Blade Runner by John Alvin. Everyone knows what that poster looks like….John Alvin is known for a number of images, although sometimes not by name.The prolific and genius movie poster artist called it “the promise of a great experience”, when he created the key art for over 200 movies.If you remember, when recalling a movie, the poster instead of a scene from the film, that’s a great movie poster. John Alvin did that many many times. The Lion King, E.T., Young Frankenstein, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Blazing Saddles, and of course, Blade Runner, are just a few of the posters he created.
Blade Runner 2049 is releasing to overwhelmingly great reviews.Seeing it and writing about the film for Cinema Siren,I couldn’t help but think John would have loved the new movie as much as he did the one in 1982.He talked about it a lot to me during our friendship.One thing that the new movie has done is yet again reinvigorated interest and appreciation for the classic sci-fi film and its poster.
So, we have a few images created by John Alvin that those of you who love traditionally illustrated movie posters and the great movie from 1982 can buy and have for yourself.There are two limited editions, and in several versions.Neither is signed by John Alvin, but they are both gorgeous, and capture the cyber punk aesthetic and emotional power of the film.
We also have one of the “I’ve Seen Things “ that was sent to John for approval before they created the edition. He had intended to keep it and frame it for his own studio, and so he signed it.It’s the only signed piece from the edition, and is oversized.It might be best purchased by someone within driving distance, although, for what will be fairly expensive endeavor, we can ship the framed piece anywhere.The size of it is 40 x 53 inches. We also have one original graphite from 1982 used in the making of the finished poster.If you’re interested in that, give us a call.It’s pricey, but a piece of film history.Several collectors recognized the importance of John Alvin’s work as part of film history when his key art for E.T. went at auction for $400,000.There are movie lovers all over the world, after all!
The edition called “No Choice, Pal” has been created with the estate of John Alvin, and has a number of versions.Delivery takes about 4 to 6 weeks, although will get faster as we continue on our path to doing more publishing for both John’s work and the work of our other artist partners.
Here’s the info on “No Choice, Pal”:
Giclee on paper: edition size 1982, 6 APs, 6 PPs. size 14 x 19, image size 10 x 15. Retail $125.
Giclee on canvas: edition size 263 with 6 APs, 6 PPs. size is 19 x 23.75, Image Size: 15″ x 19.75 Retail $495.
Oh San Diego Comic-Con, how we love you and love/hate you. Two gazillion folks wandering the aisles at once. We should all be making Mooing sounds. And yet, there’s no better place to have an art release, especially by fan favorite Alex Ross. We had seen the images, but had to see them in person to report back to anyone “on the fence” or wanting to hear our opinion of how dramatically they presented in person.
As always, at SDCC 2017, we are double-focused. We get to see all the new releases, especially by Alex. We also scour the con for new artists or artists we want to work with more.We found a few potential future partners, so we’ll see how that develops, and will update you as we do.
Meanwhile, we made a direct march to the Alex Ross booth first thing on Wednesday night, accompanied by clients who wanted to see them with us. Sure enough, there were some gorgeous pieces released, like the Universal Monsters pieces, the Marvel shadows pieces. Did what we love sell the best? Were we spot-on with our prediction of which would be the hottest and best received?
In a word, YES! Surprising me not at all, the Universal Monsters series was the most popular. I knew the images would be a big hit, even though they aren’t comic-book derived.There’s something about seeing Alex Ross’s art in shades of grey, without his usual color palette, that really shows how well he uses shadow and light. You can see the influence great illustrators have had on him, like J.C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell, who were both geniuses with light.
There were only 15 sets of the series put aside as sets, and they of course sold out.We have several we have bought for our clients, so contact ASAP if you’re interested, or love all things monsters.The Dracula and the Creature from the Black Lagoon are our favorites in terms of images, but everyone loves the Bride of Frankenstein!
We sold as many Marvel shadows series sets as we could get our hands on, and are still trying to see if anyone who had right of first refusal says no, so do let us know if you’re interested in them as well! We have the images individually if there’s a superhero you love more than the rest.We’ve had hundreds more hits on Iron Man, although we love Thor the best. They are $825 each unframed and rolled.
OMG BATMAN DETECTIVE #31 AND SCARS
Tucked into the interior of the booth was one of my two favorite new releases, the Detective #31 piece, inspired by an old comic book most of you fans will know inside and out. I was driven to read the old classic from seeing Alex’s new interpretation of the cover.I knew it would be gorgeous in person, and I brought several of my clients in to see it, and actually sold 3 more for the booth while I showed the piece to my own clients!My favorite colors, red and purple, are featured.What’s not to love?
(see below for the original and one of the first homages of Detective Comics #31)
The other piece I knew would be a huge hit is Scars, but as intense as the subject matter is, it’s still impressive as art. I see the symbolism and metaphor of outside scars vs. inside scars, as well as the power of Alex using black and white, but it was for Batman Black and White, a BIG DEAL book they did at DC that Batman fans always list as one of their favorites.
There are other releases, but those are the ones that struck us the most, and those are the ones that made the fans and collectors crazy in the best possible way.
