Category: Gallery News

ArtInsights Gallery is Building, Growing and Expanding!

We at ArtInsights are expanding, contracting, moving, shaking, and all good things. We are in the midst of adding some elements to our brick and mortar store, and at the same time making our website (hopefully) easier to navigate, as well as easier to maneuver when you want to buy!

As many of you know, even thought we are experts and have wonderful relationships with a lot of Disney and film artists, we have starting creating partnerships with contemporary artists that we are very excited about and fills us with pride. After being in business over 25 years, we wanted to add a component to ArtInsights that had social resonance

As I’m writing this, I’m considering what has happened in Las Vegas.  A friend lost someone there, and it reaffirmed the desire on my part, as art director, to only add art to the world that has a healing, or contemplative, or politically resonant component. We live in complicated times.  Times that require us to come together.  Some of us are related to, or connected to, people we don’t understand or agree with.  This is the time when, if nothing else, art will bridge that gap.

With that in mind, I want to let all our collectors and fans know we will have both studio art, meaning LucasFilm, Marvel, DC, Disney, and rogue film art like Blade Runner represented, and will be slowly adding our new projects under the heading of contemporary art. We are going to keep them separate, and there will be changes in the physical gallery coming up that will do that as well.  We hope you’ll come by and see what we have done when everything is all pulled together, and of course visit between now and then as well!

First thing on the agenda, after the sprucing of our new website, is to get a new door into our gallery to the front of the center, because there is a huge building being constructed across the street.  We’ll also have an awning to make us a bit more noticeable.  The interior of the gallery will be going through some changes as well, but those will be a bit slower in happening, since we want to construct a few cool elements that will take some design.

Check back often here on the site, and of course you can always give us a call at the gallery if you’re curious about some of the contemporary art projects we’re working on, or you are thinking of adding some contemporary art to any of your environments.  We have been are will be doing art consulting, both here and abroad in Europe and Asia.

Thanks so much and we look forward to exciting you with great new images of the best studio and contemporary art for collectors old and new!

Leslie and Michael

ArtInsights Gallery of Film and Contemporary Art

SO EXCITED ABOUT OUR SDCC 2017 San Diego Comic-Con panels!


SO EXCITED ABOUT OUR SDCC 2017 San Diego Comic-Con panels!

We have the announcement for the dates, times, and panelists for our panels at San Diego Comic-Con 2017!  For those of you going, let us know and we’ll try to get you in to the panel of your choice.  For those of you hanging back at home or on your yearly vacation with your toes in the sand and your head in the clouds, we will be filming them as usual and posting them when we return!

We are thrilled and honored by those who have helped once again to make these panels happen, not least the folks at ASIFA: Hollywood, Women in Animation, and Women in Film: LA, as well as the Women Rocking Hollywood sponsor, Wattpad Studios.

if you want an idea of the crazy experiences and what I do, go over to Barb, for which I wrote a little something:

Our three panels, that are are:


1:00-2:00 Women Rocking Hollywood: Women Directors Changing the Face of Film and Television Wonder Woman broke all records in Hollywood for a film helmed by a female directors.  Now What? While there’s still a long way to go to equal the number of women behind the camera with women, who make up 51% of the population, shows like Jessica Jones, Queen Sugar, and The Leftovers are making a huge difference by committing to the inclusion of female directors. This 2nd annual panel at SDCC focuses on the incredibly talented, successful women expanding opportunities for women in film who have made noise and winning awards with their work on both the big and small screens. Scheduled to appear: Kirsten Schaffer (exec director, Women in Film: LA) Tina Mabry (writer/producer/director: Queen of the South, director: Dear White People) Rosemary Rodriguez (writer/director: Silver Skies, director: Jessica Jones, The Walking Dead) Victoria Mahoney (director: Queen Sugar, Gypsy, American Crime) DeMane Davis (writer/director: Lift, director: Queen Sugar) Angela Robinson (writer/director: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, True Blood) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (writer/director: Love & Basketball, Beyond the Lights), the first woman of color hired to helm a superhero film for the upcoming Silver & Black.. Moderated by Leslie Combemale (Cinema Siren). Room 23ABC

10:00 to 11:00 Cartoon Creatives: Woman Power in Animation In this 2nd annual panel at SDCC, we examine the history and trajectory of women working inside feature and TV animation, and talk to directors and show runners of animated shows and specials across networks and studios, as well as a historian bringing to light some great hidden figures in our past.  These inspiring women are show invention and creativity that is expanding the industry. They talk about the rich history of women in animation, their mentors, what’s happening industry-wide, and inside their own exciting shows.  Scheduled to appear are Marge Dean (co-president, WIA, supervising producer SuperMansion) Mindy Johnson (film historian, author of the upcoming “Ink & Paint-The Women of Disney Animation”) Victoria Ying (visual development, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, Moana) Shadi Petosky (writer/producer Danger & Eggs, founder, Puny Studios) Julia Vickerman (writer, Powerpuff Girls, director, Rad Lands, Twelve Forever) Elaine Bogan (director, Trollhunters, Dragons: Race to the Edge) . Moderated by Leslie Combemale ( Room 23ABC


1:00-2:00 Women Rocking Hollywood: Women Directors Changing the Face of Film and Television Wonder Woman broke all records in Hollywood for a film helmed by a female directors.  Now What? While there’s still a long way to go to equal the number of women behind the camera with women, who make up 51% of the population, shows like Jessica Jones, Queen Sugar, and The Leftovers are making a huge difference by committing to the inclusion of female directors. This 2nd annual panel at SDCC focuses on the incredibly talented, successful women expanding opportunities for women in film who have made noise and winning awards with their work on both the big and small screens. Scheduled to appear: Kirsten Schaffer (exec director, Women in Film: LA) Tina Mabry (writer/producer/director: Queen of the South, director: Dear White People) Rosemary Rodriguez (writer/director: Silver Skies, director: Jessica Jones, The Walking Dead) Victoria Mahoney (director: Queen Sugar, Gypsy, American Crime) Aurora Guerrero (writer/director: Mosquita y Mari, director: Queen Sugar) Angela Robinson (writer/director: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, True Blood) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (writer/director: Love & Basketball, Beyond the Lights), the first woman of color hired to helm a superhero film for the upcoming Silver & Black.. Moderated by Leslie Combemale (Cinema Siren). Room 23ABC

meanwhile, you can find past panels here:

Wish us luck!  We’ll have our wonderful new salesgirl and wonder woman, Holly, here for part of while we’ll be gone, and you can check on our message machine or give the gallery a call for our hours while we’re in SDCC.  There will also be some SDCC releases you might want to find out about, and we’ll be posting about them the first day we are able and allowed!

Live long and prosper, do or do not, allons-y, etc.,

Leslie, Michael, Holly, and Christine, the whole SDCC gang.

January at ARTINSIGHTS: What we are doing about parking in Reston Town Center


About parking in Reston Town Center.  Those of you who know us know we don’t ask anyone to do anything we wouldn’t do.  While we don’t have a philosophical issue with paid parking in general and in Reston Town Center in specific, We aren’t pleased at all with the choices they’ve made putting it together and publicizing it.  A number of you don’t want to have to download the app, which requires saying yes to a number of permissions.  Beyond that, the technology utilized for parking involves taking a picture of your license plate.  On the Reston Town Center website, it says the system doesn’t keep the picture after you leave.  Some will be comfortable with that, others won’t.

Art by KC Green


COME ON THE WEEKENDS WHEN IT’S FREE!!  Starting next weekend, our hours:

Monday through Friday 10-6, Saturdays 10-6, Sundays 12-5.   

Should you WANT to come during the week, we will validate your parking with any purchase.  Either way we’re happy to see you, and thrilled with your support. We want to continue to grow and be happy about being here, because for the most part the company that now owns the center has been great. If they see significant damage to their position in the marketplace, they might make some changes, but we don’t want our gallery or any of the small businesses in the center to bear the brunt of their mistakes!  so again:

VISIT US ON THE WEEKENDS!  That way you can still enjoy all the great aspects of Reston Town Center.

Meanwhile, do let us know positive suggestions and thoughts in the comments!

Best and warmest to you all,

Michael and Leslie and the whole Artinsights crew.

Happy New Year from ArtInsights! What’s in store for 2017?

What does 2017 bring for ArtInsights? What can our friends and fans expect? We’re very excited about our plans, and we’d love to tell you a bit about them!

2016, by all accounts, was a pretty iffy year.  We, like the rest of the art world, were challenged by the experiences, losses, and surprises we all faced.  In the US, many artistic people are concerned about the future in a Trump presidency, even as our right-leaning friends suggest there’s nothing to worry about.  We have many wonderful LGBTQ and immigrant clients, so yes, we worry.

With that in mind, we have an amazing new project we will be promoting with Tennessee Loveless.  We can’t talk about it, really, but it is spectacular and very exciting.  It is political in nature.  How does this fit in with a gallery that focuses on animation and film art, you ask?  Well….

We are going to split focus starting in 2017.  It has been in the works for some time now.  As many of you may know, I (Leslie) have been working directly with artists creating and building proprietary projects unique to ArtInsights.  Two examples are The Art Outsiders with Tennessee Loveless, and The Image Projects with Jim Salvati.  Both projects just seem to be getting better and better, and more known, and we couldn’t be happier about that.

Here is our favorite piece so far from the “Musician’s Image”, a collection of music legends created not from any single picture, but from studying many different pictures and extrapolating a unique image from the collection of them.


Those of you who are artists know how impressive this is.  Very few artists can do this, but Jim Salvati excels at just that.  We have been slowly building our collection of these images and have some great announcements about the collection we’ll be making very soon.  Jim also started the “Sporting Image” with his instant classic representing Arnold Palmer.  We’ll be adding to that soon as well.  All these are part of a greater plan, and are going somewhere we can’t talk about at present, but those who are interested in commissioning their favorite musician or sports figure should contact me soon so they can get in on our plan, because it’s super cool (as are most things in which Jim takes part!) Of course Jim and I have to approve the image as part of our collection, but there are many very famous and wonderful musicians and athletes not yet spoken for…


Tennessee Loveless continues to get hotter.  Not only does he spend much of his “free time” building his collection of interviews and portraits for his personal project “Drag Landscapes”, he also just gets better with each successive Art Outsider portrait.  That’s not so say the first few aren’t amazing, they still floor me when I see them.  He’s just always changing, always evolving.  The latest pieces are just beautiful, especially Marlene Dietrich and Kate Bush (someone who inspired us both in our youth through to today).


He just charges forward, and he has more commissions already committed, as well as our new project that will be unveiled all at once, instead of one at a time.  Believe us, they will be more potent that way!  Follow us to see the art as it is released and announced, and of course if you are interested in a commission, let us know as soon as possible, especially as more is happening in his and our world together we can’t even talk about that will significantly influence his fame and, by extension, the prices of his originals!


(Marlene Dietrich Art Outsiders by Tennessee Loveless: contact us if interested)

As to the splitting of focus, we will still be representing the best of interpretive and original film and animation art, it just won’t be front and center on our site or our brick and mortar store.  Maybe you noticed we changed our name.  We are now “ArtInsights Gallery of Film and Contemporary Art.  We will have a new website that reflects all the new and awesome work we’ll be offering… and it will be a BETTER, SEARCHABLE site!  (HURRAY!) We will also have a dedicated section of our site, and will be happy to build your collections using our 28 years of experience.  We just are finding ourselves more and more committed to contemporary art and the artists who are searching for a place to speak their vision.  We want to help them speak, and find their audience, in any way we can.  We have not only the aforementioned projects,

and are EVER committed to representing and promoting the work of the incomparable and amazing film artist JOHN ALVIN, (who, in 2016, broke all records for the highest price for a piece of film key art with the 396k sale at auction of the E.T. movie poster original!)

but we have new ones in the works we are building in 2017!

We also have a great artist new to ArtInsights we will be promoting in the U.S. who is very successful and popular in his home country of England, Mark Davies.  His work will just blow you away.


(The Goonies)

Our show, which we are actively building as we speak, is a passion of mine and continues to excite me.  SO MANY IDEAS! Check out our new limited edition from his last show, all of which have remarques on them.



If you find his work compelling, contact us soon, because his work is going to go up in price really fast!  Right now, originals are around $6000 to $7000, and he loves nearly any movie you can imagine.  If he doesn’t, i’ll let you know and talk you out of it…you know my favorite movies?  He’s creating art from a number of them.  How synergistic is that for me, a film critic/art gallery owner?  VERY.

Lastly, those who live nearby or come to visit on occasion may have heard Reston Town Center is siting to paid parking as of January of 2017.  We have taken proactive action on behalf of our clients and friends.  We will validate your parking during the week, but also, since parking is free on the weekends, we’ll be open on both Saturday and Sunday, so we suggest coming to visit us then, because we’ll be making ArtInsights so much fun on the weekends you’ll WANT to come by!

We continue to be honored and touched by the support and loyalty of the clients and friends of ArtInsights.  After over 22 years in business, we are so appreciative to those who keep showing up, seeing what’s new, and embracing exciting new art year after year.

We know you could go anywhere.  And yet, you show up again and again, take our advice on new artists, and celebrate inventive, creative art we show you, whatever its origin or subject matter.  That is beyond cool.  It’s why we keep doing what we do.  Happy New Year to you all, and thanks for all your support, from Michael and I.

Best in the new year,


Leslie and Michael

ArtInsights Gallery of Film and Contemporary Art

NYCC 2016! ArtInsights is partnering with Alex Ross Art at New York Comic-Con! We have exclusives and world premieres:


We are really excited to be partnering with Alex Ross Art at New York Comic-Con! We’ll be there at booth 2328 from October 6th to Sunday the 9th.  If you have tickets, come see us.  If you don’t, they still have tickets for Thursday HERE.  The rest of the weekend is sold out.  We posted about our exclusives HERE.   We also have two new pieces being premiered there, which include the wonderful GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY image which you can read all about and order HERE.  …and there’s the exclusive premiere of CRISIS!


An image fans have been begging for for years, and we’re happy to bring it to you at NYCC!!  The information on that is HERE  Watch this blog, the front page of our website, and our Facebook page for the big reveal!

It was very exciting to be part of the decision of what the pieces would be, given the fact that having an exclusive at New York Comic-Con is such a big deal, but the folks at Alex Ross Art really wanted us to be a part of it all.  The Guardians of the Galaxy art being premiered is representative of one of my very favorite Marvel movies, and is the first time a production artist and production art of that series is being recreated as a limited edition.  The Crisis image is a HUGE deal to DC fans, so we are psyched! I want it myself <3

We are offering up the two exclusives at only one hour past the release at NYCC, so those of you who can’t make it or hate crowds or live far away can take advantage of the release and get a great low number if you go online on Thursday at 11:00 Eastern Standard Time.  We’ll take the orders as they come in, so as soon as you buy, we set the lowest number aside 🙂

They also gave us #1 in almost every edition they have created to date, which is wonderful for fans who love to get that special number.  It is usually kept in the archives but they really wanted to make a big splash at this convention, so they pulled out all the stops.  So glad we will be there as part of the fun!


As to the exclusives, I’ll tell you why I was particularly pleased with being able to have the images we’ll have in particular.  The Captain America image is super dramatic and as friends of mine know, he and Thor are my favorite Marvel characters, and always have been.  The Batman piece is great because, as silly as this sounds,rossbatmanexclusive I love when Batman actually looks like a bat, because bats, along with hummingbirds, are my favorite creatures in all the world. 

The Doctor Strange, although it has the smallest edition size, is my favorite of the three exclusives, because i’m really excited for the new movie and love all the trippy aspects of his storyline and the continuing journey from dark to light and back his character takes….and Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Doctor-Strange-NYCC-2016-Exclusive-Alex-RossI had to do research about Stephen Strange as part of representing the art and WOAH.  He has a seriously dark past with lots of loss.  I’m very intrigued to see the movie!  The character is very different from any others up till now, and there’s a spiritual element along with the archetypal Joseph Campbell-type stuff in it that makes me such a Star Wars fan.

