Ruth Clampett, who has always been the conduit between Warner Bros. and the art world for all things Harry Potter, worked to get the art used to create the environments, that so compelled fans of the franchise, into the tour. She wanted Stuart Craig Harry Potter prints to be available for purchase by his fans. Ruth has always been a great judge of what Harry Potter fans want, since she herself is a superfan.
I remember when I spoke to Stuart Craig, he said he couldn’t imagine anyone wanting his concept images. The pieces Ruth wanted to release were of finished and “in process” concepts, which were created by both Stuart Craig, who drew out the graphites, and architectural and concept artist Andrew Williamson, who finished them in colorful, fully rendered concept images. Williamson is now the Global Head of the Art Department at Double Negative. Double Negative has worked on Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Justice League, Blade Runner 2049, and many more of the biggest films of the last nearly 20 years.
Ruth went about selecting images evocative of the film series, that would resonate with fans in both the UK and the US. It required quite a bit of convincing to get the art into Leavesdon, but when she did, they were a huge success, much to Stuart Craig’s surprise. Production designers see their work as a means to an end. It was hard for him to picture fans wanting to put Stuart Craig Harry Potter prints as art on their walls. My experience is quite the opposite.
Because I was involved in selling official Harry Potter art to collectors from the very beginning, I knew many of the collectors who loved and bought the art of book cover artist Mary GrandPre who had embraced the films would also collect art by the man partially responsible for bringing the world of the books to the screen.
I love seeing how a movie comes together. I love seeing design, alteration, and creativity as it develops ideas into physical form. Not enough people realize how much the production designer and their team influence the finished film and how it’s received.
Meanwhile, I spoke to Stuart in 2011 before the release of the first of the two last films. I just posted it on YouTube as a video (it is mostly just my phone interview, but there are pictures of his art accompanying it)–if you want to hear a bit about his career in his own voice, check it out HERE.
I have enormous respect for contemporary artist and former partner in Alvin and Associates with famed cinema artist John Alvin, Andrea Alvin, and so I spoke to her about her great new piece, Samuel’s Candy Canes.
She has been actively working as both a commercial and contemporary artist since the 70s. With her partner John, she was part of creating iconic movie posters like the ones for Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein and more recently, the advance for Tim Burton’s Batman.All the while, she was honing her style and aesthetic as a contemporary artist focusing on nostalgic imagery.After losing John suddenly to a heart attack in 2008, she wrote a successful book about his career, The Art of John Alvin, and is now slowly getting back to her own work. Andrea Alvin is creating intensely evocative paintings of objects that bring us back to our childhood memories, through visually considering and sharing memories of her own.
Her new image called “Samuel’s Candy Canes”, inspired by candy in Samuel’s Sweet Shop, in Rhinebeck, New York, is both a celebration of the season, and a choice to lean into joy, regardless of the time of year or the darkness of our current circumstances.I spoke to Andrea about this new piece, her career, working with her famous husband John Alvin, and her perspective still creating, 40 years later, while continuing to change as a person and an artist:
LC: You went to school with John, right?
Andrea Alvin: Yes, I went to Art Center College of Design, and actually I was a few years ahead of him.
LC: How did your aesthetic develop for nostalgic realism? Or is that how you’d describe your art?
AA: When I first started coming back to painting, I was stuck.I didn’t know what to paint.A friend of mine said, “Oh my god, your house is so full of stuff! Collectibles, and all kinds of things everywhere…why don’t you just paint your stuff?” That’s how I started just going around with my camera and editing through the camera and taking pictures and painting those scenes.In a lot of them it just was a view of homey-ness and somebody’s things. We had a lot of collectibles and toys around the house, so it started that way. As I started to refine it, I started thinking about what made me happy to look at, and what I wanted to say, I realized having my major in school in advertising design, I’ve always been focused on popular culture as it relates to advertising, and growing up as a kid in the 50s it made a real mark on me.One of the things I realized is there are a lot of iconic things inour everyday lives that were iconic then and are iconic even now. That’s where I started trying to focus on Americana and what was very American.What makes us who we are. What was interesting to me and special to me as a kid and what is also special to my daughter, or a younger generation.Or my grandson.
LC: When you say you were returning to painting, what do you mean?