Balancing our Cinema Siren / Women Rocking Hollywood panels with our work for ArtInsights is always a challenge at San Diego Comic-Con.Those of you who know us here, know our passion for changing the status quo for women in film, both in live action and animation.It is a natural extension of working with the art of film and Leslie being a film critic.We were thrilled, then, to be able to succeed in our panels (videos coming soon!!) and see some great new art that we can wholeheartedly approve and get behind.
We are always working on our next great new partnership, and we’ll let you know when we get there—we take things slowly now so we know we are in something supremely cool and future-bound!
I can’t believe it’s been 20 years.These are the books that spawned a thousand ‘ships’ and fanfics, not to mention creating one of the richest women in the world, the highest paid actress, blockbuster movies, Wizard Rock, many conversations about acceptance and tolerance, kids that read voraciously for the first time, a crazy powerful fandom,conventions that broke records and brought friends together, positive actions in the form of charities like the HP Alliance, and of course, art.
At the very beginning of the series, when it hadn’t even gotten to the states yet, my friend Ruth had interest in the series, and she paid attention to when Scholastic released them in the US, going after the license to release the art here, with all the art created by illustrator Mary GrandPre. She told me years later no one believed it would sell.I was the first person to promote them when she announced the collection.They were beautiful, created by a female illustrator, and celebrated reading! How could I not be excited?
I started to work with her as much as possible, and when new pieces were released, I was the person who promoted them the most.This led to getting some exclusive pieces for the gallery, and to being part of a number of Harry Potter fan panels at San Diego Comic-Con, where I met some wonderful friends I am close to and respect to this day.
Here is me on the panel with Darrin Criss, before he got hugely famous, but not before he had become the Harry Potter version of one of the Beatles. Seriously, there were shrieks from his fans during and after the panel, and someone proposed to him.
One of the weirdest things about being part of the Harry Potter world and selling the art, is I became a strange sort of minor celebrity in the fandom….not like the StarKids or MuggleNet or the Wizard rockers, but still, people knew who I was. After the above panel, two teenage girls came up and asked me for my autograph.What?? I showed them where the line was to meet Darrin….but they said I was the reason they were going to study art, because they wanted to be part of creating the official art and in my various talks I’d explained about the value and importance of illustration art. It’s the one and only time it happened, but it was very sweet. It also made me feel good about what I do for a living. I was particularly pleased when the collection of art by Mary GrandPre wound up in a Buzzfeed post and it got viewed, well, lots and lots and lots. It was posted on June 26th, as well, only in 2013!
When Leavesden was opening and they were going to have an exhibit of art and a shop with items for sale, Ruth was able to talk them into releasing art signed by Oscar-winning production designer Stuart Craig, that showed his ideas for various locations in the movies, with the fully rendered images created by architectural and movie concept artist Andrew Williamson.Again, they didn’t think they’d sell, and again, they proved hugely popular.Here is one of my favorites:
I also, in the time that HP got more and more famous, became closer friends with artist Jim Salvati, who had actually worked on the films as a concept artist, and so I got some art from him he had done for the movie.That was incredibly exciting, and those who love the movies can really appreciate how the intensity and passion as an artist fits with the themes of the movie.Here’s a limited edition with Harry and Hedwig:
Every day I encounter some reference to HP, or think of one.This morning on my walk, I was going to once again avoid the walking tunnel that goes under a big road because it looks creepy, dangerous, and frankly, it reminds me of Death Eaters.Today, though, I ran through it in honor of the anniversary (crazy, but what can I say?) and as I checked my fitbit, the number was 7,777.
I had to laugh.
Thanks, Jo.You’ve inspired millions of kids to read, write, draw, find acceptance, and aspire to more.We’ll keep reading the books, watching the movies, writing the fanfic, and creating art, and when we do, we’ll think of you, and of Harry, the boy who lived.
ps. If you want to see all the official art of Harry Potter available for purchase, go HERE.
Join us at Mon Ami Gabi Reston on Tuesday, June 6, and Wednesday, June 7, at Mon Ami Gabi Bethesda, for an evening of delicious french fare, thought-provoking art and great conversation, featuring artist Tennessee Loveless and ArtInsights gallery owner Leslie Combemale.
The renowned contemporary artist and contemporary art expert are partnering with the restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You, hosting the Art Outsiders Wine Dinner in both locations. Tennessee and Leslie will present Loveless’s famed project “The Art Outsiders,” discussing the creative process behind the development of the project.
The Art Outsiders is a collection of portraits of people who were outsiders in their own fields for work. From science, music, art, writing, fashion and beyond, their stories are uniquely embedded into the design of each portrait, allowing each work of art to display a narrative of history, courage and perseverance.
Evening includes a welcome reception with passed hors d’oeuvres starting at 6:30 pm, followed by a five-course dinner paired with boutique wines. Click here to see the full menu. The event is priced at $75 per guest (plus tax, gratuity not included). Advanced tickets required; please call Mon Ami Gabi at 703-707-0233 to book your reservation for Reston, and 301-654-1234 to book your reservation for Bethesda.
Here’s the menu, but by all means click to see more information!