We’ll be gone while we’re in NYC and the gallery will be closed for those days, but you all can email me with questions or concerns, or to see if we’ll have any of the exclusives left.

Wish us luck, and the right kind of Con-craziness!

Best to you all (and stay STRANGE)

Leslie at ArtInsights

Floyd Norman: An Animated Life review-Living Animation History


Playing for a week in four theaters across the country and available on blu-ray and on iTunes August 26th, FLOYD NORMAN: AN ANIMATED LIFE is a delightful and fascinating documentary about “Disney Legend” Norman, who is widely regarded as the first African-American animator, hired at Walt Disney Studios in 1956.  The tagline for this movie says “Animator. Storyman. Troublemaker.”, and whether you are one of Floyd’s many friends in the animation industry, or someone experiencing him for the first time through the documentary, there’s no question all three labels are equally true. The term “floydering” was coined in reference to this man, who continued to go to Disney every day after he retired, to draw, visit, and interact with other artists all day.  He is equal parts an easygoing, gregarious, friend-to-all, and a rabble-rouser who doesn’t suffer fools or bullying of those around him, regardless of the source.

It’s easy to find much to appreciate in the way Norman’s life is presented without too much interference by the filmmakers.  The kudos for that go to co-directors Erik Sharkey and Michael Fiore. It’s Norman himself and the people who know him best who do the narrating.  The audience is able to get a real sense of the man as the sum of his past experiences and how they have informed his current life.

The film begins with Norman’s wife Adrienne, also an artist and currently at Disney, as she describes what it’s like to go to work at Disney publishing with her retired husband only to find him hours later in the office he has adopted for his “post-retirement”.  What she jokingly calls squatting he reframes as a friendly face, visiting and giving helpful hints.  Since Norman has been working with Disney on and off as an animator and story artist since the 50s, it’s advice they should consider very carefully. He was let go and rehired repeatedly, and each time he departed, he went off to do something fascinating and noteworthy.  In the 60s, he started a production company that wound up capturing the riots in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles on film.  If you saw footage from that time, it was probably his company that filmed it.  His company was also responsible for creating the animated sequence in the opening of the famed dance show Soul Train. Even now, he’s a fixture at San Diego Comic-Con, a part of an extremely popular panel called  “Quick Draw” with his friend Sergio Aragones of Mad Magazine fame. He was also on my panel this year about diversity in the history of animation, and you can get to know him a bit here, and see why you might want to know all about his life and experiences:

As someone who knows Floyd, his family, and animator friends, it’s hard not to be biased towards the celebration of his life. In fact, when I know a filmmaker, I tend to be even more critical, just to make sure i’m not seeing through ‘rose-colored glasses’.  However, FLOYD NORMAN: AN ANIMATED LIFE has twists, surprises, and the sort of story arc that even the most objective viewer can appreciate.  These attributes are no less essential to a good documentary than to the best fictional releases, and they exist here without feeling forced or contrived.  The audience is treated to a wide variety of celebrities and artists talking about the man that is often labeled “The Forrest Gump of animation”. There is a balance of intimacy, when he, his close friends, and his family consider some of the more difficult times of his life, and humor, especially in the animated sequences by various artists that offer a nod to Norman’s own often satirical comic illustrations.

Incidentally, it’s those comic illustrations he’s been doing since the 50s that have propelled him into all sorts of new adventures.  They speak to his acerbic wit and willingness to fearlessly speak his mind, but as the best artists do,  through his art.  The most inspiring aspect of FLOYD NORMAN: AN ANIMATED LIFE is the fact that as straightforward and opinionated as he is and always has been, he has still succeeded and thrived as an artist.  One might even say those traits are some of his greatest gifts.  In this day of tiptoeing around the corporate world, and staying silent to stay safe, Floyd Norman proves there is a way to be kind, be true to yourself, and be honest, all at the same time, and live a long happy life by continuing to doing so.



Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 12.21.41 PM

For those of you who frequent either my art gallery Artinsights or the website Cinema Siren, we are going to be at SDCC 2016 next week with three panels.  That means we won’t be in the gallery, but we WILL be creating amazing stories and memories.  Anyone who will be at Comic-Con International: San Diego, I hope you’ll come to whatever panels interest you we’ve put together!  And i’ll take this moment to thank all the amazing women and men who have supported, promoted, or are taking part in any way in these events.  One thing i’ve learned and will never forget is that there are genuine, enthusiastic, people in LA and working in Hollywood who still maintain their optimism and believe in making the world of film better!

You may not believe this, but there are actually nice, well-meaning agents and studio reps.  YES, YOU HEARD ME! 

Here are the three panels I’ve spent the better part of the last year putting together.  Do I believe in the subject matter? YES! There are lots of people spending hours outside their actual job trying to make change, and they deserve to be heard.  As long as I can and whatever way I can, i’ll shine a spotlight on anyone with vision and an open heart.  I invite you to do all you can to promote these people, and anyone who is working to make Hollywood more diverse and inclusive, while providing AWESOME entertainment!  Also let me send out a hearty thanks and express my gratitude to both Wattpad, the sponsor for our Women Rocking Hollywood panel, and Women In Animation, who sponsored our Cartoon Creatives panel. 


4:30 – 5:30 Cartoon Creatives: Women Power in AnimationWhile Women in Animation’s initiative strives to have a 50/50 workforce in the animation world by 2025, there are women leading the charge right now, creating, innovating, and guiding cartoons into a future filled with talent that goes beyond gender, and their fans are loving every minute of it. Scheduled to appear are Lauren Faust (creator, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) Brooke Keesling (director of animation talent development at Disney TV Animation) Lauren Montgomery (co-executive producer, Voltron: Legendary Defender)  Stevie Wermers-Skelton (co-director, the upcoming Frozen Holiday Special) Gina Shay (producer, the upcoming Trolls) Katie Krentz (senior director of development: Cartoon Network, Steven Universe), Daron Nefcy (creator/executive producer, Star vs. the Forces of Evil) and Marge Dean (co-president, Women in Animation) to discuss their experiences and upcoming projects.  Moderated by Leslie Combemale of Animation Scoop.  Rm 24ABC


1:30 – 2:30  Cartoon Legends Speak: Diversity in the History of AnimationA panel featuring great artists including Disney Legend, and first African-American animator hired at Walt Disney Studios, Floyd Norman (The Jungle Book, Monsters, Inc), first African-American animator to get a screen credit and award winning illustrator Ron Husband (The Rescuers, The Little Mermaid), Japanese-American and Inkpot winner Willie Ito (Lady & the Tramp, The Flintstones), Jane Baer (Sleeping Beauty, Roger Rabbit) discuss their careers, their futures, and how diversity has played a role in their artistic lives.  Moderated by Leslie Combemale of Animation Scoop. Room: 24ABC


2:00 – 3:00 Women Rocking HollywoodThis exciting new panel features powerful, talented women changing Hollywood from the inside.  As creatives, directors, and producers, they are breaking box office records and showing Hollywood altering the status-quo just makes for better movies. Scheduled to appear are Victoria Alonso (exec producer, Doctor Strange, Captain America: Civil War), Deborah Snyder (producer, Wonder Woman, Justice League) Angela Robinson (writer/director, D.E.B.S., True Blood, How to Get Away With Murder) Catherine Hardwicke (director, Twilight, upcoming Love Letters to the Dead) and Kirsten Schaffer (exec director, Women in Film: LA)  talking about positive changes in tinsel town, their work, and future projects. Marvel, DC, blockbusters, indies, and powerful women-This panel brings it all! Moderated by Leslie Combemale of Cinema Siren. Room: 25ABC

If you won’t be at SDCC, as many around the world, you can watch our panels on our YouTube Cinema Siren and ArtInsights channels, or you wait and see them when we post them on our websites.  As for ArtInsights, we’ll be back on Wednesday, July 27th.  Come visit, call, or chat online.  Meanwhile you can also read a bit more about my experience putting together the panels HERE on my column for Animation Scoop.


Cartoon Creatives panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego Announced!

So now that it’s on the official schedule on the comic-con website, I can officially announce my first panel in San Diego!  I am honored to have such an amazing collection of women taking part in this discussion. Marge Dean, of Women in Animation, who are sponsoring the panel, will be explaining the current state of the industry, and we will be chatting with some super creative people about their ideas, artistry, and inspiration!
4:30 Thursday, July 21st.
While Women in Animation’s initiative strives to have a 50/50 workforce in the animation world by 2025, there are women leading the charge right now, creating, innovating, and guiding cartoons into a future filled with talent that goes beyond gender, and their fans are loving every minute of it. Scheduled to appear are Lauren Faust (creator, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), Brooke Keesling(director of animation talent development at Disney TV Animation), Lauren Montgomery (co-executive producer, Voltron Legendary Defenders), Stevie Wermers-Skelton (co-director, the upcoming Frozen Holiday Special), Gina Shay (producer, the upcoming Trolls), Katie Krentz (director of development: Cartoon Network, Steven Universe), Daron Nefcy (creator/executive producer, Star vs. the Forces of Evil) and Marge Dean (co-president, Women in Animation), talking about their experiences and upcoming projects. Moderated by Leslie Combemale of Animation Scoop. Room 24ABC.
If you are going to the con, go to the site and let us know you’re coming to our panel! We have some cool giveaways, and smart, talented women have created some of the best animation out there!
Here’s the link on the official SDCC website:

In Mortal Combat

The NEW Alex Ross Art Collection: How Alex Ross and his team created an art program with Marvel, DC, Beatles, and more!

Lots has been happening in the world of the superhero, and now is the perfect time to update fans of superhero art! Have you seen Captain America: Civil War yet? Well, surprisingly timely is the roll-out of the new Alex Ross art collection, and it’s just getting started.  We are happy to be part of their team of galleries, and one of only three with the first assortment actually physically in the gallery, so you can get your eyes on the art.

You may be wondering what all the fuss is about, since Alex Ross art has been available to fans since the days of the Warner Brothers stores.  Don’t worry, I’m here to explain it to you.

Those of you who have been following the career of Alex Ross, who of late has had exhibits in the likes of the Warhol and Rockwell museums, and has been placed in national museums around the world, know that Ross has been one of the very few comic book and pop culture illustrators to help break that art into the “real art” world.  This is actually a big deal, especially for those who believe the work by the creators of comic books deserve artistic recognition like me.

The story behind how Ross and his own team started a new art program is pretty innocuous.  Apparently he just wanted control of his own artistic destiny, and they figured now is the time. 

The company that first sold his art was Clampett Studio, which is run by people who basically made him famous through his exposure in the Warner Brothers stores.  In fact, Clampett Studio, and the artists they represent, should absolutely be on your radar and here’s why: Clampett Studio, which is run by Ruth Clampett, the daughter of famed Warner Brothers animator Bob Clampett, is the one company that sells art of the comic books, cartoons, and film that only sells art created by artists who actually work on the movies.  THEY ARE THE ONLY ONE.  and what’s more, they support the artists.  Once someone works with them, they never look back.  If you love the art of Alex Ross, you partially have Ruth Clampett and those who work with her to thank.

As i mentioned, she still has art by Alex Ross available, but those signed by him are selling out fast.  We can access and sell you anything on her website, and I urge you to support her artists and collections.  Jim Lee is still part of her assortment, for example, as is all the OFFICIAL art of Harry Potter.  You can dive into the Alex Ross works available HERE.

For all the assortments on Clampett Studio, go HERE.

So, back to this new Alex Ross collection….they decided to take the reigns back and start their own art program.  Normally, Warner Brothers wouldn’t let an artist make a decision like that, but this is Alex Ross.  Now that they’ve taken the art program in-house, and with a big splash in Los Vegas with a release of Beatles art, they are forging forward.

The person in charge of their art program is an old friend, and I am absolutely 100% behind her and the Alex Ross Art program, because she always knows how to build a great collection, limit releases, and consider the collector. She is a fan, and a fan who knows the business is the best person in the world to create a lasting collection of art.

Now might be a good time for full disclosure. I haven’t always loved all of Ross’s work.  I think some of it looks very frenetic, and too full of color.  Yet, somehow, the new work has a calmness, a grace to it, that rises above much of the art i’ve seen before.  For example, limiting the color palate in this collection of four images and making them a series that visually complements each other was brilliant.  Also, the painting of Wonder Woman is, to my mind, one of the best pieces he’s ever done.  The crazy thing is, it’s in an edition of only 50.  I assume it’s because they want their first pieces to blow through and succeed with a sell out.  YES!

Shadows: Wonder Woman

What does all this mean for you?  It means great art, well curated, considered, and controlled.  The first release was impressive onscreen, but when it came in, I was gobsmacked. ESPECIALLY the Wonder Woman and the Captain America v Iron Man.  If you’re in the area, come in and see the art.  Also, I forgot to mention there are several pieces that are only $150, and on canvas, representing both DC and Marvel.  I am sorely tempted to buy some of it myself!

Liberty and Justice: JLA

All New All Different Avengers

Lastly, although it’s likely you won’t have access, we WILL be getting some originals by Alex to sell.  While you can get art directly from his company, they will be releasing special production graphites that won’t be available through them that you can get from the galleries.  Not only is this a great sign they are committed to the galleries, it also means we can get wonderful original art for his fans!

I hope you’ll come by if you live in the area, but if you don’t, I still hope you’ll peruse the art on Clampett Studios, and on our own site created by Alex Ross and buy from us.  The museum exhibits coming up and the work he’s doing with both Marvel and DC speak to Ross’s expanding fame and success, and if you love comic books, his work is a great way to bring it into your home and celebrate your love of all things superhero! Also, he is one of the only artists who can create the art of the Beatles.  Here’s the piece that’s both a limited edition, and very inexpensive:

Fab Four Yellow Submarine Mini Canvas by Alex Ross

Meanwhile, contact ArtInsights if you have any questions, or are looking for particular characters.  We’d also love to hear from you about what you thought of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR.  To get you all the more excited, here’s Cinema Siren’s review, which includes interviews with both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.

AND if you want to see all the new Alex Ross art for sale at the gallery, go HERE!

Thanks and until next time, LET’S GO, CAP!

Leslie, for ArtInsights

New Batman Adventures Original Production Cel You Scratch My Back

The Official Art of DC show-The Art of Batman: The Animated Series

Batman The Animated Series Original Production Cel Lion and the Unicorn

In the history of our having the art of DC at ArtInsights, which has been over 23 years, I’ve seen some pretty spectacular cels and backgrounds from Batman and Superman.  I have a particular fondness for art from Batman: The Animated Series.  I remember one background of the Arkham Asylum that was all dark blues and blacks, with some gorgeous details and a creep factor that rose above Nigel Tufnel’s 11.

I also remember a cel of Batman that had absolutely everything anyone who loved the character would want.  He was next to the Batmobile, gadgets in-hand, cape flying.  I’ve learned that really the first season of episodes from Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 are the best in terms of art.  After a while, creator and character designer Bruce Timm altered the way the cartoon looked, making it more anime-inspired, which was fun to watch, but not nearly as compelling as art.

The people of Clampett Studio Collections who have the rights to sell animation from these cartoons know my taste.  They know I really only want cels and backgrounds from the early part of the series.  They know I also feel that way about the Superman series. The problem is, it’s been years since the show, and there’s not nearly as much available now as there first was.  Imagine my giddy pleasure at opening up what they sent for our Batman v Superman: The Art of DC show and finding a really great assortment of older and newer cels!