AA: I graduated from school, and worked in animation up until John’s career started taking off, and then I had my daughter Farah.When she was able to go to school for a couple of hours a day, is when I started painting again.So that was in the late 70s.
LC: What did you see as nostalgic then?
AA: I don’t know about nostalgia then, because the things that were nostalgic to me where going back to the 50s. What happened inadvertently was some of the paintings I painted then are still or maybe even more evocative now. Like “Wow! I remember Peanut Butter Boppers!” Those are gone now.Or “That wallpaper sure is ugly but boy, do I remember it being popular in the 70s”…those things are very nostalgic now.
LC: How did or does being a women in art influence your style or perspective, would you say, or does it?
AA: I never thought about it that there was a limitation for me. The only limitation that I thought of was I didn’t want to be a teacher. That’s what I was told repeatedly as a woman in art. I had to be a teacher. When I was a teenager, and came to New York on a visit, pretty much one of the only artists I remember seeing was Marisol, who you barely hear about any more.There just were very few woman artists around. I still never thought I couldn’t do it because I was a woman.
LC: What about working with or at the same time as John. He was such a well-known artist in his industry.That had to be interesting, or a challenge. There are a lot of elements in the finished posters of his or of Alvin and Associates that are your work.
AA: Right.I’m the “Associates”…It was very difficult.John was the kind of artist as an illustrator, that if you asked him to paint a train in perspective coming over a hill with a haunted house, he’d just sit down and sketch it, and it looked pretty good! I can’t do that, or maybe I could if I concentrated really, really hard, but that’s not how I worked.
I’m have to be more deliberate and know how I’ll proceed. It made me nervous about painting because if I was going to paint, what was it going to be, and if I paint realism with John around, how is that going to work? Am I going to be compared to him? I just had to put blinders on and paint.We had different approaches. He would say to me, “Why don’t you do several sketches and then do them in color and go from there?” and I’d just think I would never get anywhere that way! I’d never get the painting done.So I’d say “Good idea” to him and “No.” to myself and keep my blinders on and go on to how I wanted to do it.Where being around him was super helpful and what I miss horribly every day is having that other set of eyes when I could say “I’m stuck. I know I need something. Something’s wrong and I can’t figure out what it is.” or the other thing was asking “Is this painting finished?” It’s always a tough call for artists and it’s so important to have someone you respect you can ask about that.
LC: I do remember John speaking of your talent often with respect and appreciation.He was, as many artists are, a bundle of neuroses, but always very clear about his belief in you.
AA:I think the big difference in our approaches is that John always wanted to be an illustrator.He wanted to tell stories.That’s why he was so well-suited for the movies. I don’t have a problem coming up with and painting things I wanted to paint, whereas when he was left completely open like that, I think he struggled.
LC: You’ve had some success creating official images for Disney and Warner Brothers, but you have found so much more freedom in creating your own work with imagery that sings to you and speaks to your own memories.Can you talk a bit about the new painting “Samuel’s Candy Canes” and how that came together?
AA: What’s so interesting is that is was just last night that there was a festival in Rhinebeck called Sinterklaas where there are thousands of people coming into our little town and there are activities for children and carolers and it turns the town into a Norman Rockwell Christmas and it’s really beautiful and then there’s a parade.It’s like a Mardi Gras parade, with giant puppets done by Sinterklaas creator Jeanne Fleming, the same woman that does them for the Greenwich Village Halloween parade. One of the first years I went to Sinterklaas was shortly after John had died.I brought my 35mm camera and I was taking a lot of pictures. It was just kind of a magical night.One friend I went with earlier in the evening and then she had to go, and I found other friends who walked with me for a while, and just when I was about to go home, another friend asked me to go to dinner. It was one of those incredible nights where I was worried about being alone and people just showed up for me.I took some great pictures that night. I dug them back up.I was trying to figure out where to go next in terms of subject, because I was tired of coming in really close like the cupcake or the cookie, so I went back to those old photos. There was this great quality of light in them.The candy canes were inside a store called Samuel’s, which was owned by a guy names Ira.We were just visiting with Ira and went in and took pictures in the candy store and Ira then passed away a few years ago in a very similar way that John had. He was close to the same age, had a heart attack, he was getting his life together…so it was a perfect thing to create art from being with him that night and those beautiful candies.