About Mon Ami Gabi:
Mon Ami Gabi is a classic French bistro that embraces a passion for food, wine and culture. Whether you come for the Onion Soup Au Gratin, Steak Frites or decadent Profiteroles, Mon Ami Gabi offers something to satisfy all tastes. For those looking to indulge in a unique dish, the Escargots de Bourgogne with garlic-herb butter is literally a sizzling experience. To complement the menu, an extensive selection of more than 80 boutique French wine varietals, handpicked by renowned chef and owner Gabino Sotelino, are served by the glass or bottle from our signature rolling wine cart. While the favorites are here in abundance, there’s always something new when you’re ready to fall in love all over again.
About Lettuce Entertain You:
Since its beginning in 1971, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE) has maintained a sense of humor and enjoyment while creating high quality, successful restaurants. Due to the innovation of LEYE’s Founder and Chairman, Richard Melman, and his creative team of partners and employees, LEYE currently owns, licenses or manages more than 100 establishments in Illinois, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, California, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia.
Sometimes my persona as Cinema Siren and my metier as an art gallery owner and expert in animation come together in a delightful way. Not often, mind you, but yes, from time to time. This week I got to see the new Beauty and the Beast in advance and reviewed it for my readers (you can find it here), and I daresay there are few people outside of Disney who have seen the 1991 animated feature as often as I have, so it was fairly easy to compare the two films, the songs, the characters, and the live-action verses the animated backgrounds and scenery.
Though excited and openminded about what Disney might do to bring new life to a recent classic, I was also concerned that Belle would remain the strong, positive, inspiring role model Linda Woolverton created her to be.In fact, I needn’t have worried. As portrayed by Emma Watson and written by the new screenwriters, (both of whom were men) Belle is not only a loyal friend and daughter, she is also an inventor, avid reader, and would-be fearless adventurer.
As someone who loves the animated film and its heroine to be near perfection for the era and technology of the time, of course seeing the new movie brought back all the warm feelings I have for the older one.That includes the memories I have of talking to John Alvin about his part in creating the adult campaign, which wound up being the only campaign.That iconic poster of Belle and the Beast dancing is forever etched in my mind, as only the best cinematic images always are.Disney hired John to create an image for the movie poster that would appeal to adults because he was already known for iconic, emotional images like the one he had created for E.T.John excelled at the use of light, smoke, and shadow to build a magical, mystical quality.It’s the Beauty and the Beast poster that gave birth to the expression “Alvin-izing, which captured a feeling, a visual romance, that, as John himself used to call it “created the promise of a great experience”.In talking about the making of the poster image, he talked about using “heavy light”, the light Stephen Spielberg used in E.T. and Close Encounters. That was the look he was trying to emulate in the Beauty and the Beast art. It was only the second time John Alvin had worked with Disney, and the poster was such a success, it led to a long and fulfilling partnership with Disney feature animation.
I also remember when Disney had the auction at Sotheby’s where they sold original backgrounds from the film. You see, Beauty and the Beast had no cels.It was just after they had switched away from using them, in favor of scanning the original 2D drawings and coloring them inside the computer. Still, the movie was such a hit, people wanted whatever original art they could get from it, so it was standing room only, and even famous collectors filled the auction house, eager to get a piece of what even then they knew was animation history.Since then, if you ask members of the Disney archives and research library, they’ll tell you it was a mistake to let backgrounds vital to the history of the film go to collectors.At the time, it was very controversial in the world of animation that they were going to create cels for the original backgrounds from the movie. Some collectors wouldn’t touch them.The original estimate, during all the fuss about created cels, was $670,000.The results of the auction were actually double that, bringing in $1,255,815.
Also, the ballroom scene was an example of the steps towards computer animation, and the entire scene was a mix of both hand-drawn and computer animated elements. One of the best things about the new film is the fact that the ballroom sequence could be brought to real life. The design team, which I highlight in my review as being all female-led, spearheaded the utilization of 7 x 4 foot chandeliers inspired by those in Versailles.
As to some of the concern by fans that artists involved with the original would feel like they were slighted by a live action film that was so heavily inspired by their work, I say, ‘rest easy’…I know a bunch of them, including one of the producers who also produced the new live action update.They feel honored, appreciated, and edified to know their project not only stands the test of time, but so inspired a new group of artists that they painstakingly researched their work in the development of this new iteration.
If you’d like to see several originals used in the process of John Alvin creating the iconic movie poster for 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, stop by ArtInsights.See the new movie first, so we can talk about it, and celebrate the wonderful history of this classic story, a tale, as they say, as old as time.
In honor of the Women’s March in Washington on inauguration weekend, we are offering some rare Wonder Woman original production art from Justice League. They are drawings, as they didn’t use cels in the animation, and we don’t have a bunch, but the 8 we have are all wonderful, kick-ass, and represent the character well! CHECK THEM OUT HERE. We will only have them this weekend, so now is the time!
Many of you know we have a large contingent of collectors and art and animation fans meeting up at the gallery and going in to march on Saturday. That’s not to say we don’t love our ‘Right-minded’ collectors, but we all have to walk our walk as WELL as talk our talk, and that is particularly true to those of us in art and small business.