Many fans know this, but occasional viewers may not be aware of the star power utilized as voice talent on Batman: The Animated Series.  Kevin Conroy won out over reputedly hundreds of other voice actor hopefuls, and to no surprise, given he studied at Juilliard under actor John Houseman, during which time he lived with Robin Williams.  Here is an interview with him on a podcast…

Here’s a fun interview with Kevin at the Denver Comic-Con:

It was there I first learned Mark Hamill as The Joker had a singular ability as a voice artist, and indeed that’s what drove me to buy the audio book for World War Z, in which Hamill has an pivotal role.  Here’s a great little vid about him and the character with both he and Bruce Timm:

Mark Hamill’s not the only well-cast actor, though.  Here are just a few of the people you might recognize that take part in the series:

Melissa Gilbert: The former star of Little House on the Prairie plays Barbara Gordon and Batgirl

Marilou Henner: The actress from Taxi plays Veronica Vreeland

Adam West: TV’s favorite Batman plays Simon Trent and The Gray Ghost

Arleen Sorkin: The actress who plays Calliope Jones on Days of Our Lives is Harley Quinn

Paul Williams: The dude from Phantom of the Paradise and singer extraordinaire is The Penguin

Adrienne Barbeau: Former sex symbol and star of the original of Steven King’s The Myst is Catwoman

Ron Perlman: Hellboy is Clayface!

Roddy McDowall: The child star of Lassie and star of classic cult favorite Planet of the Apes is The Mad Hatter

Ed Asner: Multi-award winning vocal star of UP plays corrupt businessman Roland Daggett

Kate Mulgrew: Everyone’s favorite starship captain plays Red Claw

Helen Slater: Supergirl and the co-star of The Secret of My Success is Talia

Treat Williams: The star of 1979’s Hair plays Professor Achilles Milo

Michael York: The star of 1973’s The Three Musketeers and cult fave Logan’s Run is Count Werner Vertigo

I love that in 1992 Entertainment Weekly rated Batman: The Animated Series as one of the top shows of the year. It certainly endures as a longterm favorite among cartoon aficionados.  I’m happy to have the art to sell and look at every day at my gallery. Here are a few favorites:



“BATMAN V SUPERMAN: Official Art of DC Comics” Exhibit opening at ArtInsights March 2nd


Reston, VA: ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery is hosting an exhibit of limited edition and original comic book and animation art featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, the characters soon to be the central focus of Zack Snyder’s new movie “Batman V Superman” premiering March 25th. Other popular DC Comics superheroes and villains will also be for sale and on display. The show runs from March 2 through April 4 at ArtInsights, 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston, Virginia 20190, in Reston Town Center.

The images on exhibit will encompass the work of a variety of well-known figures in the comics and cartoon world, including limited editions by Jim Lee, renowned artist and co-Publisher of DC Entertainment, and production art from Bruce Timm’s Batman and Superman animated series. Says Leslie Combemale, co-owner of ArtInsights, “I love that the world of movies is catching up to what comic book fans have known for years. Comic book art is real art, and so is production art from the superhero cartoons. It’s made by the artists who celebrate these characters and keep them at the forefront of pop culture.  No one represents that more than Jim Lee, and we’re proud to have his art, and the art of these icons gracing our walls.” Continues Combemale, “It’s so much fun, seeing kids and cosplayers dressed as their favorite hero or villain, coming in.  They often leave with art, but always with smiles on their faces!”


Established in 1994, ArtInsights is a privately owned gallery located just outside of Washington, DC at Reston Town Center, in Virginia. The gallery presents important images from the 20th and 21st century film art genre, including original art from the masters of film and moving entertainment. From film campaign artists to concept and layout artists to production designers and animators, ArtInsights represents a wide collection from the giants and up and comers of film art. The gallery exclusively represents the original art of the great cinema poster artist John Alvin, and also exhibits Tim Rogerson, Jim Salvati, Mike Kungl, and Chuck Jones, among others. Featured studios include Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and 20th Century Fox. ArtInsights also features contemporary art by artists such as the innovative Tennessee Loveless, who is known for his portraits of drag queens and pop icons. With more than 30 years’ experience, the owners work with their worldwide collector base to build and insure the integrity of their collections. See and learn more on the website and on the web magazine, and hear and see movie reviews by owner Leslie Combemale’s alter ego, Cinema Siren, all of which are published on her site,  as well as on Indiewire,,, and other recognized outlets dedicated to film worldwide.


Remembering Alan Rickman & Celebrating Harry Potter


Yes, the loss of Alan Rickman is felt acutely by lovers of Harry Potter and all those in the HP fandom. 


Rickman brought Professor Snape to life in a way no one else could, and created a much bigger audience for the movies out of his many fans.  As much as I loved the books, having Alan Rickman announced as Snape just made me all the more excited and committed to watching the entire film series.  The film series is full of wonderful actors, but it is because of him, first and foremost, that I became so attached to it.

I’ve been to many conventions, been a part of lots of panels, and sold hundreds of pieces of official Harry Potter art.  I’ve seen Alan Rickman in plays for years, and even felt a kinship because he was connected to RADA (I went there) and we shared a birthday (February 21st). I know from my fellow HP fans, collectors, and production artists that Snape, and by extension Alan Rickman as that character, came to be a representative for all things misunderstood, weird, and wonderful.

Snape was both good and bad, trapped and stymied by his overwhelming love and bitterness.  He was a cautionary tale and an inspiration. There are few characters that do that as well.

As an actor, it’s a powerful legacy to have built from just one character.  Of course many remember him as Hans Gruber from Die Hard, but he had a long and stellar career both on stage and screen. Sometimes he was the picture of subtlety, sometimes an intentional scenery-chewer, but always compelling to watch.


Reportedly, he was also kind and giving as a colleague and friend.  Daniel Radcliffe said in 2014, “Alan has cut short holidays that he’s been having to come and see me in plays, and take me out for dinner afterwards to talk to me about stuff.  I think when he realized how serious I was about wanting to be an actor, and he knew what a particular world the Potter set was to grow up in, he just sort of made it his – he just really wanted to help us all and has been very helpful to me, certainly.”

Here is what Dan wrote in tribute to Alan at his passing:

Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that. I know other people who’ve been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say, ‘If you call Alan, it doesn’t matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he’s doing, he’ll get back to you within a day.’

People create perceptions of actors based on the parts they played so it might surprise some people to learn that contrary to some of the sterner (or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny. And certain things obviously became even funnier when delivered in his unmistakable double-bass.

As an actor, he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child. Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man.


We were just preparing a show of Harry Potter art called “Sorcerers in Snow: Hogwarts in Winter”, when we were approached by the founder of the site about raising awareness and funds for a charity Rowling had started called Lumos. Lumos endeavors to make the institutionalization of children in the world a distant memory. We backtracked and added that we’d donate 10% of sales proceeds to Lumos . Then this morning we found out fans had lost their Snape, and of course we wanted to donate to one of Rickman’s causes as well, so we added a charity he supported, Saving Faces. It does research, aids in treatment, and works to expand awareness about facial diseases like oral cancer. Both charities are worthy and important, and we always love having a charity component when we have an exhibit or collection.  The idea is to hopefully do well and do good at the same time.

It feels like a way to channel our sadness at a loss, with a proactive way of celebrating not only the work of J.K Rowling, but the life of an amazing actor who inspired us with his work and life.  We can bring attention to charities that might make the world a little better, and raise a little money for them as well.  If you are interested in donating directly, or want more information on the charities, go to  and  To see our collection of art from Harry Potter, go to our HARRY POTTER PAGE.

Cinema Siren’s Top 10 Movie Posters of 2015 (with help from Andrea Alvin and Bill McCloskey!)


Below you’ll find Cinema Siren’s Top 10 Movie Posters of 2015, AS WELL AS added opinions and thoughts from Andrea Alvin and Bill McCloskey–both who were involved in the making of some of the best movie posters in recent film history!

Go here to go to the youtube vid.

The past is the past.  As someone who celebrates traditional illustration in movie posters, it’s hard to say.  It’s not that there are any nods or actual illustrations being used to promote new films, or that there won’t be a resurgence, but the era that genius artists like John Alvin and Richard Amsel made their own is gone forever.  And there are reasons for that.  Not only are many of the greats lost to us, having passed away, but more importantly, the world of film promotion has changed so significantly.  When the artists who brought us posters like the one for E.T. and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK created their memorable images, the closest thing they had to a social network was word of mouth.  An advance poster, as John Alvin would say, created “the promise of a great experience”.  It had to. We as movie fans couldn’t click to see a trailer, or see a youtube featurette, or read about the coming attractions on the hundreds of film blogs vying for fans’ attentions.  Just today, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange rose to the top of trending topics on Facebook.

So posters, and movie campaigns as a whole, have had to embrace and use the times.  As a result, these top posters reflect the new way in which art directors, brand managers, and studios are leveraging fandoms around the world and the power of social media in their campaigns.  Some of these images attempt to harken back to the golden age of movie posters, and some still attempt to grab and hold at least a fraction of the attention of curious film lovers with just one image. Good for them.  As the representative of the estate of film artist John Alvin, I applaud them.  It is through that experience, my knowledge as a film critic, a movie lover, and as an expert in film art, I offer my top movie posters of the year. 

In the interest of you not just taking my word for it, I have also enlisted Bill McClosky, former art director at Intralink Film Graphic Design and Andrea Alvin, John Alvin’s wife and partner in Alvin and Associates, to add their comments and insights.



Since a blending of photoshop and photography creates the palette for most film posters these days, the best find ways to connect with the audience in a visceral way—and make potential viewers both curious and excited. This visual riff on a playing card shows an equal power between the masculine and the feminine in the film, while suggesting the action is both off kilter and off the charts.  This poster reminds fans of the Divergent series while motivating potential viewers to check out the franchise.

Andrea Alvin:  I like the formality and elegance of this design and its allusion to the ying and yang symbol. It’s an image of the two characters in a world that is coming apart. Its visually appealing and conceptually tells a story.

Bill McCloskey: I agree with both Leslie and Andrea on this one, in addition I think this does something very unique to movie posters – it changed orientation. One of the most frustrating things, as well as a benefit, as a designer of movie campaigns is the size and orientation of the poster is consistently one shape and one proportion, this campaign switches the focus to the top and the bottom of the frame, in addition to the symmetry of the opposing figures.



This campaign offers great tag-lines (“Heroes Don’t Get Any Bigger”, “No Shield. No Armor. No Problem.”)  and uses the leverage of Marvel power to promote a movie that had gotten quite a bit of negative press.  Their designs made huge strides in rebranding the film.  The advance is fun and cheeky, but the series that thumbs its nose at the big boys who have brought in so much money for Marvel while reminding us the character is part of the Marvel team was genius, and positioned the film as funnier than its predecessors.  Fans got what they expected at the multiplex.

Andrea Alvin: I love the copy line. Its strong and funny. This is a great image. It tells us that this little guy will stand up to the big and powerful and hold his own. Its a strong graphic and an image we can remember and it brands the film.

Bill McCloskey: This has one of the best composition elements going for it…Contrast in size. This also benefits from being able to utilize two other fantastic franchises, Captain America and Iron Man, but they were used so tastefully and with minimal exploitation, they serve the image rather than dominate it.



Is it the 70s? Does it matter?  The campaign for American Ultra had to draw the stoner contingent as well as those who love Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart’s other work.  This poster says, “Pot!, Guns!, America!”.  The film had to do the rest.

Bill McCloskey: Teaser posters tend to be able to exploit the size and position of certain elements. I love the title treatment as that was the element I mostly designed during my career. There will be a problem utilizing this in the final campaign because it will require putting on the most disgusting element of the movie poster…the billing block, as that size is always determined by the physical size of the logo’s lettering.



With the original logo still intact, this poster for Jurassic World reminds its audience dinosaurs, and the humans they want to eat, are front and center in the story.  Juxtaposed images of a white computer room and controlling businesswoman and a dino surrounded by foliage, pit technology against nature. Those who are fans of the franchise know nature always wins.  This image suggests Jurassic World may show that to audiences in a new and exciting way.

Andrea Alvin: This is a strong composition. Dividing the poster into two equal images makes the viewer very conscious of the two competing worlds in the film. I feel like the dino side is still a bit pristine, and could benefit from a more visceral and menacing shot of the beast. For me, it lacks the tension that I believe the designers were trying to allude to.

Bill McCloskey: I agree Andrea, the success here is in the composition of the opposing elements, I would also like to see a bit more “grit” to the dinosaur’s environment.



Whether with traditional illustration or photo images, sometimes using the star power of the film lead is the best way to insure box office success.  No one wants to see Matt Damon trapped forever on Mars.  This simple, dramatic image, coupled with a clever collection of astronaut videos meant to go viral, meant far more fans attended the first weekend of release, thereby leveraging word of mouth for this great film’s ultimate success.

Andrea Alvin: This poster has the feeling of a high quality “Missing person” poster. I like its call to action. It’s a good way to present a poster using the star power of Matt Damon. I might have tried a subtle reflection of the Martian landscape to show his desolation.

Bill McCloskey: I love this poster and this one breaks the mold a bit with its big, superimposed, simple copyline. Usually we try and create a nice clear space in the composition for the placement of the copyline, here it runs right over our star’s face, but the line breaks perfectly between his gaze and his mouth. Having worked with Ridley Scott before he also likes to bury the credits, see if you can find his above title credit.




Promotion for the Shaun the Sheep movie had to get both longtime fans of the show and potential viewers onboard for their release to make some bleating money.  These riffs on other blockbusters were a clever way to reinforce love from the fans and pique the curiosity of animation aficionados they wished to add to their flock.  From Spectre, and Mission: Impossible to the Fantastic Four and Ant-Man, this campaign shamelessly leveraged other designs, and to great effect!

Andrea Alvin: I love both of these posters. They have treated the animated characters with all the seriousness of an action movie and that makes it funny. This is a campaign aimed at savvy adults. I want to see it.

Bill McCloskey: I agree with both Andrea and Leslie, to bring animation into the mainstream you have to engage the adult audience and both of these posters do it cleverly.


4: XX

With all the fuss about women in film and the dearth thereof, here is a film with women directors helming four unique stories.  The poster, like the subject of this anthology, is killer! If a graphic poster is used, it’s essential it reads from far away and causes curiosity in the viewer.  The best posters advance knowledge of films that might otherwise stay unknown. This dramatic image does the trick and deserves a big smooch!

Andrea Alvin: This is a really effective poster. It looks like the european campaigns done in the 70’s or 80’s – very artistic. At first viewing, I know its about women and that its scary. It works.

Bill McCloskey: It’s always tough to make a graphic image have a double read and this one is very clever on how it accomplishes meshing both of the images. You also can’t get more striking than red on black.



No one in the public saw this movie as the colossus it became, until the posters started hinting at spectacle beyond our imagining.  That’s what a great movie campaign does.  One of the best aspect of this collection of images is they are created by a diversity of agencies, but still maintain a consistent look. The tagline “What a Lovely Day” will live on, as will the memory of this particularly poster, which captures the “High Noon” vibe of one man facing an impossible undertaking. Gratefully, he has Imperator Furiosa to help!

Andrea Alvin: This is a very successful poster. It is difficult to create a poster for a movie that is so full of details and images, without it becoming “ beef stew.” That is a term we used to use when the art was full of details and had no focal point. It is something we see a lot of today in poster design. This poster solves this particular problem beautifully.  The formal composition, with nearly everything stacked in a line down the middle of the page emphasises the concept of one man against the world. The “world,” represented as a beheamoth mass of men and machines emerging from a noxious mix of fire and smoke, is portrayed as one huge form with the many details contained within it.  Our hero, sihlouetted with his back to us shows his potential strength of character. The story and conflict are all here in this image… and it looks good too.

Bill McCloskey: Leslie has hit the nail on the head. The word of mouth that started coming out about this movie established how truly amazing the imagery in this film was going to be. Also evoking our main character’s stand against the masses is always a “go to” theme. As Andrea also mentioned it’s hard to create an “atmospheric” look with out creating a mish mash up of elements. The forced depth of field is what really helps pull that off.