The store was bought by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Paul Rudd.They own the candy store now.They wanted to keep the store as Samuels, keep it the same and they figured if they didn’t buy it, someone else would buy it and turn it into something else and it would be gone forever.So I think that, by them, was motivated by nostalgia and just loving what the store stood for and what it meant to the town. That’s kind of the story.I went in there last night, and the bucket that they were in was still there. It’s different, but it’s still there.
LC: One of the great aspects of the art is it doesn’t just speak of the holidays.There’s an element of speaking to holding on to joy and of optimism.I also see an interesting connection to the time you were still in the midst of grief and found kindness.
AA: I realize inadvertently looking back at my work that lighting, especially since I moved to New York, lighting is very important in the paintings.Most of the photo-realism, and it’s difficult to call my work photo-realism, but most of the realists I know aren’t concerned with that, they’re concerned with the surface quality. I always have some background light that’s enveloping the subject.Yes, it’s happy, because you see that it’s candy canes and holiday, but the lighting is warm.It’s like fireside lighting.There’s a warmth to the lighting that’s different than if I were saying, “Look!This is a happy, happy candy cane painting.”It’s warm.Most things I see around the holidays with that subject matter would be in bright light, very Christmas-y kind of colors.This is darker than that.It’s almost like we’re sitting by the fireside, not at Christmas, but rather, reminiscing about holidays gone by, and holding on to those memories.
LC: Was that a conscious thing, to create an image that is about moving forward in the face of loss?
AA: Honestly, I don’t know.
LC: I think as artists, you guys sometimes get to a place with a piece, not knowing when you start, where you meant to go, but having gotten there, you realize that was the intention all along.Like the idea of knowing when it’s done, somewhat comes from having gotten the message into the art, and seeing it fully formed. I know you have a deluxe giclee that is hand-embellished, and you’re doing it, when often artists farm out embellishments.Why is it important to you to do it yourself? I know John was the same way about doing his own.
AA: It’s my work and I really wouldn’t want someone else going in and doing some kind of odd interpretation on it.John and I were both very hands-on. It’s why we wanted to be the people who created the art instead of the art director who guided someone else doing the art. We’ve both been art directors. I think that I look at it from the beginning from that point of view.On compositions, I have a tendency to push the boundaries of the canvas. There’s almost a tangency to the sides. I think my compositions can be unusual.It comes from my design background.
LC: In “Samuel’s Candy Canes”, you get two different feelings visually, one up close and one a bit further away.That’s cool, and that’s part of your style.
AA: Right. Great! I want people to see the brushstrokes.I don’t want to have it look like a photograph when you see the art in person.It looks like a photograph online. It looks very photographic, and they resolve photographically when you stand back from my work.When you go up close, you see all the brushwork, I’m not trying to hide it, I want it to be part of the image.
Star Wars: Visions was released on its own, and in a deluxe edition with five hand-signed giclees.They include art by Alex Ross, Moebius, Donato Giancola, Daniel Greene, and Jamie Wyeth. The deluxe book also includes 40 extra pages focusing on the artists’ processes, complete with sketches.There were only 500 created.
It sold out immediately, as collectibles of this nature do.We got as many as we could at the time, and of course didn’t open them, that being the privilege of the collector who takes them home.So we never got a close look at the prints. The one copy we still have sits unopened.
The images were curated by J.W. Rinzler, who was the executive editor at Lucasfilm. He is also responsible for New York Times bestsellers The Making of Star Wars and The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones.
George Lucas decided, as an avid collector of both the art used to make and promote the Star Wars films, and fine and illustration art, to go out and find artists he loved in the fine art world to create images relating to his films.This is a great idea, obviously, but here’s a little-known aspect of that project.When an artist creates art relating to Star Wars, they have to, as part of the contract, offer their art to George Lucas as the lowest market price.That is to say, if the artists involved usually work through galleries or agents, Lucas would have to have the right of first refusal for the art before even the galleries or agents had access.This seems perfectly fair for those who usually create art for the franchise.What about those outside the usual Star Wars Universe?
A number or artists used in the book are very famous in the world of contemporary fine art.What a genius move for an art collector to get the lowest possible price for art by these successful artists, while getting them to create unique commissions for him.Win-win? Yes!Indeed there were only a few artists that didn’t sell their pieces for the book to Lucas.As someone who is artist-centric, i’m going to say that’s a solid win for artists everywhere.Now that, years after the release of the book and his acquisition of the art created for it, we know the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built in Los Angeles, we can look forward to seeing at least some of these originals in person on its walls.