Those of us who are marching, and those supporting those who will be there certainly need inspiration and motivation, and this demigoddess is the Amazonian to give it! A percentage of all sales this weekend will benefit Planned Parenthood. CELEBRATE POWER and THE WONDER OF WOMANHOOD this weekend!
Also, all the art available for purchase is benefitting women-owned small businesses: both in the retail and wholesale! We are working with the lovely and hard-working Ruth Clampett of Clampett Studio, and her cohort Michelle Smart, who handles production art for them. I, Leslie Combemale, CRAZY FEMINIST ART LOVER, co-own ArtInsights (as you know)…Plus you will also be supporting low cost healthcare for women around the country. So what are you waiting for? Lasso yourself a great new piece of art 🙂
We are so excited to host famed long-time DJ and radio broadcaster Cerphe Colwell of Music Planet Radio at ArtInsights! He’ll be signing copies of his book Cerphe’s Up, about his 45 years as a rock and roll insider in and around the DC area.
In preparation of his coming to the gallery, we put together some great originals and limited editions from our collection to display, including great pieces of David Bowie, Kate Bush, Ringo Starr, and the Beatles, by artists Tennessee Loveless, Jim Salvati, and Alex Ross.
If you are a music fan you should definitely come meet Cerphe 2-4 pm on January 28th, when he will be at ArtInsights in Reston Town Center…(on a day when parking is free;)
His stories are legendary, as is his kind, mellow demeanor.Cerphe’s Up features great interviews with Tom Waits, Stevie Nicks, George Harrison, The Rolling Stones, and more. Currently playing great tunes at the successful internet radio station Music Planet Radio, he has worked for WAVA, DC101, and WJFK, and is the one who brought an unknown Bruce Springsteen to the attention of DC music lovers. He has the awards to prove it! It’s also co-authored by Stephen Moore, who has co-authored three other successful books about awesome famous people, including Washington treasure Helen H
Cerphe’s Up has nothing but 5 star reviews, and it has become a bestseller. You can buy it at our event and have him sign it to you directly, or signed to the favorite rock and roll historian, musician, or music fan in your family and friends. JUST IN TIME FOR VALENTINE’S DAY!
We’ll also have the art of romance, as we do right around Valentine’s Day.It might be early for those guys out there who forget until the day of and wander home with flowers you buy from 7/11, but that just means you will be prepared.We have The Little Mermaid’s Eric and Ariel, Belle and the Beast, Mickey and Minnie, lots of the other cartoon couples you might enjoy.
Obviously Cerphe’s Up will make a wonderful Valentine’s gift for music-minded loved ones….and speaking of ROCK AND ROLL, so will the awesome art we have on display by Tennessee Loveless of David Bowie, who so loved the world he became the man who fell to earth…;)
We hope to see you Saturday the 28th, barring several feet of snow.We’ll have a blast, and you will have a special opportunity to meet a local legend, surrounded by wonderful art!
ArtInsights is back and our collective feet are back to normal after a crazy four days at New York Comic-Con officially partnering with the Art of Alex Ross.I’m sure you friends and collectors are curious how it went, aren’t you? (well, some of you actually said you were 🙂 )
We and the folks at Alex Ross Art brought and shipped lots and lots of art, including, for the first time, original paintings and drawings offered by anyone outside Alex’s agents.For us this was a big deal!We had some gorgeous Spider-Man art, and some truly lovely drawings we were very excited about.We also had the exclusive signed lithographs that featured three great images of Cap, Batman, and Doctor Strange.
Wednesday was the day we had for setting up the booth, which was ordered custom from a convention company so that it wasn’t just grid walls, which I think don’t speak to the class and quality of the art being displayed. The head honcho (HH) at Alex Ross Art suggested white carpet, (WHITE CARPET?!) which he said would make the space look bigger…which, in fact, it did! We just needed to be armed with lots of spot cleaner.Lots of it. A vice president at Alex Ross Art (VP) who was always close by in case longtime collectors of originals stopped by or we had questions, had suggested we really needed a big banner above the space.This is the one and only time i’ll complain about how much more expensive New York is than San Diego: Just putting up the banner costs way over a thousand dollars.I think it took two guys about 20 minutes to put it up, and 20 minutes to take it down.I support unions and always have, but we’re small business over here.Work with us, people!!Regardless of that, VP was 100% correct in needing the sign, because it was a beacon. You could see it from all over the floor, and even better, both he and HH said we needed spotlights.I thought they meant for the art.NO!FOR THE BANNER!We were right next to Midtown Comics, and they had a banner without a spotlight on it.What a difference.It pretty much glowed 🙂
What took the longest on Wednesday was Michael (MB) methodically putting security hangers on the valuable art, and the art being displayed on the outside walls of our booth.Those pieces were brilliantly placed, because you could see them from across the hall.One side had all Beatles, and the other side had four pieces from the Shadows collection, which has a gorgeous Wonder Woman.The security hangers worked.Halfway through the con someone tried to steal her, which I could tell by the certain way the wall was shaking.I calmly peeked around and saw a guy trying to wrestle her off the wall.Wonder Woman was having none of it.HURRAY FOR SECURITY HANGERS!After hanging and dressing the booth, we left late Wednesday night and went out to a local Italian restaurant around the corner from our hotel.