How do you keep the head of visual development and his team happy at Marvel? Or any artist, for that matter? You let them sign their work (note the signature).  The special release poster was a wonderful way to excite Avengers fans at SDCC 2014, and in fact was 8 images pieced together, all of which were their own advance posters. All of which were signed by the artists. The creators involved were the head of visual development for Marvel, Ryan Meinerding, and 2 of his concept art cohorts, Andy Park and Charlie Wen. The Eclipse agency added to the momentum by creating both an illustration mimic, and design that reads from far away and close up, like a Where’s Shield version of  Where’s Waldo. Marvel has always respected diverse designs and ideas for promotion, and it shows in their ever-increasing fandom.

Bill McCloskey: Well you can’t forget the fan boys and girls. So limited edition posters are perfect. Comic-Con is known for its giveaways and I’m sure this was a hit. I would have tried to collect them all.






The secret of success for the Hunger Games Mockingjay part 2 campaign is in part the art photography of Tim Pale.  He is both the chief brand officer and international marketing president at Lionsgate and a talented photographer. Pale has taking photographs of all the major players in the Hunger Games franchise from the beginning, and pursuaded Lionsgate to use the images in the campaigns’ propaganda-based designs.  The result is a collection of gorgeous, compelling images that went viral and reaffirmed the value of artistic presentation in movie posters. The campaign for the last Hunger Games film got even halfhearted fans back into the theaters. It may also influence the look of future movie art.  A campaign can be successful, inventive, artistic, and visually diverse.

Andrea Alvin: The single figure against the clouds is a very successful poster in my opinion. The propoganda posters were a natural fit for this movie because of the political nature of the subject. The heroic photos are gorgeous and the top poster has the feel of a Maxfield Parrish painting as well. 

Bill McCloskey: Over the years, studios have begun to rely on pre-marketing images. In my olden days, the 80s, we sometimes had to beg, borrow and steal for decent photography for John Alvin to illustrate from, but these days it appears special photographic shoots before principal photography is done allows for design firms to create teaser posters that can start to define the product to the public. Sometimes these images won’t tie into the main campaign at the end, but they will still succeed at keeping the word of mouth going.

Andrea: The art of the movie poster is not dead, its just different. There are fewer examples of thoughtful, concept driven and good looking posters, but I don’t think that is the fault of the artists and designers, rather a short sighted view on the part of the studios. The purpose of the poster to brand a movie is the same as it has always been, although it is not being utilized. One great poster can be the movie’s calling card in the theatre or when choosing a movie to watch on a streaming service. Most are lost in a muddle of images that are unforgettable. Thank you Leslie, Cinema Siren, for pointing out some very nice examples of what is being done today in movie marketing.

Bill: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to comment on some of the current standouts in one sheet design. Would I love to see more graphic images and illustrations come back into the marketplace? Who said they’re gone? The hyper real photocomposition on “Star Wars – The Force Awakens” blends the two so well, it’s hard not to look at that campaign as the type of illustrations we used to see from the greats: Alvin, Amsel and Peak!

Thanks to both Andrea and Bill for offering their thoughts, and congratulations to all the agencies and artists who created the chosen images and campaigns.  Here’s hoping there will be some traditionally illustrated posters on the list in 2016, and that the best images continue to inspire and excite those of us who love movies to keep finding our new favorite films!

Happy 2016 from ArtInsights!


It may well be that Shakespeare wrote that “expectation is the root of all heartache”,  but he also said “all things are ready, if our mind be so”…

Being in small business isn’t for sissies, that’s for sure.  In 2015, some great things happened, (50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, I’m looking at you!) and some things we all had to rise above.  We worked far more often and had to be very smart about how to stay in the game, or figure out how to make a game of our own!

Not only have we, as an art gallery, found some wonderful art and created new connections and relationships that will blossom in the new year, I’ve personally expanded beyond the ArtInsights videos to my Cinema Siren youtube channel, and if you haven’t checked it and the site out, you should! I’m also writing for the blog Animation Scoop on Indiewire, and will continue to do so with some articles and interviews I can’t wait to do which will promote animation in all forms.  I’m turning my focus more and more on women in film, and you can expect some cool stuff on that front as well!

Looking forward to 2016 at ArtInsights, i’m very excited and full of optimism.  We have some wonderful plans we can’t quite yet announce, but they are big and they are awesome!  We’ve always been very supportive of artists, as well as the sanctity of creative works—promoting the art behind some of the biggest films and cartoons in history, but also promoting the artists who did that work.  We are also wanting to do more with charity connections in a way that actually makes a difference.  Our new endeavors in 2016 are all about that!

We are building to something great, and will love to report back as it takes shape!  Till then, thanks for all your support and loyalty, and your senses of humor in 2015, and your love of art, movies, and animation which, like mine, will only get stronger and more passionate!  Happy 2016 from ArtInsights, and STAY TUNED!


It’s all up to us, so let’s pick up our hammers and rule 2016 like the Asgard gods and goddesses we are!

Best to all,

Leslie of ArtInsights (aka Cinema Siren)

Happy 25th Anniversary, Reston Town Center!


“IN CELEBRATION–it’s a NEVER BEFORE AND NEVER AGAIN kind of announcement!”

We are letting our “Business Besties” who read our blog, are fans of us, and keep up with our “goings on” know that we are doing something very special, something we’ve NEVER done before, (and won’t do again!), for the 25th anniversary of Reston Town Center and in conjunction with the day of celebration happening in the center on Sunday, October 18th, from 12:00 to 4:00 pm.

This shopping center was part of the first planned community of its kind in the country, and was all the brainchild of Robert E. Simon.  Bob recently passed away with his usual grace and lots of admirers, at the age of 101, on September 21st. Any of you who knew him know he will be missed!

ArtInsights has been here since the beginning.  Before our lovely wood floor was installed in 11921 Freedom Drive, there was dirt.  DIRT! We saw ten different stores and businesses open and close across the hall in that time, only to finally see them put the management office in the space…as if we needed a reminder that retail isn’t for the faint of heart!!

We are so grateful to the many loyal and supportive clients and friends we’ve had all this time, and we are so proud to say Bob Simon was one of those clients, and a good friend to the store.  Only a few weeks before he passed, I saw him doing his usual walk around the center and said Hi.  He invited me to walk with him and asked me how the store was doing.  (I thought i’d have to remind him who we were.  Instead he brought up the last framing job Michael did for him.)

In honor of our still moving forward, (Huzzah!) still being here, still making new friends, being supported by longtime clients… … and in honor of Robert E. Simon and his lifetime of commitment to bettering the environments around him, we are going to offer 25% off of every single thing that is in our store at Reston Town Center, to anyone who comes into the store between 12 pm and 4 pm on October 18th.

You can be a part of the many other festivities in the center that day as well, which include live music, free refreshments, and pumpkin decorating. It’s going to be a fun day, and we’d love to see you!

so…HAPPY 25th ANNIVERSARY, RESTON TOWN CENTER!! and thank you all for your support!

*the small, or teeny, tiny, but stating the obvious, print:

Only people who come in to the gallery or call about art hanging in the gallery will qualify for the 25% off, and the 25% is only from exactly 12 pm to 4 pm eastern standard time. This is not for use with special orders, commissions, or pieces not yet released. Should shipping be required as part of the sale, costs are whatever is quoted by the shipping company being used.

Call us if you have any questions or are curious if something on our site is actually in our store, that you can call about or visit us to buy on the anniversary.

John Alvin Honored by His High School


A few days ago, John Alvin was inducted into The Hall of Fame at his high school, Pacific Grove High School.  His sister Suzanne Alvin was there to accept the honor and talk a bit about John Alvin and his career.  She spoke to the kids, thinking about what John would have said, and what advice he’d give to aspiring artists. 


We at John Alvin Art and ArtInsights asked her to tell us a little about it.  Here’s what she said:

“I only had a few minutes, and had to keep it really short. I told them what I though he might tell them: to not compare themselves to others; to exercise their own creative spirit, find their unique voice.

I finished with something he once told me: One time I was anxious about a situation that was not going well. He said:

“Just be yourself. After all, who else are you going to be?”

John Alvin in ArtInsights with members of the Empire...
John Alvin in ArtInsights with members of the Empire…

He would have loved the whole thing; he would have charmed them, of course, and made them laugh.”

It wasn’t a big deal, but we who knew John’s respect for not only his own art, but for others who struggle to create, as well as his mix of humility and desire to be appreciated, know this little gift would have meant the world to him.  It means, as he was a mentor and inspiration to many artists while he was here, he will continue to be an inspiration in a very real way, to kids who feel the artist inside themselves and need to know, with talent and drive, it IS possible to be successful in whatever kind of art they choose!  

Please join me in congratulating his wife Andrea Alvin, his sister Suzanne Alvin, and his daughter Farah Alvin! More schools should have artists in their Hall of Fame!

To see some art we at ArtInsights have of John Alvin original and limited edition art his estate, CLICK HERE.

ArtInsights at the AFI for Bugs Bunny Anniversary


Chuck Jones - Concept Art - Bugs Bunny

ArtInsights at the AFI for Bugs Bunny Anniversary!

The AFI Silver Theater is showing some great cartoons in honor of Bugs Bunny’s 75th birthday, which happened July 27th, (those carrots are great at keeping a rabbit looking youthful!) and ArtInsights will be there!

Leslie Combemale, intrepid ArtInsights co-owner and lover of all things Looney Tunes, will be doing a short pre-screening lecture on August 8th and 9th at 11:30 am.  Tickets are $5, and there are some great cartoons showing!

As you all know, Leslie works at educating and advocating for acceptance of animation as an important art form, and many of the artists who created cartoons as fine artists worthy of the highest acclaim.  Come hear a few bits of information you may not know about your favorite Looney Tunes artists and cartoons, and help celebrate superstar Bugs Bunny in 35 mm on the big screen!

Click the dates for a link to purchase tickets and more information:







ArtInsights at Comic-Con International San Diego

That’s right!  We have DISNEY AND LOONEY TUNES SDCC PANELS!  Created, hosted, and moderated by the folks at ArtInsights.  We are very excited.  In fact we are SO excited and interested in a having a great panel that we went out to LA and interviewed a few folks about their careers so we could be prepared.

First, let’s announce when and what, now that SDCC officially released the dates and times:


Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett are two of the most important animators in cartoon history. Their daughters, Linda Jones (Emmy Award-winning producer, founder of Linda Jones Enterprises) and Ruth Clampett (founder of Clampett Studio Collections, former head of Warner Brothers art program) keep their dads’ legacies alive. These powerful Hollywood businesswomen also made collecting the art of animation and film accepted and embraced around the world and own all rights to sell official Warner Brothers cartoon art, Vintage WB movie art, DC comics art, and the art of Harry Potter. They’ll talk about growing up with two geniuses and how they built empires of their own making geek art cool. Moderated by Leslie Combemale (ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery).

 Thursday July 9, 2015 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Room 24ABC

For a link to the info on the SDCC website, GO HERE!


A luminary panel of former and current Disney animators spanning from Lady and the Tramp to Moana talk about the importance of 2D animation in the history of Disney, as well as the part it plays in guiding advancement of its future. Panelists are Willie Ito (Lady and the Tramp, Inkpot Award-winning animator), Dale Baer (Robin Hood to Moana), Randy Haycock (The Lion King to Moana), Tom Sito (The Little Mermaid, author of Moving Innovation), and Mike Polvani (Hercules, 2D Animation School founder). Changes in technology, artistic expression, and the value of cooperative interplay between 2D and 3D artists to create the best animation will be discussed. There will be a Q&A moderated by Leslie Combemale (Animation expert, ArtInsights Gallery).

Friday July 10, 2015 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Room 24ABC

For a link to the info on the SDCC website, GO HERE

We are so very pleased to have such heavy hitters on both panels.  Ruth Clampett and Linda Jones represent two of the most genial yet powerful women in making animation and film art by production artists, those who made the movies and cartoons we love a reality and a part of history.  Any woman who wants to be inspired in their own life about making what they want to do in the world happen with integrity and positivity will want to attend, OR, watch the video we will create of this and our other panel.

Willie Ito won the Inkpot award last year (you can watch him accept it at our panel HERE) and he will be carrying the old guard for our 2D animation panel, which is not about 2D vs 3D, it’s about the importance of 2D in the future of animation.  We also have someone who wrote a wonderful book about the history of computer graphics, Tom Sito, two of the four remaining animators in Walt Disney Feature Animation, Dale Baer and Randy Haycock, and a former Disney animator who just started a 2D animation school, Mike Polvani.  It is going to be a very educational and inspiring talk with the folks who have had a hand in creating the characters and films we love.

Disney animator Dale Baer, who other artists repeated say is one of the best animation artists in the world, and Leslie Combemale, at the 50th Anniversary Celebration for A Charlie Brown Christmas Special:

dale baer and leslie combemale

As I said, we will LOVE to see you there, but if you weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket, we will be recording the panels so fans around the world can see them on our YouTube channel.

We at ArtInsights are dedicated not only to getting you great art but also to teaching kids, fans, and collectors about all things film and animation, but directly from the mouths of those who created the movies we all love!

Wish us great luck at SDCC and we will be reporting from there, and when we get back!

Leslie for ArtInsights

Naked Little Mermaid? 15K paid. Animation art goes crazy again.

I don’t so much hate saying “I told you so”, as quietly revel in the thought of saying it, especially when it comes to the value and popularity of film and animation art.

Remember I was there when no one knew what a cel was, some 30 years ago.  I worked in one of the first five galleries in the world specializing in animation art.  Back then we would routinely hear from casual shoppers, “do you have any real art?” or “is there a fine art gallery in the center?”, and I still field those questions from time to time today.  Of course I feel vindicated that animation art, Disney interpretive art, and film art has become a huge collectible with which most people are familiar.

But the times when I have targeted a particular scene, movie, or character, knowing it would at some point become prohibitively expensive…the times i’ve come perilously close to “hard sell”, because some of my loyal collectors would not be able to afford whatever it was in a few years, when i’m right about THOSE times, that’s when I really think I might be pretty valuable to collectors in those fields.

It isn’t as easy as it sounds.  You’d think with every release of a live action version of a Disney film, the production cels from the original would explode in price, but that isn’t often the case.   You’d also think an artist dying would have immediate impact on value, but that is also only sometimes true.  Often it takes a few years for the art to raise consistently in price.

There have been a few “wins” I can point to, in terms of prognosticating.

For example, when heavyweight Snow White collector Steve Ison sold back a huge percentage of his art to Disney right around the same time they had a show of Snow White and vintage Disney art in Paris and Montreal in which they showed the connection between animation art and fine art, I knew Snow White would become highly collectible in France and the US.   He was also someone who tried to focus on collecting only unrestored art, and i’ve contended that will become a major concern for discerning collectors when in search of vintage art.

ArtInsights Blog: Il Etait Une Fois Disney exhibit

A TEENY portion of Steve Ison’s collection:Steve Ison Collection of Snow White art

I also knew about how popular interpretive art by Disney art director Toby Bluth was going to be to production art collectors, and sure enough, he was the one interpretive artist they all collected.  Sadly he’s since passed away, and i’m so glad I pushed a lot of my clients to buy his work.  None of them ever want to sell it back and his are often the favorite pieces in their collections.

But the most recent moment that puffed me up like the animation and film art equivalent of a parading peacock is the insane rise in value of cels from The Little Mermaid.  A few years ago when Disney was hurting for quarterly numbers, and they were looking for cash from any corner, they allowed the release of original production cels from The Little Mermaid to the public through galleries.  They were selling them for a fraction of what they had been.  I literally bought 90% of what they were offering.  They even had a few of Ariel on the rock.


Since then, the frenzy for cels of Ariel has continued unabated.  Those who had been expecting to get art from the film for $800 to $2000 often declined purchases, and now, boy are they sorry.  Good cels with official seals from the film are now going for between $3500 and $8000, if they even go on the market.