The beauty of this book, ultimately, is the continuing belief by Lucas, and his support of it through the creation is this art, that there should be no distinction between “high” art and “popular” art.This is a notion I’ve been standing behind for the 25 years i’ve had a gallery dedicated to film, animation, and contemporary art.I look forward to seeing the many paintings he bought from John Alvin, as well as his huge collection of art by Norman Rockwell.
AS TO THE BOOK:
Since the release of the book, Moebius has passed away, so getting a signed limited edition by him as part of the set is reason enough to buy the deluxe edition.We’ve not really been promoting that we have a copy, because we certainly don’t want someone to buy the book and break up the limited editions and sell them separately.This is one of those collectibles best reserved for a collector who will know how nice and right it is to keep them together!
There’s a great video about the collection of the artists HERE.
We just unearthed this set of Gremlins Teaser Trailer Storyboards by John Alvin! A fan asked us about availability of art from Gremlins, so we started researching the archives of the Estate of John Alvin, and lo and behold: a full set of storyboards for a finished advanced movie trailer!
Each one of the 17 images, posted below in sequence, were painted by hand as 5 x 7 fully executed paintings. The script is below the paintings and is original from the time, of course! If that doesn’t show us all just how much the movie and illustration worlds have changed, I don’t know what would! Beyond how great and exciting these are for fans of Gremlins, seeing the actual teaser trailer and finding exact moments captured from the storyboards…that’s just ultra-cool for movie geeks, especially when those storyboards were done by John Alvin, who did the official one-sheet for the film!
Sad to say, John did do some other sets of storyboards that became trailers, but the art from them has gone the way of whatever art director he was working with at the time. Notably, he did several of them for Jurassic Park. Two sets were used for the finished promotional trailers for the film, but none of the art survived.
For those with interest in purchasing this set, I’m happy to report (and sorry to break it to interested parties) that we sold the whole set to a big fan and they are thrilled to add it to their collection!
Whether you might have been in the market or not, we’re betting it’s still going to be the coolest Christmas movie production art you’ll see this year!
Wouldn’t it be so great if more of this historic art existed now, having survived the process of filming and campaigning the movies of our youth? At least here we have a great example of hand painted campaign art by John Alvin for 1984’s Gremlins, a true Christmas cult classic!
We were so excited when we gained access to images created by Walt Peregoy.It was when he was alive, and we got to speak to him and meet him on several occasions.He was truly a consummate artist, just like so many artists who were integral to the creation and development of Disneyland.
Finding rare and authentic art actually used to create a film, or build an enduring world like Disneyland is one of our greatest joys.So many people online are finding and buying art created after the fact, or by fans.Many of these fans are wonderful artists, but they are still creating fan art!When we are able to offer concept art for something loved the world over, (in this case, Disneyland) it goes in our memories as yet another reason why we stick to small business and owning an art gallery.Somebody has to be the custodian of the production art!To us, there is a difference.Putting our hands on the art, knowing it was toiled over, designed in some mid-century modern office, and even better, to recognize the avant-garde design style that went on to influence 101 Dalmatians, and inspire Disney to give the designate “LEGEND” to the artist.Well, that’s the whole point of “film art by the filmmakers”.
Born in 1925, Peregoy knew early he wanted to be an artist.He started taking classes at the ripe old age of nine, in Berkeley, California.Through his teenage years, he studied at Chouinard Art Institute, (where animation luminaries Chuck Jones and Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston went, among many others) and at 17, quit school altogether to work at Disney, before abruptly leaving to fight in WWII, and then studying at arts universities after the war in Mexico and Paris.
In 1951, he came back to Disney.Along with working on the designs for Disneyland, he and another artist also known for his stylized artistry, Eyvind Earle, worked on 1958’s Paul Bunyan, for which they were nominated for an Academy Award. He went on to be lead background painter on Sleeping Beauty, and became color stylist on 101 Dalmatians and The Sword and the Stone.