We thought Thursday was going to be the slow day, since it hadn’t sold out in single tickets until the last few days before the con.We were SO WRONG.It was nuts.In retrospect that makes sense, because lots of people with 4 day passes came to our booth first to stake their claim on the art they wanted.We almost completely sold out of the Batman signed edition, and about half of the limited editions we had brought, which were all highly sought-after #1s in the editions.It took us most of the day to get more organized, and one of my friends who came to help us, who was an organization savant (OS), somehow made the space look great and run like a well oiled machine by the second day.Another friend, who is the ultimate Southern gentleman (SG), was out greeting fans and handing out brochures about Alex’s work.By the second day, everyone knew every piece and could speak fluently about his career and which pieces were best for which collectors.
I had to learn the hard way that people from around New York expect to negotiate (I don’t negotiate, generally) so after only a few people tried to get discounts, I steeled myself for some people to walk away in a huff, which only one person did.
We had several friends helping us, and gratefully we were staying within walking distance.To anyone who will ever work the NYCC in the future, i’d say this is essential.There were so many people in our booth and so much action, we actually got “Con-brain”, which is a phenomenon I believe could be researched that is the result of a brain too stimulated to continue functioning properly.Normally this only happens from walking around a convention floor with the mass of people in cosplay whilst being assaulted and surrounded by thousands of sounds and sights.I guess if enough people come into your booth, after 5 or 6 hours, “Con-brain” may have to be factored into how you operate.
For example, you have to make sure you don’t put your phone or wallet down while shopping for food or ordering dinner somewhere.
We mostly just went back to our hotel and hung out together and I made dinner for our crew and we ate together at the hotel.The last thing any of us wanted to do was be around people are walk on our very confused and swollen feet!I brought a bunch of great wine and we had some fun before going to bed early every night.This meant visiting a great little neighborhood store I liked to call “the grocery labyrinth” that was like walking through the maze in The Shining.
Right here is where i’ll say the Alex Ross fans are the best.That’s saying something, since I am involved with art from a variety of fandoms.Star Wars, Harry Potter, and as many fandoms as there are movies from the Disney studios, and then some, including character specific fandoms for Mickey Mouse, Scooby-Doo, and Bugs Bunny. It is a bit of apples and oranges, because in the case of Alex Ross, the fans are responding to an artist instead of a property.Having fans get excited about an production artist working in popular culture was like catnip! I overheard a number of people as they brought friends and family to the booth to introduce them to their favorite artist, or the artist that inspired them to draw, or the artist of their favorite comic book.I’ve been told so many times to read Kingdom Come and Crisis on Infinite Earths I actually had to promise to do so!
For those of you curious, the people who come to NYCC have much better hygiene.Every day the attendees smelled fresh and delightful.
We had a bunch of expressions that took a life of their own through the weekend.Two of my favorites were:
“Jack! I’ll love you forever!” = a guy we met who bought some art with his equally awesome mom went and stood in line for what must have been at least half an hour just to get me a Diet Coke.
“I am not Alex Ross.” = Michael, who was processing the purchases, was mistaken for Alex Ross all weekend.They look nothing alike, but Alex so rarely goes to conventions, they just assumed it was him.We think we should get t-shirts made saying “I’m not Alex Ross” printed on them.
“Alex is a traditional illustrator in a digital world.” = this was the answer as to why Alex doesn’t do conventions anymore.It’s actually true, in that he still has to make deadlines creating hand-drawn art.For the most part, he can’t click corrections…So he spends most of his waking hours every day painting. Surprisingly, people actually understood!
All in all, we did really well and were very pleased with our success.We got back to the Washington area at 4 am, dropped off all the original art at the gallery, and got to bed after having dinner at a time when most people were getting up for work.
We still have some original art and limited editions at the gallery, for those of you who want to visit.We pulled some exclusives so that our own longtime clients would have a chance to buy something, and we also were lucky enough to be given a collection of cover art and graphite concepts we are allowed to sell.Huzzah!
Stay tuned for what we might do next with both the art of Alex Ross and other artists and art we find exciting. Thanks again for all those who supported us at the con, our new collectors, and especially OS and SG, who came with us and helped.You all did the near impossible, you made working NYCC fun!
Heritage Auctions just sold the original key art by John Alvin from E.T. for $394,000 after the buyer’s premium. The bidding was brisk and committed, and started way above the lowest required bid. Though the buyer wanted to remain anonymous, there’s no question a number of collectors were willing to go into the hundreds of thousands to obtain this original art from the recent sci-fi classic. Speaking as not only Cinema Siren, but also the owner of ArtInsights, the gallery that represents the estate of illustrator and movie poster artist John Alvin, the news of the hammer price came less as a surprise than a reaffirmation of the value of both traditionally illustrated film art and of the work of the renowned artist.