Cut to Heritage Auctions, and a piece of art from the scene I remember telling ALL my clients they absolutely had to get cels from if they were building a collection representing the whole movie.  Namely, “Naked Ariel”.  I speak of this:

The Little Mermaid 15k auction sale of naked Ariel

This is the scene when Ariel has just become a human, and has gotten legs.  It isn’t about the fact that she is supposedly around 16 years old.  There are certainly creepy collectors who are into that, but mine aren’t like that.  It’s about the fact that you just don’t see naked animated characters in Disney*. 

*The only other naked Disney character is the Harpie from Fantasia, as far as I know:

(you can look them up, but this is a close up of her face)

Night on Bald Mountain Harpy

She isn’t supposed to be in the altogether.  She is under the water, which is not shown in the film.  She has registration marks for where the camera frames her.  However, the original drawings of Ariel show her entire body.

The first time I saw a cel like that in 1990, I knew they’d be in high demand, but last month a piece like that went for around $17,000 in the aforementioned auction.  I am pretty sure I sold that piece originally, and for $2500.  I’m not saying that’s the norm, or it wasn’t someone digging in, determined to wind up with the piece regardless of its cost, but that “figure” means at least two collectors were willing to duke it out all the way up to a 15k hammer price.

Auctions these days, when it comes to animation, make me completely crazy.  Backgrounds they say are from the film that aren’t, cels they say aren’t restored, or completely repainted, that are, and a host of other confusingly misrepresented or mis-labeled art makes auctions a strictly “buyer beware” kind of affair.  A lot of long time collectors are well aware of that.

I have a feeling that is why when a cel from The Little Mermaid with a seal shows up, essentially verifying its authenticity and provenance, collectors come from all over the place to try to make it theirs.

When will the escalating prices settle down? It’s very hard to tell.  Anyway, generally these days I save my prognosticating for frequent clients, so that I can level the playing field I share with all these auction houses.

Something has to give a gal the edge.  Being right only helps so much when you’ve already sold all you had.

At least I know about 15 people with what I call “Skinny-dipping Ariel”, and that’s most of the ones out there.

Glad I talked them all into it.  Not that they’ll sell them, but knowing they do makes my big green feathers just a little fluffier.

Star Wars art-Are these the artists you’re looking for? Official artists vs. Fan artists


(art by John Alvin, who did movie poster art for Star Wars)

We’ve been in the thick of the Star Wars art world for quite some time…and that world is pretty convoluted.  Here’s how it works

  • There are artists who worked on the movies and are official artists with the Star Wars art licensee:

Those people have art they sell through the official LucasFilm licensee, but up until a few months ago, even when ordering a commission George Lucas got right of first refusal to buy the art.  This became quite a drag when collectors and artists worked together and George took it.  Yes it’s an honor, but still.  Now those rules are changing, largely because George has largely gotten himself out of Star Wars.  We always got the first chance to sell art George said no to if the art was made to create a limited edition.  There have been more pieces available in the last few months, which is great for collectors!

FETTS PRIZE william silvers

(art by Bill Silvers, who did backgrounds for Star Wars)

  • There are artists who worked on the movies or campaigns that weren’t “work for hire”:

When an artist is a “work for hire” it means nothing created can be sold and belongs solely to LucasFilm.  There are some older artists who don’t have that contract but they are extremely rare.  John Alvin is one of those guys, and that’s why we have his work from Star Wars and can sell it.  It is official art but also he was able to keep it as part of his deal with the studio when he worked for them.   Great for collectors as well, but the art is getting harder and harder to find, since like John so many artists are passing away, and so few new artists work outside the “work for hire” clause.

We only sell artists in these two categories.


  • There are artists who are contracted to occasional work for LucasFilm:

Mostly these are the folks who sell their art at the Celebration shows.  They may or may not be work for hire, (most are) but LucasFilm doesn’t seem to mind them selling their art directly to collectors.  This is where the laws about original art vs. limited editions gets weird.  While it’s true that any artwork that is transformative can be sold as long as it’s original and there aren’t any prints of them, some of the studios believe any art of any kind created using their images shouldn’t be sold without a licensing fee.   This is why we don’t really sell those artists and we love supporting when they go to events like Celebration and are able to sell their work.  Much of the work is from books, comics, or trading cards.  We love these artists.  They work hard and tend to create in a variety of genres, in addition to creating art for their own characters, worlds, and stories.

  • There are fan artists:

You know these folks.  They are on Etsy printing up $30 prints of their work, making it tough on the artists that actually work for LucasFilm.  No one begrudges them making originals, even though even that would be frowned upon by LucasFilm.  Imagine being at a Con and seeing 3 artists in artists’ alley doing original work with their own ideas and collectors skipping them for the fan artists who are churning out prints of Star Wars characters.  We can’t really blame the collectors here, they have no idea about the rules.  Here we should blame LucasFilm for not policing images.  When so many artists applied for Star Wars Celebration (the artists for which must have officially worked for LucasFilm at some point) and killed themselves making new art, paying to go to the event, etc., LucasFilm should be more tenacious about limiting access online to only those who meet their criteria.  Only artists who create official art should be allowed to sell prints, AFTER those prints have been approved by the studio.   Yes it’s political, but welcome to the art world 🙂

Understand I have great love of fan artists and their expression, but they do know the rules and should follow them out of respect for the property and the artists that inspire them.


We don’t really know the answer to that question yet.

In general, fan art vs. official art is a constant source of angst for me.  I love the joyful expression of someone’s love for a fandom, but not the mixing and confusing of those artists for those who worked on the films or properties being represented.  Why should anyone promote official art or pay a licensing fee if no one is policing people making prints and selling them on Etsy or Ebay?  All this comes from a desire to make sure people who are making the movies we watch beautiful get the credit they deserve.  They, in essence, are the reason the fan artists love the movies enough to create art.

Things are always changing.  So hopefully there will be room for all the artists, all those who design and build the cinematic worlds we cherish, and those who get chances to add to those worlds, and those who just want to express their love of them.  Will the new Star Wars be a part of that change?

Only time will tell.  Let’s hope the force is with the official artists on this one.


Press Release: Michelle St. Laurent at ArtInsights Gallery

537O0159P The Sorcerer's Spell 12X24



Saturday, December 6   2 pm – 6 pm

Reston, Va.,  Dec.3rd, 2014 – Michelle St. Laurent will be appearing on Saturday, December 6 from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at ArtInsights Animation & Film Art Gallery in Reston Town Center to paint in person and meet fans and collectors at the opening of the gallery show “The Wonderful World of Disney Animation”.  The exhibit of her original and limited edition art from classic and contemporary Disney films will be on display through January 5, 2015 at ArtInsights, 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston, VA 20190.

St Laurent has become the top selling and most popular female Disney artist in the public eye, but her work is represented all over the world through her work behind the scenes as well.   As a Disney art director, production designer, and product developer, she can claim many firsts, including being part of the team that started and designed the pin trading and Vinyl-mation programs at the Disney parks.  She also designed the “My Disney Girl” doll and the “Create Your Own” ear hat, and was production designer for all park events, which often included designing and implementing temporary themed environments with budgets in the millions of dollars.  She has had the honor of being selected to create postage stamps for Disney, has worked on many projects for both Disney World and Disneyland, and is represented in many official Disney gallery shows.

537O0162P Underwater Adventure 18X24

“What makes Michelle St. Laurent so successful is how she mixes traditional and pop art aesthetics in watercolors for her gallery works while at the same time becoming the go-to gal for official art used in projects inside the studio,” says ArtInsights owner Leslie Combemale.  “Few artists can find that balance, and Michelle does that perfectly.”

Watercolor images by St. Laurent from Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Alice in Wonderland, among others, will be on exhibit and she will be talking about her inspiration and process with collectors at the opening on Saturday.  “I aspire to recreating classic Disney magic in my paintings, which allows each of us to be a kid again,” says Laurent. “This is an especially wonderful time of the year for that, so I love sharing my work and celebrating the holidays meeting collectors and Disney fans!”

537O0156P Loyal Pet 15X30

Michelle St. Laurent has fulfilled a lifelong dream of being a Disney artist, after creating a poster of Disney characters on parade for a contest in first grade.  Pre-Disney, she worked to create art for Sea World in Orlando, and her murals can be seen throughout the park.  Some 15 years ago she was hired by the Disney Design Group where she created a wide variety of art images for Disney Theme Parks and special projects. She trained, worked and was inspired by Disney legend Ralph Kent for the first 6 years. Michelle began painting for the Disney Galleries in 1998, and started creating both Disney fine art and official art as an art director for the company.  Michelle’s fine art is featured throughout Disney World and Disneyland, Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, at the exclusive Magic Kingdom’s 999 Happy Haunts Event, Disneyana Conventions, and galleries around the world.

About ArtInsights Animation & Film Art Gallery: Established in 1994, ArtInsights is a privately owned gallery located just outside of Washington, DC at Reston Town Center, in Virginia. The gallery presents important images from the 20th and 21st century film art genre, including original art from the masters of film and moving entertainment. From film campaign artists to concept and layout artists to animators, ArtInsights represents a wide collection from the giants and up and comers of film art. With more than 30 years’ experience, the owners work with their worldwide collector base to build and insure the integrity of their collections. They sell only official art created by artists working on the films they represent, with rare images used in production as well as original commissions which are often used to create official limited editions.  ArtInsights exclusively represents the original art of John Alvin, Casey Robin, and Ben Curtis Jones, and also exhibits Tim Rogerson, Jim Salvati, Mike Kungl, and Chuck Jones. Featured studios include Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and 20th Century Fox, in a display of images from the best classic movies and animated features of the last 100 years as well as newer classics like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Star Trek. See and learn more on the website and on the web magazine, and hear movie reviews by owner Leslie Combemale’s alter ego, Cinema Siren, published on more than 600 Patch sites nationwide, and on

ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery is located at 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston, VA 20190. For more information, call 703-478-0778 and visit

# # #

For more information, high-res images or to schedule an interview with artist Michelle St. Laurent and animation and film art expert and gallery owner Leslie Combemale, contact her at  or call her in the gallery at 703-478-0778.

All Their Wicked Ways by Tim Rogerson

Commissioning Original Film Art: Designing A Dream

Did you know you could have art made specially for you by top Disney and Hollywood artists?

ArtInsights has been working with insiders licensed by the studios to create original art for our clients for over 20 years!

What makes this so special and unique is you can have a beautiful original piece of art to display in your home, in your media room, or family room… or a place of honor that reminds the whole family of favorite moments from a new or old classic film or cartoon.  It is truly my favorite thing to do at ArtInsights:  working with art lovers who feel as passionate as I do about the memories they hold dear from movies that may have been seen by millions of people, or by just a few true fans.  We find the perfect artist who may have actually worked on that film, or with that studio, or who is significantly influenced by the movie you celebrate and want represented.  Mixing a scene or scenes you love with the design aesthetic that has made them revered and successful in the world of film art, they construct a wonderful piece of original art JUST FOR YOU.

Even more exciting is the art is often chosen by the studio to be turned into a limited edition, which makes the original art all the more important.

We believe there is a conversation that occurs… a relationship between the artist and the collector…when a work of art is created and passed on to be enjoyed as part of the art that makes the collector’s living space or work environment unique and special.

It is exciting to know you can bring a little bit of Hollywood home, and celebrate the movies you love!  Here are just a few original pieces created with artists through ArtInsights:  (don’t fall too in love with THESE pieces, they were made, just as we can for you, as commissions–you’ll have to decide what would make YOUR heart sing as these pieces did for their collectors…anything you can dream of, our artists can bring into being!)

By Disney artist Tim Rogerson:





By famed movie poster artist John Alvin: (creator of movie posters for over 200 movies)




















By Disney art director Toby Bluth:

Fantasia-toby-bluth Teatime-with-Alice-toby-bluth The-Ugly-Duckling-toby-bluth Tidying-Up-toby-bluth peter-pan-toby-bluth

By movie concept artist Harrison Ellenshaw (concept artist for Star Wars, Tron, and many others)



by artist Disney, Star Wars, and Warner Brothers artist Mike Kungl:



By Disney visual development artist Lisa Keene:


By movie poster and Disney artist John Rowe:




By Warner Brothers and Disney concept artist Jim Salvati:


This is a very small percentage of the art we have created for our clients.  Up to this moment we have never had the artists we work with not absolutely exceed our and our clients’ expectations.  It’s why the Hollywood studios choose them over and over again even today!

We chose these pieces to show you because nearly all of these were turned into limited editions by the studios.  Most of these artists can be commissioned to create a wide variety of images from live action movies encompassing the entire history of film as well as Disney and other animation studio features.

Contact ArtInsights today to find out how you too can have a one of the best film artists create a one-of-a-kind work of art just for you!




ArtInsights in Movie Poster Doc “Twenty Four by Thirty Six”


So, yes.  If it is indeed a documentary about movie posters, at least in those released in the United States, it should really be called “Twenty Seven by Forty One”…which is the approximate size of a one sheet.  However, when Kevin Burke started out, he had been inspired by his love for movie posters that had been hand illustrated and drawn, like those of our great John Alvin, as well as the likes of Bob Peak and Richard Amsel.  When the studios switched to all photoshopped and photographic images, making the posters lackluster and boring, and largely devoid of artistry, he turned to Mondo and other companies creating after-market fan inspired, fan-made posters for movie lovers who already knew the movies, and enjoyed art that played on aspects of a movie that true fans would appreciate…

These pieces are created by artists who have more of a graphics and comic illustrator background, and they are not meant to SELL a movie.  They are meant to be enjoyed by people who have already seen them.  These posters are mainly sized at 24 x 36, hence the movie’s name.

(as example of subject matter, imagine a big black poster with just one small image in the center, featuring a tiny red sled.  This would be something fans of Citizen Kane would appreciate, but would not inspire anyone who hadn’t seen the movie to seek it out.)

Kevin informed me during the day we talked and his crew filmed me for his documentary, when we at ArtInsights and he started a dialogue, he realized he could interview artists who either still actively illustrate traditionally or who had been working when posters were designed by professional artists to actively get movie fans to go see something in a theater.  We helped him get in contact with those in the know, and we also talked a lot about getting traditionally illustrated movie posters made again for movies in the future.  (BECAUSE WE FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS!)


There are tons of artists working for the companies making alternate posters that will be part of the movie, many of which as seriously great–(OLLY & LAURENT, I’M LOOKING AT YOU!)

There are also some great artists we know who have been working inside the studios and in Hollywood and are working with them too, they are masters at the art of movie posters..these folks are actually making the movie posters that get people to get to see the movies.

and we are so excited about the idea of them making many more new images for new movies, and have plans…stay tuned!

We are so looking forward to this movie now, although wish we could change the name 😉

John Alvin for Every Collector

With the release of The Art of John Alvinart lovers everywhere are eager to collect John’s work while they still can. ArtInsights is your exclusive source of John Alvin’s original artwork, and we also have the biggest collection of his limited editions. No matter what your budget, we have something by John that will enhance your walls that you will love!

Price Range: $150.00 – $450.00

Star Wars: The Cold of HothStar Wars – The Cold of Hoth LE Giclee on Paper ($150) Blade Runner - I've Seen ThingsI’ve Seen Things LE Giclee on Paper ($150) or Canvas ($450) Alien LE Giclee on Paper ($300)


Price Range: $475.00 – $1000.00

Ariel (by John Alvin)Ariel LE Giclee on Canvas ($495) Jabba and Friends by John AlvinThere Will Be No Bargain LE Giclee on Canvas ($595) Star Wars Episode IV Decade IIIOfficial Star Wars Celebration Episode IV Decade III Lithograph ($750)

Price Range: $4000.00 – $5500.00

Pinocchio: Blue Fairy - original production concept artPinocchio: Blue Fairy Original Production Concept Art ($4500) Kuzco and Bridge - original production color concept artKuzco and Bridge Original Production Concept Art ($5500) E.T. Small Hands 6 - original production concept artE.T. Sketch Small Hands Production Concept Art ($4800)

Price Range: $8,000+

JAOM0173 Revenge of the Jedi #5Revenge of the Jedi: McQuarrie Graphite Comp ($8800) JAOM0189 Bittersweet EmbraceBittersweet Embrace (Call for price) Star Wars Concert poster on toned paperStar Wars Concert Poster Production Art ($18,000)


For a more comprehensive selection of John’s artwork, please visit here.