There’s a great Disney documentary called, “Four Artists Paint One Tree”.What makes it so great is the fact that four illustrators who worked at Disney and in commercial art were highlighted, Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Joshua Meador, and Peregoy.Walt Disney always believed the artistry required for animation and imagineering was “fine art”, and there were no qualifiers to the artists who worked at the studio.To him, they were as impressive and talented as those in museums, and he promoted that perspective as often as possible.
What this documentary shows, and what I talk about all the time when people come into ArtInsights and ask about the artists represented, is that regardless of what these artists are working on, be it a character like Cruella, a background from Sleeping Beauty, or concept art for Disneyland, they are able to infuse it with their aesthetic, AND follow the guidelines required for the project.
I could watch this documentary over and over.(and went down that same rabbit hole I go down every time I watch it…fascinating!) Are these artists stilted when they speak about their creations?Yes.Who cares?Seeing them paint and explain their designs is ever-fascinating.For any artists wanting to learn about how to express their own aesthetic, it’s superb.For the lucky person who buys the concept art from 1955 for Disneyland by Walt Peregoy, it just reaffirms his genius.
Today, on November 25th, the Disney classic of the new Golden Age of Animation Aladdin turns 25. Who doesn’t love and remember Robin Williams as the Genie?
This “Magic at Your Fingertips” Walt Disney Classics Collection sculpture by Ruben Procopio captures him perfectly. So many artists worked on the film that got and deserved credit…we can look back and point to lead animators like Eric Goldberg, who was in charge of developing the genie, and the co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker, who had Robin Williams in mind and approached him with fingers crossed that he would do it.
The characters of Aladdin and Jasmine have continued to resonate far beyond the release of the film. Aladdin had yet another animation superstar, Glen Keane as supervising animator, who also developed Ariel in The Little Mermaid and Beast from Beauty and the Beast.
Jasmine’s singing voice was provided by Broadway performer Lea Salonga (who was hired based on her work in Miss Saigon) and had female character specialist Mark Henn as lead animator. His influences for her included his own sister and actress Jennifer Connelly.
We remember going to the Sotheby’s auction and the enthusiasm for the work of these animators. Aladdin is one of the wonderful films in which we can really see these 2D animators do their best.
Also, for the Aladdin poster, our friend and consummate movie poster artist John Alvin was tapped to do the entire adult campaign. We have some wonderful examples of his process in the gallery, and not only did John Alvin create the advance, but actually several images used around the world to promote the film.
Disney wanted to see lots of images before they decided which ones to use, so John Alvin had various sizes of fully rendered art. Here is one example:
Check out all our Aladdin art at ArtInsights. Meanwhile, we congratulate all those involved with this classic film and are so glad to know only the animators who build the film, but also some great artists who have done official interpretive art, like John Rowe’s Endless Diamond Sky and Rodel Gonzalez’s Flight Over Agrabah.
Go celebrate Robin Williams and traditional 2D animation today, on Aladdin’s 25th anniversary!
It’s the holidays. Gifts are needed, stat! Not only does ArtInsights have a brand-new, easy to navigate, purchase-friendly site, we also have a lot of great images in stock, ready to ship, or ready to be wrapped and carried out. Why is this an awesome thing? There comes a time when we all need new, exciting, surprising gifts for our loved one. What’s a person to do? Come to ArtInsights! Almost everyone loves movies, or cartoons, or superheroes, or all of the above! If you come home with the art actually created by the folks who make these essentials of pop culture, who work at the studios, make the posters, make the cartoons, you will be most valuable player of the holiday!! NO, buying a great gift isn’t the way to someone’s heart, but as Marilyn Monroe would say, “Gee! Doesn’t it help?” It shows you care enough to go out and find something super special that no one else would even think of.
Of course, if you buy at ArtInsights and it isn’t well received (a rare occurrence), you can always bring it back and trade it for something else!
We have art in all price ranges, from $50 to $98,000. (Want to buy an original by John Alvin, created in the process of making the Beauty and the Beast movie poster?)
Do come by and see what we have in our gallery in Reston Town Center, or check out the gift guide online. It’s easy to buy and we’ll ship it right out to you!
We will be at the gallery all weekend this weekend, Friday from 10am to 6pm, Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm…if you come into the gallery remember to register to win a sold out Marvel Captain America image by Alex Ross!
and if you are far-flung, on the web we are ALWAYS open, so great gifts are just a click away!
Contact us with any questions. email@example.com or 703-478-0778.