Unfortunately, the artist’s estate was not the owner of the art at time of auction, as is often the case with original film art, especially key art. With the insane timeline of deadlines, and the teams working to promote films ever turning towards the next project, even when the art remained the property of the artist, often the original art created during the campaign was never returned to them. This was rarely intentional. Sometimes the director or producer asked for it, and sometimes someone in the design firm just put it in a flat file and forgot about it, because the focus by everyone involved had turned to the next film. Little did everyone know traditionally illustrated film art was, even in the early 80’s, a dying art form.
That’s not to say Andrea Alvin, John Alvin’s widow and artistic partner in Alvin and Associates, wasn’t thrilled to see such public confirmation of the value of her husband’s work. To her it reaffirmed the increased embrace of his legacy as one of the foremost artists in the history of film. With the over 200 campaigns he worked on during his lifetime, John Alvin was one of the most prolific film artists, certainly, and not only recognizable, but so famed for his movie magic, the term “Alvin-izing” was coined by studio executives in referencing his style.
There are many around the world who have been collecting the art of John Alvin or supporting his legacy as a fine artist through their mentions of his work on their movie blogs, or as in the case of Kevin Burke’s new documentary “24 x 36”, through film. They know,unequivocally that those willing to pay nearly $400k represent far more than just fans of E.T. Those collectors were vying for the art of John Alvin as much as for the iconic image he created. That, after all, was what he was known for. The posters he made were splashed across every platform. His images were used throughout the world.
Whether, for example, you saw The Lion King in Pasadena or Paris, the poster depicting a majestic lion in the sky was probably partly responsible for getting you into the theater. That light-suffused and very emotionally evocative painting that was Alvin’s trademark was used for The Lion King poster, as well as the E.T., Aladdin, Cocoon, Empire of the Sun, Willow, and many more.
The $400,000 hammer price for the art of E.T is not only a celebration of the love of movies, but also a celebration of the acceptance of John Alvin as a preeminent film artist and indeed as a fine artist. It suggests that original film art, which is an art form largely relegated to history, is indeed fine art. It also shows, in a strange yet really real way,his work continues to have relevance. The estate recognized that phenomenon through the discovery of graphites John used in the making of two of the Pokemon movies. Who knew between that and every article on Blade Runner II using his famous poster for the original film, images attributed to John would continue to be used so frequently?
We who represent the estate of John Alvin are very excited about our plans for the future. We are busy with plans for museum shows, and with continuing to help people around the world acquire those pieces his family members are willing to sell to fine art collectors and film fans. Fortunately for Andrea Alvin, she does have a few pieces of key art that will be kept in the family and handed down to future generations. John’s art for movie campaigns capture the essence of who he was, and even casual observers can see he put his heart into every image. Every piece was personal. The E.T. image is a perfect example; his daughter Farah’s hand was the model for that of Elliott’s as he reaches to touch E.T., Sistine Chapel-style, in the poster.
If you want to know more about John Alvin, of course there’s the great book released in 2014 written by his wife Andrea Alvin, which you can get here:
THE ART OF THE BEATLES: ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE FEATURES RON CAMPBELL, BEATLES YELLOW SUBMARINE ANIMATOR & BEATLES SATURDAY MORNING TV CARTOON SERIES DIRECTOR TO APPEAR LIVE, PAINTING, EXHIBITING & TALKING CARTOONS AT ARTINSIGHTS ANIMATION & FILM GALLERY
Friday, September 23 2016 – 12:00 PM to Sunday, September 25 2016 – 04:00 PM
Location: ArtInsights 11921 Freedom Drive (Reston Town Center) Reston, VA 20190
THE LEGENDARY ANIMATOR/DIRECTOR WILL BE EXHIBITING HIS BEATLES CARTOON ART AS WELL AS PAINTING NEW WORKS DURING HIS APPEARANCE.
Campbell will also be exhibiting artwork featuring other beloved cartoon characters that encompass his 50-year career in Children’s Television such as Scooby Doo, the Smurfs, Rugrats, Winnie the Pooh, Flintstones, Jetsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & more. ALL WORKS ARE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE.
In 1964 the Beatles invaded the United States, performing for 73 million people on the Ed Sullivan Show and dominating the US pop charts for years. Now over five decades later, the Fab Four continue to be the most celebrated musical group in Rock history. And Beatlemania is alive and well….just this month, the Beatles released a live CD of their Hollywood Bowl concerts and director Ron Howard premiered a documentary on the Fab Four’s touring years!
Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and animator of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at ArtInsights, 11921 Freedom Drive in the Reston Town Center in Reston, VA, Friday, September 23rd through Sunday, September 25th. Ron will showcase his original Beatles cartoon paintings created specially for the show and create new Beatles pop art paintings at the exhibit. The exhibit is free and all works are available for purchase.
Who: Ron Campbell, Director of the Beatles 1960’s Saturday Morning Cartoon series and animator of film Yellow Submarine. Also involved in Scooby Doo, Rugrats, Smurfs, Winnie the Pooh, Flintstones, Jetson’s, George of the Jungle, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and many others.
What: Ron Campbell will be offering for sale original cartoon paintings of the Beatles both in their ABC Cartoon and Yellow Submarine roles as well as various other works from his 50 year career in animation including Scooby Doo, Smurfs, Rugrats and more.