Here is the new rehung gallery section, a tiny bit of the original art we have of John Alvin, along with his red shoes
Here is a little bit of our John Alvin original art and posters, just a small percentage of the original art we have of John Alvin, along with his red shoes, and the gorgeous new book! WE LOVE TRADITIONAL ILLUSTRATION ART! WE LOVE YOU, JOHN!

As some of you who follow The Art of John Alvin, not the book, but the actual art, which is represented by ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery, know quite well, Andrea Alvin has been working for several years writing, compiling, and getting permissions for a (hopefully first) book on John Alvin’s career and art.  It is being released by Titan Books.   We have been thrilled to see not only the attention that Titan has given it in terms of promotion, but also the interest, well deserved, by the press worldwide.

Author Andrea Alvin and Leslie of ArtInsights at San Diego Comic-Con
Author Andrea Alvin and Leslie of ArtInsights at San Diego Comic-Con
John Alvin in ArtInsights with members of the Empire...
John Alvin in ArtInsights with members of the Empire…

We are told this is only the first round, and more articles will appear as the actual release date happens, but we are going to keep a list of all the articles and reviews, good or (goddess forbid!) bad, right here.  We hope this will not only allow for long overdue recognition of John as one of the foremost artists who ever worked in the film industry, but also wider acceptance of traditional illustration not only as important in film history, but also as a viable option today to promote and brand new movies in an artistic and creative way. There is and was only one man who painted like John Alvin.  He was able to do that thing everyone at Disney called Alvin-izing.

This is the cover of the awesome book releasing from Titan
This is the cover of the awesome book releasing from Titan.

My friend Travis of Punch Drunk Critics has a connection with Amazon and gets a teeny bit back from you buying from him and we like to support him…so if you’re buying from Amazon, click here!    Here are the links so far, and we’ll be adding to them as we find more, please let us know if you find one we don’t know about!,manual#!byDA6k,-Darkman,-More.htm

Some images of the art we have in the gallery and corresponding pages in the book with the art:

starwars concert art at ArtInsights by john alvin
Original Star Wars Concert art at ArtInsights ~ The Art of John Alvin
predator art at ArtInisights by john alvin
Predator Finish at ArtInsights ~ The Art of John Alvin
beauty and the beast johnalvin
Beauty and the Beast at ArtInsights Gallery ~ The Art of John Alvin
aladdin art at ArtInsights by John Alvin
Aladdin art at ArtInsights ~ The Art of John Alvin
pinocchio by johnalvin at ArtInsights
Pinocchio graphite at ArtInsights ~ The Art of John Alvin
lion king graphite by johnalvin at ArtInsights
The Lion King graphite at ArtInsights ~ The Art of John Alvin

The reviews for The Art of John Alvin are starting to come in (as it just got released in England, and will be released in the states August 28th), and they are GREAT!

OUR FAVORITE although they are ALL AWESOME!!:

YAY go Den of Geek!! They know quality when they see it…










ArtInsights partners with Habitat for Humanity and Warner Bros. for a Wizard of Oz Anniversary show

Wizard of Oz by John Alvin

Reston, Va – ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery is teaming up with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia for an exhibit and sale of official The Wizard of Oz art, showing interpretive artwork from the classic movie by carefully selected film artists chosen to represent a wide diversity of imagery and artistic styles. In honor of the Hollywood premiere of The Wizard of Oz on August 15, 1939, all are invited to an open house from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 15, as well as to an event featuring official Warner Bros. artist Andrea Alvin on Sunday, August 17, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at ArtInsights, located in the Reston Town Center in Reston, VA.  Ten percent of profits from sales of The Wizard of Oz art sold during the exhibit will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, as well as all money raised from the raffle and silent auction during its opening weekend.   The exhibit, entitled “There’s No Place Like Home,” will be on display through September 15.  For more information, please contact ArtInsights at 703-478-0778 or visit

Through Warner Bros., a collection of highly regarded artists have been commissioned to create images inspired by the film for art collectors and film fans.  John Alvin, cinema artist responsible for the movie posters for E.T., Blade Runner, and The Lion King, created images prior to his death in 2008, and they will now be seen in public for the first time at this special exhibit at ArtInsights.  His wife and partner at Alvin & Associates, Andrea Alvin, has also created art and will make a special guest appearance during the opening weekend of the exhibit and sale.  She has hand-embellished two of her The Wizard of Oz limited edition art pieces, making them unique and highly collectible.  One of the art pieces, “Startling Stories: Wicked Witch,” will be part of the raffle and the other, “Startling Stories: Tin Man,” will be available through the silent auction.  Other artists on exhibit include Steve Chorney, the poster artist for the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? one-sheet, and Dan Killen, concept artist on Space Jam and The Iron Giant.

“We are proud and excited to be the gallery celebrating the actual anniversary of such a classic film,” says ArtInsights owner Leslie Combemale. “The quote, ‘There’s no place like home,’ has so much resonance when thinking of affordable housing.  We always love involving charity in our exhibits, now collectors can enjoy inspiring images from one of their favorite films and do good at the same time.”  ArtInsights adds the official art of The Wizard of Oz to a collection of film art, all created by licensed and most distinguished artists working in the film industry today.

For more information about the gallery exhibit and opening benefitting Habitat for Humanity, go to  Find out more about the “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign at .  To buy raffle tickets or find out more about Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, go to

Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia’s unique model of affordable housing is focused on home ownership. Habitat homeowners secure a no-interest mortgage, while the non-profit secures corporate sponsorship, in-kind donations, and volunteer labor to make the home affordable. Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (Habitat NOVA) was founded in 1990, and to date has built 80 homes, rehabilitated 4 homes and repaired 20 homes, benefiting more than 400 people. As a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat NOVA serves the counties of Fairfax and Arlington and the Cities of Falls Church, Fairfax, and Alexandria. More information is available at

ArtInsights, established in 1994, is a privately owned gallery located just outside of Washington, DC at Reston Town Center, in Virginia. The gallery presents important images from the 20th and 21st century film art genre, including original art from the masters of film and moving entertainment. From film campaign artists to concept and layout artists to animators, ArtInsights represents a wide collection from the giants and up and comers of film art. With over 30 years experience, the owners work with their worldwide collector base to build and insure the integrity of their collections. They sell rare images used in production as well as original commissions which are often used to create official limited editions.  ArtInsights exclusively represents the original art of John Alvin, Casey Robin, and Ben Curtis Jones, and also exhibits Tim Rogerson, Jim Salvati, Mike Kungl, Chuck Jones, Christian Waggoner, Steve Chorney, Mary Grandpre and and many other artists made famous by their work for the major Hollywood studios. Featured studios include Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and 20th Century Fox, in a display of images from the best classic movies and animated features of the last 100 years as well as newer classics like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Star Trek. You can see more on their website, and learn more on their web magazine, as well as hear movie reviews by owner Leslie Combemale’s alter ego, Cinema Siren, on over 600 Patch sites nationwide or through  ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery is located at 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston, VA 20190. For more information, call 703-478-0778 and visit for images from Wizard of Oz.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

THE WIZARD OF OZ and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Turner Entertainment Co.

For press info contact Leslie Combemale at the gallery.



Reston, Va – ArInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery is teaming up with Hanna Barbera, Warner Bros. and Clampett Studios to release officially licensed limited edition art from What’s Opera Doc, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, and Beany and Cecil by animation artist Willie Ito, in honor of his appearance at Comic-Con International. The four pieces of art will be released at limited edition giclees on paper in an edition of 50, signed by Mr. Ito, and will be offered at a con price of $125 each, increasing to $150 on Monday July 28th. There will also be 5 Artist Proofs that will be sold in special sets with a remarques by the artist for $600 only available through August 1st.

ArtInsights is pleased to be offering limited edition art of Hanna Barbera and Beany and Cecil characters for the first time in years, and not a minute too soon for fans of the beloved classics, with images by an artist recognized in the animation industry as an important figure in the development and expansion of how cartoons were made and the place they held in pop culture. He worked at each of the major studios at the perfect time to be part of history. The gallery’s owner, Leslie Combemale, an expert on the history of animation, will be conducting two panels with Ito,

“Meet the Flintstones, Meet George Jetson: Hanna Barbera Beginnings”
Wouldn’t it be great to be a fly on the wall in 1963 in Hanna Barbera Studios with three men who helped make it such an essential part of cartoon history? Comic-Con special guest animator Willie Ito gathers his friends and cohorts Tony Benedict(writer, Flintstones, The Jetsons) and Jerry Eisenberg (layout artist, Flintstones, Jetsons) to discuss what made early Hanna Barbera into the powerhouse of cartoon history it became. Moderated by Leslie Combemale (film artist advocate/owner, ArtInsights Animation & Film Art Gallery).
Thursday July 24, 2014 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Room 24ABC

and a one-on-one interview,

“Spotlight on Willie Ito”
With nearly 60 years as an animation artist, Comic-Con special guest Willie Ito has done it all. He worked at Disney on Lady and the Tramp’s spaghetti scene with mentor Iwao Takamoto and on One Froggy Evening and What’s Opera Doc at Warner Bros’ famed Termite Terrace under Chuck Jones’ direction. He went on to The Beany and Cecil Show with Bob Clampett and then Hanna Barbera for the beginnings of The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and many other cartoons. Ito has great stories and experiences to share. After HB he went to Disney Consumer Products and spearheaded implementation of collectibles and licensed products worldwide. He has also designed comic books, comic strips, coloring books, and more. Join animation expertLeslie Combemale of ArtInsights for a spotlight on Willie’s life, including the part of his childhood spent in a Japanese internment camp that inspired his most recent venture, a series of children’s picture books based on the experience.
Saturday July 26, 2014 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Room 9

This release in conjunction with Willie Ito’s appearance at Comic-Con International will have the limited editions available to see in person at Ito’s location in Artists’ Alley, where they can be ordered. They are also available starting today through the ArtInsights website.

For more information and a full set of images, go here:

Lovin Leakin Lena

Retoin My Love

prehistoric playground

Yogi's Studo


With nearly 60 years as an animation artist, Willie Ito has done it all. He worked at Disney on Lady and the Tramp’s spaghetti scene with mentor Iwao Takamoto and on One Froggy Evening and What’s Opera Doc at Warner Bros’ famed Termite Terrace under Chuck Jones’ direction. He went on to The Beany and Cecil Show with Bob Clampett and then Hanna Barbera for the beginnings of The Flintstones,The Jetsons and many other cartoons. After HB he went to Disney Consumer Products and spearheaded implementation of collectibles and licensed products worldwide! He has also designed comic books, comic strips, coloring books, and more. He also spent part of his childhood in a Japanese internment camp, which inspired his most recent venture, a series of children’s picture books based on the experience.


ArtInsights, established in 1994, is a privately owned gallery located just outside of Washington, DC at Reston Town Center, in Virginia. The gallery presents important images from the 20th and 21st century film art genre, including original art from the masters of film and moving entertainment. From film campaign artists to concept and layout artists to animators, ArtInsights represents a wide collection from the giants and up and comers of film art. With over 30 years experience, the owners work with their worldwide collector base to build and insure the integrity of their collections. They sell rare images used in production as well as original commissions which are often used to create official limited editions.  ArtInsights exclusively represents the original art of John Alvin,  Casey Robin, and Ben Curtis Jones, and also exhibits Tim Rogerson, Jim Salvati, Mike Kungl, Chuck Jones, Christian Waggoner, Steve Chorney, Mary Grandpre and and many other artists made famous by their work for the major Hollywood studios. Featured studios include Disney, Hanna Barbera, Warner Bros., Paramount, and 20th Century Fox, in a display of images from the best classic movies and animated features of the last 100 years as well as newer classics like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Star Trek. You can see more on their website, and learn more on their web magazine, as well as hear movie reviews by owner Leslie Combemale’s alter ego, Cinema Siren, on over 600 Patch sites nationwide or through  ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery is located at 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston, VA 20190. For more information, call 703-478-0778 and visit

ArtInsights is SDCC San Diego Comic-Con bound!

Wille Ito

Ahhhh Comic-Con.  We once again are lucky enough at ArtInsights to have had our panels accepted and we are conducting one on Thursday and one on Saturday.

As a result, we are happy to say we have an exclusive Hanna Barbera release, with art created by Willie Ito in honor of being a guest of the convention, and his career in animation being recognized.  You can check the art out HERE.

HOTTEST TOY YOU’LL NEVER GET:  There is a crazy Alien playset that flamed through the internet.  Frothing fanboys and girls started freaking out at the low number of the edition (250) and as a result the company is allowing presages started Wednesday.  Even those who aren’t attending can order online!

Alien playset

A QUOTE from their site:

The playset will be available for pre-order starting Wednesday July 23 at 6pm PT through Sunday July 27 5pm PT, both at the Super7 booth and online at The playset will be made to order, meaning everyone who pre-orders the playset will be guaranteed one. Right now the playset bases will be made from hand cast resin, unless enough orders are received to manufacture the bases in injection molded plastic.

*UPDATE: since everyone who preorders gets one, the 250 edition is out the window.  Does this mean it has lost its desirability?


for the rest of ALL the best, you can go to this site and check out everything being released in special SDCC editions…

HOTTEST TICKET YOU’LL NEVER SCORE:  Entertainment Weekly’s Annual Comic-Con party.  Obviously invite only, it’s really only being attended by a ‘who’s who’ of the entertainment industry.

HOTTEST PANEL YOU’LL STAND IN LINE FOR: Avengers on Saturday.  Mark Ruffallo let it slip some months ago that supposedly the whole cast will be there.  Frenzy has ensued.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending on how well it is executed) there is a new policy about wristbands for Hall H.  All those in every party who plan to be there for the first panel must get a wristband while in line.  One person has to stay in line at all times…(makes sense) but everyone in line in the morning must have a wristband.


(this above picture from 1983 is NOT what we expect. But how delightful if that is what we discover…)

ArtInsights will report if this new policy feels less like wrist banding and more like wrist slitting…

HOTTEST OFFSITE EVENT:  Nerd HQ, of course.  This happening at Petco Park, started and hosted by Zachery Levy and supported by Indie Go Go, will have all sorts of stars dropping by, and is worth checking out no maker what else is happening.

There’s also a Godzilla Interactive Display, and an HBO pop up shop, but there’s no telling what will be the biggest buzz once everyone gets to San Diego

Here are all the parties no one but the hottest stars get in to, the irony being none of them want to be there, and the fan kids imagine them all being super fun!:


(The Iron throne from Game of Thrones will be at the HBO party…as will assorted ingenues)

HOTTEST THING ON THE SHOW FLOOR: That remains to be seen.  So much money is spent by the big studios and networks and companies, one never knows until one is there.  It is easy to determine once one is there.  We will not only report back, we will film while we are there so you folks who could not attend can see all the crazy…

Want to follow ArtInsights into the crazy?  We will be posting videos on our social media sites (so follow us on twitter, FB, Instagram, and Pinterest!) so you can experience SDCC vicariously through us.

We will also be sporting out “CINEMA SIREN” tees for the first time, which you can get yourself, HERE:

part of our version of the tee had “TOP TEN WAYS TO SURVIVE COMIC-CON” and we will pose in them during the con, along with posing at some point in our special outfits made lovingly for this event…

Here are our two panels:

Meet the Flintstones, Meet George Jetson: Hanna Barbera Beginnings, Thursday, 7/24/14, 2:30p.m. – 3:30p.m., Room: 24ABC

Wouldn’t it be great to be a fly on the wall in 1963 in Hanna Barbera Studios with 3 men who helped make it such an essential part of cartoon history?  SDCC special guest, animator Willie Ito, gathers his friends and cohorts Tony Benedict (writer: Flintstones, The Jetsons) and Jerry Eisenberg (layout artist: Flintstones, Jetsons) to discuss what made early Hanna Barbera into the powerhouse of cartoon history it became.  Moderated by Leslie Combemale (Film Artist advocate/owner ArtInsights Animation & Film Art Gallery).