Where: ArtInsights Animation & Film Gallery, 11921 Freedom Drive in the Reston Town Center, Reston, VA 20190 (703) 478-0778. www.artinsights.com
When: Only three days, Friday, September 23rd – 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm Saturday, September 24th – 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm Sunday, September 25th – 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm Details: Ron Campbell, director of the legendary
Saturday morning Beatles Cartoon series that aired on ABC from September 25, 1965 through April 20, 1969 and animator on the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at ArtInsights, 11921 Freedom Drive in the Reston Town Center, Reston VA for 3 days only.
The Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series received monstrous ratings in its time slot….a 67 share! The cartoon series debuted on ABC on September 25th 1965….exactly 51 years ago this weekend! It continually fueled new music to the young kids of America as they followed the bouncing drumstick to each Beatles tune. Campbell also wrote the forward to the definitive book on the Beatles cartoon series “Beatletoons.”
Yellow Submarine, recently celebrating its 47th anniversary, has become a permanent fixture in pop culture, defining the psychedelic 60s for generations to come. In his book, Up Periscope, Yellow Submarine Producer Al Brodax gives Ron Campbell a great deal of credit for saving the movie and tying it all together at the last minute.
Campbell has also been involved with some of the most beloved cartoons including, Scooby Doo, Winnie The Pooh, Krazy Kat, George of the Jungle, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, the Smurfs, Goof Troop, Rugrats, Ed, Edd & Eddy and dozens more. Campbell’s former studio was awarded a Peabody and an Emmy for his work in children’s television. Since retiring after a 50 year career, he has been painting subjects always based on the animated cartoons he has helped bring to the screen. With particular emphasis on The Beatles, he shows his Cartoon Pop Art in galleries worldwide.
About ArtInsights: Open and representing a wide range of film, animation, and contemporary art at their gallery in Reston Town Center since 1994, ArtInsights focuses on proprietary projects and artist representation relating to the history of animation and film, and the celebration and examination of popular culture. With artists like John Alvin, Alex Ross, Jim Salvati, and Tennessee Loveless, the gallery builds collections of original and limited edition art for their growing worldwide collector base. They were among the first galleries to welcome the art of Ron Campbell over a decade ago, and look forward to bringing his entire collection to fans across the region! See their work and read their blog on www.artinsights.com and www.artoutsiders.net
We are so excited about the release of the book for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! We know so many fans of the books and subsequently of the art of Harry Potter, and they’ve been ticking the days off like Harry Potter himself until the release of this new story. It’s been amazing more spoilers haven’t leaked online, and you can find them if you look, but we hope you’ll celebrate with us by looking back on the great series both in books and onscreen through the artists that contributed so beautifully to them! CLICK HERE to see all the official Harry Potter art available through ArtInsights.
We have a great selection of art representing these artists including Mary Grandpre, movie concept artist Jim Salvati, and production designer Stuart Craig, spanning the original story of Harry Potter, Hermione, Ron, and the whole gang!
Come by soon and let’s talk about the book–but no spoilers! Sometimes other folks wandering around the gallery haven’t gotten around to it 😉
We at artinsights are incredibly pleased to once again welcome Michelle St Laurent to the Gallery on July 2nd, to present some beautiful new original interpretive Disney art, and her latest limited editions for the exhibit on display through August 8th. Her inspired art has only become more popular and beautiful since the last time she visited us in 2014, and we’re so excited to present these new images to our clients and friends.
Join us Saturday, July 2nd, 2:00pm to 6:00pm
You can meet Michelle, and see some of her new exquisite pieces. She will be personalizing all purchases at the show!
The exhibit of her work will be on display through August 8th, so those two can’t make it this weekend can come through August and enjoy her visual warmth, and her sweet, perfectly rendered style, which has made her they go-to artist for collectors of interpretive Disney scenes.
In deciding to have a Batman v Superman art show with the official art of DC, several things were at play. As Cinema Siren, the film critic, I am inundated with press info and notes and EPK (electronic press kit) about the upcoming movie, which is being released late March (as many fans know!), but I also have a pretty longstanding history with Zack Snyder, because I interviewed him years ago, went for a nature walk with him, and talked Joseph Campbell, womanpower, and the love of classic movies with him. This was way before he got tapped to do any superhero movies, and I can tell you, whatever you opinion of him as a director, as a guy, he’s pretty down to earth and quite fabulous. So while I have to watch the movie with an unjaundiced and unbiased eye, I can promote the theory of all things Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all I want, because like they say about parties and crying, it’s my gallery and i’ll pimp DC if I want to!
It’s been a while since Warner Brothers gave over the rights to selling their DC images to my friend Ruth. She used to work for them directly, helped start up and run the Warner Brothers stores, and then for all the galleries around the world became the one and only source for the official art of DC.
What I’ve always loved about Ruth and Clampett Studio Collections is Ruth has always felt strongly about keeping the artists representing DC, along with any other WB properties she represents, as artists who actually have a hand in the making of the shows and movies. As such, the art of Jim Lee was essential to the collection.