Spotlight on Willie Ito, Saturday, 7/26/14, 3:00p.m. – 4:00p.m.

With nearly 60 years as an animation artist, Willie Ito has done it all.  He worked at Disney on Lady and the Tramp’s spaghetti scene with mentor Iwao Takamoto and on One Froggy Evening and What’s Opera Doc at Warner Bros’ famed Termite Terrace under Chuck Jones’ direction. He went on to The Beany and Cecil Show with Bob Clampett and then Hanna Barbera for the beginnings of The Flintstones,The Jetsons and many other cartoons.  Ito has great stories & experience to share.  After HB he went to Disney Consumer Products and spearheaded implementation of collectibles and licensed products worldwide!  He has also designed comic books, comic strips, coloring books, and more.  Join animation expert Leslie Combemale of ArtInsights for a Spotlight on Willie Ito’s life, which includes the part of his childhood spent in a Japanese internment camp.  It inspired his most recent venture, a series of children’s picture books based on the experience.

Stay tuned for more news from the Con when we get there, as we scour the floor and panels for hot news or at least lukewarm doings in which we had a most excellent adventure worth relaying to you folks!

ArtInsights & Mike Kungl: Star Wars Days

photo 2


A few weeks ago my hubby, and “Cinema Spouse” and I went down to Florida to deliver a big collection of Disney interpretive art to some close friend-clients. We chose the perfect weekend for us to go, because Disney was having “Star Wars Weekends”, and our pal Mike Kungl was going to be there. We hung out, we talked art, we saw him interact with his excited fans….

Maybe you don’t know who Mike Kungl is. Or maybe you do, but you don’t know you do! He’s been on tv lots of times, by way of his delicious Star Wars limited edition art, the originals of which were all lapped up by George Lucas. Big Brother and Big Bang Theory are two notable examples…



And BIG is what Mike Kungl was always destined for. Because he has everything a successful traditional illustration artist needs and then some: He studied the great graphic designers and architects of the 20th century, as well as traditional artists that formed his own aesthetic. A great lover of art deco, both from its original period and reintroduction in the 50s, he has incorporated that style into his own work. He is not only passionate about his painting, he is also gregarious, savvy, and open-hearted. These are qualities, when mixed together, that make fans and collectors extremely loyal, at the same time as constantly spurring him on in new directions. He also has a secret weapon in his wife and partner Dana, who enthusiastically supports his creative endeavors and takes care of many of the business and marketing aspects of his career…all in an unobtrusive and honorable way. If I sound effusive, it’s because i’ve known Mike and promoted his art for years and have seen him grow and expand his design and become more and more successful, and I couldn’t be happier for him.


His project for Disneyland Paris is to die for—he designed images for what is essentially the “Downtown Disney” of their park. Huge murals and bas reliefs grace the biggest featured building. This is a huge deal. To be seen every day by Disney fans from all over the world, to raise an entire environment to an artistic experience…It was a tour-de-force. It has led to him traveling all over the world for shows in galleries and events from Paris to Tokyo and back.




He has had corporate clients since very early in his career. Recently though, his artistic reach has stretched across more properties than any other artist with whom I am connected.


He works and is an official interpretive artist for Disney in Disneyland Paris and both art licensees, Warner Brothers for both classic films and cartoons, and LucasFilm, where his images often sell out in only a few weeks. Somehow he works peacefully with almost every company with a license, which is harder than you’d think, actually…

One thing i’ve always loved about Mike and Dana…they always operate with the utmost integrity, and make sure they stay loyal to all those who support their business, but Mike never loses sight that it’s about the art. It’s about the love of movies and design and traditional illustration, and helping the fine art collectors around the world understand film art is real art.

This July, Mike is releasing a new licensed piece for Warner Brothers of King Kong, and it is just perfectly spot on, capturing both this style and the grandeur of the original film.


We expect to be doing some exciting commissions with him in the near future, and certainly now is the time for anyone interested in getting some Disney, Star Wars, and classic film images from him, as he is, much like Buzz Lightyear whom he painted for Disney. His career is going to infinity and beyond!


Contact the Gallery

ArtScans CMYK

Here is a great interview with Mike I did that was lots of fun a few years ago…

AWESOME Con DC! The Art of John Alvin panel

John Alvin postcard

There’s a Con-toddler in our midst.  It’s the nearly brand spanking new convention in DC for enthusiasts of comics, movies, cartoons, and all things geeky.  Not a moment too soon, I say…  Last year we were at another convention the same weekend so we couldn’t take part. This year, however, with the shiny folk running the show, we are having our first con panel of the year, with guest Andrea Alvin of Alvin & Associates, John Alvin’s wife and artistic partner in ” The Art of John Alvin”.

It will be on Saturday April 19th at 2:45 (Room 204C)  Info on the convention programming is at 

We are bringing some really rare original paintings created by John during his career, and it will be the first time we discuss the new book release, written by Andrea, about John and his amazing life as a film artist.  The book, which is being published through Titan Books, will have a preview release at San Diego Comic Con.   It will be a wonderful presentation, not least to hear some of the great stories of how these posters came about, and get a better understanding of the immense contribution he made to the history of film.

For some of the art we have available by John for sale, go to


many of you who know me (Leslie) know of my love of interviewing people…not the 5 minute, “tell me what the studio told you to tell me” variety of interview, but the one that goes deeper.  Well, this weekend, I get to do spotlight panels and moderate the subsequent Q&As for:

RON GLASS Saturday 10:30-11:30 (room 209C)  Ron has had an amazing career in film and theater and it shows no sign of slowing down.  I’m excited to talk to him about his life as an actor.

JEWEL STAITE Saturday 12:00-1:00 (Room 202) Jewel is best known as Kaylee in Firefly, and Dr Jennifer Keller, but most recently was featured in The Killing.  She’s a great guest and full of stories.

EASTER SUNDAY!  who needs the Easter Bunny, when you can satisfy your sweet tooth by  sinking your teeth into the stories behind the careers of these tasty actors:

NICHOLAS BRENDON Sunday 11:45-12:45 (room 207A) Nicholas played a great character as Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and as Kevin Lynch actually made a wonderful match to Garcia in Criminal Minds.

CARY ELWES Sunday 1:00-2:00 (room 202) Inconceivable?  Nope.  I’ll be asking the star about The Princess Bride, Robin Hood Men In Tights, The X-Files, Psych, and lots more. …like The Crush.  Well, we’ll talk about whatever he wants.

I hope you’ll come check out and support this new convention, even though it IS on Easter weekend–because it’s going to be a blast!  I’ll report back about the Alvin panel,  how I did in the Q&A’s, and the best tidbit I got out of each actor!

Yup, I officially have the best job in the world–I can’t wait!

Leslie, Cinema Siren

man of steel-HD

Dad of Steel – Father’s Day Open House

June 13, 2013


man of steel-HD

In celebration of the premiere of the latest DC film, Man of Steel, and with Father’s Day right around the corner, Artinsights is having a special Father’s Day/Superman open house on Saturday, June 15th! Our gallery is all prepped with tons of art from Marvel and DC Comics on the walls, so come and check out all these great heroes.

As part of “Dad of Steel”, any father who comes into the gallery will recieve a special gift, courtesy of Artinsights. In addition, any guest at the gallery can enter a drawing for a beautiful piece of DC Comics art by answering “Why my dad is a superdad/super-awesome”*. Is your dad as great as Jonathan Kent or Jor-el (Superman’s foster and biological fathers)?


“Guardians of Justice” – the best dad will take this home!


If you can’t come to the gallery, you can always check out all the cool Marvel/DC artwork that we have available on our website. The Marvel/DC show will run until July 7th.

Click here for the art of DC Comics:


Infinitely Heroic – Alex Ross

Click here for art from Marvel Comics:


Assemble – Alex Ross

Check out our Superman art here:


For Tomorrow – Jim Lee

And be sure to go see Man of Steel!



*If your father has joined Jor-El and the rest of Krypton, he can still be entered into the drawing and win.

Marvel vs. DC Press Release

May 16th, 2013
Contact: Leslie Combemale
Reston, VA – ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery has curated a show of originals and limited editions by the leading creators of official fine art images for Marvel and DC comics, including Alex Ross, Jim Lee, Gabriele Dell Otto, Simone Bianchi and Randy Martinez.  From Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, to Iron Man, Wolverine, and Captain America, the most popular and timely characters currently appearing onscreen and in pop culture will be represented.   The exhibit of art for sale will run from June 7th to July 7th, with an opening party on June 7th from 6 to 9 pm, with a DJ, refreshments, and prizes for the best costume and character portrayals.
While the art of Marvel and DC is nothing new to ArtInsights, there has been a decided increase in interest and collectibility of superhero images with the colossal box office success of comic book movies. Says ArtInsights owner Leslie Combemale, “We had Avengers and Iron Man art before the movies came out.  Of course afterwards, there were so many more requests for it!  The new art releases are perfectly timed for our show and we’re thrilled to have some images being premiered in a gallery setting.”  Adds owner Michael Barry, “We have always noticed a strong line of division that fans make about favoring Marvel or DC.  Our artist friends love all the characters they draw, but fans are a different story.  “Marvel vs. DC” is about collectors and fans being shown an exhibit of both and deciding their allegiance after seeing things from an artistic perspective. Some characters just translate better in fine art.”
Alex Ross and Jim Lee are two of the most well known artists in the comic industry, with Ross being credited with contributing to the arrival of a new Golden Age of comics with his popular hyper-realistic style, while Jim Lee is not only an artist but also creator of Wildstorm Comics, and was announced as co-publisher of DC Comics in 2010.  Their art, along with the art of other well known comic illustrators, represents a line of official fine art for the studios, with images ranging in price from $150 for a limited edition lithograph, all the way to $16,000 for a 4 foot multi-character original.
ArtInsights, established in 1994, is a privately owned gallery located just outside of DC at Reston Town Center, in Virginia.  The gallery presents the most important works of art from the 20th and 21st century film art genre, including original art from the masters of film and moving entertainment.  From film campaign artists to matte painters, from concept and layout artists to animators, ArtInsights represents the giants of film art history.  With over 30 years experience, the owners work with their worldwide collector base to build and insure the integrity of their collections.  They sell rare images used in production as well as original commissions which are often used to create official limited editions. ArtInsights exclusively represents the original art of John Alvin, Casey Robin, and Ben Curtis Jones, and also exhibits Tim Rogerson, Jim Salvati, Mike Kungl, Chuck Jones, Christian Waggoner, Steve Chorney, Mary Grandpre and and many other artists made famous by their work for the major Hollywood studios.  Featured studios include Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and 20th Century Fox, in a display of images from the best classic movies and animated features of the last 100 years as well as newer classics like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Star Trek.

Coming Soon: Marvel/DC

May 17, 2013




Marvel? or DC? That’s an age-old question. Well, we love them both (a lot) and as a result, we have a ton of amazing superhero art that we want to show you! We thought, what better time to host a Marvel vs. DC show than this summer–what with Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel being released…


The show will feature animation cels as well as artwork by Jim Lee, Bruce Timm, Randy Martinez, Glen Orbik, and more. Some pieces are signed by Stan Lee, and that is pretty neat. Also, we have never-before-seen works from Alex Ross–including an exclusive pre-release Batman painting.


We’re so excited about the show that we’re even throwing a party. (You’re invited obviously.) It’s going to be on Friday June 7th from 6 to 9 PM, to celebrate the opening of the show. There will be music and lights and art and good times. Plus, if you dress up as a superhero (or villain), there’s a chance that you’ll win a cool  prize. 


Don’t miss the show! Make sure you visit us at 11921 Freedom Drive in Reston Town Center between June 7th and July 7th.




 Vist Marvel and DC Comics online.

Coco and Leslie Princesses

Holidays again at ArtInsights


Holidays at Reston, New Shows, Costumes.  Yeah.  We have fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2011



Just came back from playing Belle in the Reston Town Center holiday parade.  I asked by sister Coco to play Cinderella.  She looks so much like her, she could be hired at Disney.  We also had the 501st Legion with us in the parade, and they are always wonderful to have–helpful, very interested in charity (we love that!)…


Coco and Leslie Princesses


I’ve played Snow White (there are pictures…), Maleficent, the Queen from Snow White, Cruella, A fictitious professor at Hogwarts, a pirate on Jack Sparrow’s ship, Princess Leia, the Grinch, Bugs Bunny, and now, Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  


Just when you wonder what good going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England will do…since when I dress as Snow White I look not a little like a drag queen I have discovered kids just love princesses, and they won’t notice that instead of 15 she might look around 35.  Today as Belle I get spontaneous hus Bless them, I say…


We have been so busy this year we haven’t had time to update what we’ve been doing on this blog, but let’s just say we’ve spent lots of time out at conventions and special events…



I was at the Harry Potter premiere in London for the very last movie and walked a red carpet that is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for its length.


We had our very first panel for The Art of the Hollywood Movie Poster at the San Diego Comic Convention.  (it went so well we had folks who had sat in on other panels just to be able to get into ours!! a great sign!)


We were also at Leakycon, went to Paris and the South of France to visit animators and go to a family reunion, and went to D23, where we were the only ones who had ONLY original art by Disney interpretive artists.  


I’ll tell more when I ever write “ArtInsights: The World Tour”.


All of it went incredibly well, and we’ve had our best year so far!  


We have big new things in store, and have plans to work with more wonderful artists we met on our travels, but just getting through the year doing what we planned was amazing!


We haven’t been actively open as much this year, because we’ve been gone so much so for those of you interested in visiting us, give a call and make sure we aren’t off somewhere doing ambassador stuff for the art of film, or visiting John Alvin’s wife Andrea, or some such fun thing, because we’d love to see you!


Meanwhile, one of the big additions to our offering (and workload!) is we started including movie reviews on our web magazine more and more, and Cinema Siren is featured on Patch now, not just a few favorite Patches, (like and, both of which are edited by good friends) but often we are featured on tons of Patches all over Northern Virginia and Maryland, and we’ve had up to 200,000 people read one review so far.  Should we aim for a million???


Not sure where that will take us, but we know it will expand awareness of film art, which is good, since it takes a long time to write them, and we take it seriously!


We are just finishing up the opening of Chuck Jones’s 100th Birthday kick-off, (an honor from the family) and we were involved in the first Washington West film festival (I was a juror) and we represented Chuck’s family at the festival.  I also voted for some amazing animated films and met some great film makers.


We’ve interviewed some great artists this year, and covered some great events (like the Harry Potter premiere!) and look forward to doing that more and more!


Our big new deal this December is some John Alvin art we’ve actually been authorized to sell for his estate, and we are trying to get as much of it on our site as possible.  We want also to try to change to Paypal International so we can take payments from all over the world without a headache for the clients, and so we can be assured everything gets processed smoothly for everyone.  We’ll let you know when we get all that together!


Keep checking back to see more of John’s art, like originals from Blade Runner and E.T. when he was working on the posters for those films.  VERY exciting!


New artists are joining us all the time, but we are only a few of us here, so we add them slowly!  Check back for that too.  We also have a new intern, Victory, so if she answers the phone, say hi to her, she’s a great help to us.


Lastly, if you appreciate our web magazine, my interviews, reviews, and our educational perspective, both inside the gallery and out in the world, tell the world about how wonderful we are.  That’s how we get our best clients, is through word of mouth.  Usually once people start buying from us, they find we are jolly good fun!!


Thanks and happy holidays!


Leslie (and Michael!)

2009 Year-End Animation Round-Up

This afternoon, on January 1st, 2010, i was staring at the fire in our fireplace, and started thinking about the movies i’d seen this year.  I realized what an incredible year 2009 has been for animation features.  When I think of all the artistic expression and talent poured onto the screen,  i feel very proud to be a part of that world, and it fills me with excitement for the future of animation.  From Pixar’s poignant “UP”, to the gorgeous yet thoroughly creepy movies “Coraline” and “9”, the beautifully executed and charming “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and reinvigorations and reinventions of 2D classic animation of Miyazaki’s “Ponyo” and Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog”, this year in animation has been absolutely amazing.  Such talent and beauty should be lauded, rewarded, and thoroughly appreciated, and the aforementioned movies were just the major releases.  Imagine what they were doing at the universities and in studios across the world…


I started selling animation art in 1988, right before the “new golden age” at Disney, with “The Little Mermaid”, “The Lion King”, and the other new classics.  Of course, i’ve been a fan of cartoons my whole life, starting all the way back to when i lived in Positano, Italy and Paris, France.  All the Disney movies and many of the cartoon shorts showed there, teaching me early that animation was universal.  At my gallery ArtInsights I get daily affirmation of the universality of animation with the visitors we get  from places like China, Finland, Scotland, and Indonesia, who know the characters  Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, and Bugs Bunny, among others…  In the time i’ve been selling and promoting the art of the animated film, the industry has changed significantly.  I have watched the Pixar revolution alter the way computer animated cartoons are seen and appreciated, Stop motion animation has gained respectability through the genius of Henry Selick and Tim Burton.  More and more traditional film directors are embracing animation films as part of their filmography, attempting to articulate their aesthetic through the medium, as Wes Anderson did to great success this year with The Fabulous Mr. Fox.  The same is true for actors and actresses now actively choosing to voice characters in animated films.  Of course the financial proposition of creating a successful feature length animation film means getting the biggest names involved as possible, but clearly enthusiasm by these big names to be considered or thought of first for starring roles has increased as the artistry of these films has become more universally accepted.  


As to the movies themselves, they are as real and deep, as or perhaps more filled with meaning as their live action counterparts.  I’d love to see at least one of these movies listed in the best film oscar category.  I have my own favorites….I have a lot of loyalty to “The Princess and the Frog”, having interviewed several of the lead animators and loving New Orleans as I do.  The backgrounds and visual effects in this movie were more beautiful than even i was expecting.  Every song was great, and the leads were wonderful, especially Anika Noni Rose.  I can’t believe the box office totals haven’t been higher, as witness the great disparity between it and the new chipmunks “Squeakwal”, although i’ll have to say i haven’t seen it and probably won’t see it…call me a cartoon snob, i admit it.  I’m hopeful the international sales will be much higher and will lead to its ultimate success, because a lot is riding on it, no less than the future of 2D animation at Disney.  Coraline is spectacular in every way, and although it creeped the hell out of me, I think i could watch that movie 100 times.  The colors were vibrant, the story flowed easily, and there were layers of meaning that allow both children and adults to walk away in contemplation, and the movie stays with you.  I think Coraline will be much like Nightmare Before Christmas in it’s longevity and cult to mainstream following.  This places Henry Selick even higher in my esteem as a director.   “UP” was interesting in that I went to see it more because I had to than any genuine enthusiasm for the storyline or visual appeal,  but walked out shocked at how wonderful and deep it was. Visually stunning, yes, even more so than Wall-E, and more colorful, although that was in part the difference in story.  The fact that Ed Asner, an actor i respect and love, was one of the leads also got me to the movie theatre, and as usual, he was not a disappointment.  There was a poignancy to his story, and such growth in his character.  I loved that, because he was older, so that was a great lesson to older viewers, as well as a goal to stay open for younger ones.   


“9”, “Ponyo”, and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” point to the power of auteur directors and their skill of storytelling.  FIrst time feature director Shane Acker, Japanese national treasure Hayao Miyazaki, and independent darling Wes Anderson are the artists responsible these three films, and they definitely brand these releases with their unique aesthetics.  Miyazaki is responsible for some of the best animated films to come out of Japan.  Although his movies have never been seen as “just animation” in his home country, his studio has a huge share in the responsibility for expanding the acceptance and love of the animated feature film worldwide. Not all his cartoons have been revoiced for english audiences, but more and more of them have plans in that direction as they are released.  (his two most recent movies are Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke) Having the long standing personal label as “the Japanese Walt Disney”, it makes sense that Disney has been collaborating for some time now with his Ghibli Studio.  Wes Anderson is known for his independent live action films like Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums.  One of my favorite directors Martin Scorsese is a big fan of his movies, and he is in crowded company, so the fact that he has added a stop motion animated movie to his filmography is exciting.  It means he thought it was an important addition, a way to expand his knowledge of filmmaking, and he’d be right.  I think his love of the craft, the fun he has creating all his movies, shows on the screen for the entirety of Fantastic Mr. Fox.  Shane Acker is a first time feature animation direction with 9. Time will tell if he will be the hot director many believe he’s destined to become, but he sites influences German animator Christoph Lauenstein and the Czech artist Jan Svankmajer, who also inspired Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam, so that’s a good sign for his future, and a sign of his dedication to learning and expanding his artistic perspective.  He was involved in all aspects of the feature, very auteur, but supposedly very collaborative as well.  I forgive the confusing ending for the gorgeousness of the movie as a whole.  


Also in 2009, animation made two big splashes in the art world. The one man retrospective show at MOMA, “Tim Burton”, is the largest show ever to feature a filmmaker’s art ( ). The largest collection of original animation art ever featured in a museum show is at the New Orleans Museum of Art, in “Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from the Walt Disney Studios”  (  


My experience of and desire for animation being seen as real art stems from the many times people new to ArtInsights in the years we’ve been open and after 30 seconds in the gallery, do a 360 degree twirl and ask, “are there any galleries with FINE ART in the center?”.   I’ve also been shuffled from department to department when sending press releases to the Washington Post:  from the arts section to the movie section to the children’s and back again…We once had Marc Davis and Mary Costa, one of the most famous animators in the history of Disney, a Disney “Legend”,  and animator of Maleficent, and the voice of Sleeping Beauty herself, and we didn’t even get listed in the arts calendar.  That was about 10 years ago.  This last year has given me more expectation of the art form being accepted as a whole.  I am a little surprised, however, at how little press the show in New Orleans got.  When John Lasseter said he wanted the next big show featuring art from the animation research library inside Disney, where more than 60 million pieces of original animation from the history of Disney are stored and catalogued, to be held at MOMA, he knew what he was talking about.  The amount of press the Tim Burton show got surpassed the NOMA show by about a factor of 100!


Now would be the time to say that, as Oscars go, i’m rooting for UP and Coraline.  I loved The Princess and the Frog, and urge you to see and support it, even though Disney is big business, not independent.  Supporting 2D going forward is supporting the melding of the old and the new, the hands on artistry with the innovative.  UP, though not as much my long term personal favorite as Wall-E or Monsters Inc, featured a story that fearlessly showed loss, grief and neglect, as well as families made, not born.  It was flawlessly acted and visually stunning.  and funny.  I want it to get at least nominated for the Oscar.    Coraline is so quirky and yet so beautiful.  I absolutely predict it will be a longterm favorite and its fans will grow steadily over the years.  If it gets nominated or wins best movie, i’d be beyond pleased.  I’m so excited about what the release of these movies in 2009 means for the industry.  


Note to directors, both new and established:  Animation can be part of your the future in the movie industry.  You can bring whatever you want to it.  
It can be creative….artistic…fearless…funny…innovative….  


But i’ve been saying that for years.


tim burton artinisghts

Experiencing the Tim Burton One-Man Show


TIM BURTON AT MOMA: New Exhibit of over 700 pieces of The art of Tim Burton!


A celebration of “stepchild” art, a stubborn adherence to a unique vision, and a big fat kiss to individuality.


It’s the last day in November and after mulling over the gorgeous new museum show at the Museum of Modern Art, I’m finally sitting down to write about it. It’s the night before Disney plays the new Christmas special “Prep and Landing”, the new show Disney insiders believe will be an instant classic.  This new cartoon owes a huge debt to Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.  


tim burton artinisghts


Anyone who knows me at all knows i have been a fan of Tim Burton’s work for a long time, all the way back to Frankenweenie.  I saw Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993. (or as we call it–with apologies to the Disney owned ABC– “NBC”)  I saw it on opening night, and saw it multiple times.  The first time i remember wondering, “are they ever going to stop singing??”,  then I grew to adore all the songs.  I remember making a special trip to the Disney store to buy all things NBC at the time, finding boxer shorts and a tie.  I was an NBC fan before it was cool, and believe me it took quite some time to be the cult favorite with the diehard fans it has now.  So when “Prep and Landing” becomes an instant classic, they’d better write a thank you note to Tim Burton.  


I watched the short video interview of Tim Burton the day before Thanksgiving.


Burton talked about how, unlike many kids, his teacher supported and encouraged his unique style of drawing and the subject matter he was drawn to, so all day on Thanksgiving I kept feeling so grateful to the great teachers of the world.  My dad is a teacher, and I had some wonderful free-thinking openminded teachers as a kid.  I even give a teacher discount in the gallery.  I can imagine how often unique talent and vision is squelched by a teacher or adult who warns they are too outside the norm and trains them away from developing and expanding truly inventive ideas.  Such was not the case with Tim Burton, and the movie viewing public and fans of art are all the better for it.  The press release by MOMA (a work of art in itself..) says the show “brings together hundreds of artworks and film related objects to trace the trajectory of Burton’s creative imagination.” The curators, who had access to Tim Burton’s entire personal collection, seem to have crawled into his mind and come back out with these 700 pieces to show for it.  What a strange trip it must have been!  

There are several things that struck me most about the show as a whole. One is   how often he created far more as a visual artist than just to get his ideas down onto paper.  There are many pieces of art that seem to be part purpose, part whimsy.  The image of a martian, his robes painted with sparkly red paint.  As a costume or character study, the sparkles are seriously superfluous, but wonderful nonetheless!  Some images that have multiple drawings on them seem to be part doodle, part  model sheet.  It seems often in his work he is in the flow of creativity, creating to create, and if the resulting images aid in a current or future project, he’s all the happier.  


There is a cohesive quality to Burton’s art, consistently evoking the themes of outsiders misunderstood as villains, the crushing uniformity and homogeny of suburbia, and celebrating the genres of classic horror and 50s scifi.  


I always think it’s a good sign that a director uses the same collaborators over and over in their work, and Tim Burton is definitely one of those directors.  He has partnered on multiple occasions with production designer Rick Heinrichs, and costume designer Colleen Atwood, both of whom are Oscar winners, and many soundtrack fans know Danny Elfman through the many Tim Burton movies for which he has created scores.  There are pieces included in the show by both Heinrichs and Atwood, and Elfman’s music is played throughout the exhibit.  There are also pieces by the great storyboard artist/screenwriter Joe Ranft, who’s career was cut short when he died in a car accident in 2005.  


About the show:  The sheer volume of art is daunting.  Visitors enter through a big Tim Burton created creature mouth, and walk a long hallway down which multiple screens are looping “The World of Stainboy”, a series of cartoons created in 2000 by Burton, based on characters in the book “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy”. 
I was pleased to see, as i came in and out of the show that day, so many people sitting and watching each episode from beginning to end.  If you go I recommend you watch them, because they aren’t easy to find elsewhere.  The hall opens into a dark room with some glow in the dark paintings and a large sculpture in the corner. 


Then you walk though a door and enter the first main gallery.  This part of the show is broken up into 3 parts.  It starts out when Tim himself was just starting out, with early childhood drawings as well as images he created as a teenager.  This part is called “Surviving Burbank”.  There are many pen and ink drawings, some films he shot on a super 8mm, and a children’s book he created and submitted at Disney, where he dreamed of working. (!!)


 The second section is called “Beautifying Burbank”, which was also the name of an art contest he won that was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.  This section shows his progression as an artist, and features some of the drawings he created while apprenticing at Disney.  At this point in the show, I already got a sense of just how prolific Burton is, how much he has always seemed to depend on his art to guide his vision and express the many (often dark) rooms in his imagination.  My eyes were assaulted in the best possible way with bright colors, and gray scale pen and inks.  Hundreds of drawings, along with fully rendered paintings, sculptures, and screens showing his many animated and live action shorts surround you as you continue through the show to the third section, “Beyond Burbank”.  This section features examples of not only Tim Burton’s art, but work by collaborators Colleen Atwood, Stan Winston, puppet craftsmen Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunders, and the design studio of Carlos Grangel.  There are costumes, props, and puppets on loan from Disney, Warner Bros., and Fox, from Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, Corpse Bride, and Mars Attacks, among others.  For fans of movie memorabilia, this will be their favorite section.  There is a whole section on the bottom floor with a display of 29 large polaroids Burton created (just for kicks, apparently…) between 1992 and 1999.  There is also a collection of movie posters in the theatre lobby galleries.  A reindeer topiary stands in the sculpture garden, as an ode to “Edward Scissorhands”.  Throughout the exhibit there are also 7 brand new pieces Burton created just for this show.  


There are definitely moments throughout the show where whether you’re a lover of fine art, a fan of Tim Burton, or just a movie lover, your jaw will drop.  It is so much fun!  


For me the best part of it is the way the show makes most everyone feel connected to the art by their memories of seeing one of the movies it represents.  I know this feeling is evoked often in my gallery when a visitor sees a Bugs Bunny sketch, or a cel from Snow White, or a painting created to make Star Wars.  Kids come in and see, sometimes for the first time, that art can be a very personal thing, connected to something they understand or remember from their childhood.  Tim Burton’s art does that, whether it is expressing to you his long love of classic horror movies, teenage alienation, or some movie of his you’ve seen expressed for the very first time in a story sketch or character study.  If art is meant to inspire and evoke a feeling, the Tim Burton show succeeds mightily!  The whole show reminds me of the scene in Nightmare Before Christmas where Jack is trying to explain Christmas to the folks of Halloweentown.  Tim Burton seems to be trying to help explain a completely different and beautiful world.  He seems happily determined to explain his  different way of looking at life to a world that can’t see it without his help, all through his art…


I’m left with a strange mix of joy gratitude pride and resentment, because I’ve been showing animation art, and art by Tim Burton, and from Nightmare Before Christmas, for 22 years now. I heard some visitors i encountered on the first member preview day–the same type of folks who until very recently would come into my gallery, look around, and announce, “oh.  you sell children’s art.  Are there any real galleries in this shopping center?”  are now being overheard while examining a Tim Burton original sketch for Nightmare Before Christmas saying “oh. I see the influence of the German expressionist filmmakers…”  oye.  or yea.  


There are two new exhibits,  “Dreams Come True” at the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Tim Burton show at MOMA happening at the same time this year, after very little representation of film and animation art in museum shows.  The Tim Burton show is the first ever one man show of film and illustration art at MOMA.   I hope this signals a greater acceptance by the art community to welcome what i call “stepchild art”, art not cool enough to be outsider, not traditional enough to be accepted, into the many artistic genres long embraced as “real art” by the art critics and art snobs of the world.  I also hope, as i am an eternal optimist, that in the near future some teacher somewhere will recall one of these shows and think of the artistic genius a teacher long ago allowed to blossom in Tim Burton, and support the quirky nontraditional art of some budding artist.  Who knows who’s future MOMA show we might be attending as a result?


In the meantime, celebrate your own appreciation of individuality and unique vision.  Do yourself a favor and scurry your eight monster legs or your striped socks on up to NYC to see Tim Burton at MOMA.  Your eyes and your hearts will thank you!
 TimBurton tunnel


 here’s me at the entrance, with all my press info. into the belly of the beast!   sweet! 







this is the piece in the corner of the dark room.  Tim has always been a sucker for all things carnival… 


 topiary burton


 Here is the topiary in the sculpture garden.  Just in time for the holidays!






 Teen goths everywhere would no doubt faint at the sight of this awesome doodle spectacular.  Our favorite director’s mind made ink!