Jim Lee is a Korean American comic book artist, writer, editor, and publisher. He started out his adult career plans with begrudgingly working towards becoming a medical doctor at Princeton, as his family wished, but he had always loved comics. His high school classmates even predicted in his senior yearbook he would found his own comic book company.
During college he took an art class and started reading comics again, and that got him excited enough he committed himself to one year’s try at being a professional comic book artist. When Archie Goodwin of Marvel invited him to work for them, he embarked on a career that led to multiple awards, building an enthusiastic and loyal fanbase, starting his own comic imprint, and ultimately becoming the co-publisher of DC. He is in the Guinness World Records for creating the best-selling comic book of all time.
In my research for writing about Jim Lee, I discovered he has had nine children with his wife Carla. How on Goddess’s green earth does he have any time to do anything? I have to say one of the most impressive things about Jim, given the many balls he has in the air at any given moment, is that when fans are talking to him, they really feel he’s listening and paying attention to them. He’s always been one of the best artists to meet at any con for that reason and because he seems to embody the joy of being an artist in every inch of his being. He is also an inspiration to anyone who wants to be a successful artist, because as an artist he worked his way up to being at the top of one of the biggest comic book companies in the world.
There are some very choice limited editions available signed by Jim Lee in our show. I would never have an exhibit and sale of DC art without his work.
Here are some of my favorites:
BATMAN OVER SAN PROSPERO:
This piece was inspired by the Modena landscape in Italy, a country that is dear to Jim’s heart. He spends time there every year. This image was featured in “Jim Lee Millennium Edition,” a compilation of images from Jim Lee’s career.
This image was used for a cover to the Superman Adventures series. I love Superman. I think you’re either a lover or a hater. I just found out recently that Superman didn’t start out flying. It was only later that they wrote in that he could, even though now it’s one of his most recognizable powers.
There was a great interview with the writer of a book called “Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero” and I learned lots about the character that someone who doesn’t read every comic would find fascinating. I also didn’t know he was originally “The Man of Tomorrow”…so I guess this art comes by its title honestly!
Also, the really great editor at DC who has lots to do with what happens to and with Superman, Mike Carlin, recommends SUPERMAN LIVES, an audio CD. BUY IT THIS SECOND! (and you can buy some of our art as well, but yes. Superman on CD? OH YESSS!)
KISSING THE NIGHT:
This is a great piece to me because when I met and hung out with Jim, he drew me a great little Catwoman, where she is holding a Batman toy and saying MEOW. I thought this piece was super hot, and love the color of it, and the composition. I also love that it’s on t-shirts and mugs and such, and yet it’s actually possible to have a limited edition of it signed by Jim Lee, and they never add any numbers to a sold-out edition, so the fact that it’s $425 and there are only 250 of them is a bit mind boggling to an art gallery geek like me. The image appeared first in the Batman comic “In the Mouth of Madness.”
Last but not least of my favorites, this giclee on canvas has only 100 pieces, and it’s so badass of all the art by Jim Lee i’d want this one. For better or worse, my eyes go immediately to Wonder Woman and stay there. I love that she looks without question that she can hold her own with the other two heroes, although I haven’t read the Trinity series…This piece was the cornerstone of our show, because it so captures the anticipation of the Batman v Superman feature film coming soon to theaters.
While I prefer Wonder Woman from the World War II era, I’ll make an exception for Jim’s work. For more information and the history of Wonder Woman CLICK HERE.
We hope to see you at ArtInsights you soon so we can geek out together about these superheroes, or so you can correct one or all of us about something they did, said, or wore 😉
ArtInsights Gallery presents “SORCERERS IN SNOW: HOGWARTS IN WINTER” New Exhibit of Original and Limited Edition Harry Potter Art.In Honor of Actor Alan Rickman, a Portion of Proceeds will Benefit Charities
Reston, VA – ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery celebrates the art of Harry Potter with a collection of original and limited edition art by artists who worked on the book and film series. 10% of sales will benefit two charities; Lumos, which was started by JK Rowling, and strives to end institutionalization of children worldwide, and Saving Faces, a foundation focused on cancer treatment. This is in honor of Harry Potter actor Alan Rickman, who passed away on January 14, and was a patron of the charity. The show runs from January 18 through February 29 at ArtInsights, 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston, Virginia 20190, in Reston Town Center.
“We are happy to have art by Mary GrandPré, illustrator of the Harry Potter book series, who reminds us of the magic of our childhood while reading the novels for the first time.” says ArtInsights co-owner Leslie Combemale. The gallery will have limited edition book art by Mary GrandPré, original production art by Harry Potter concept artist Jim Salvati, official art by Stuart Craig, the production designer for the entire film series, and other pieces created by artists who worked on the books or movies. “Alan Rickman added immeasurably to the Harry Potter franchise, and we wanted to honor his legacy as an actor by supporting a charity that was dear to him,” says Combemale. “We planned this before his passing, because his birthday is February 21, and we will still be celebrating that, but sadly must consider it a tribute as well.” Rickman played Professor Severus Snape in all the films, but was also a multi-award winning actor on both stage and screen.
ABOUT ARTINSIGHTS ANIMATION AND 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 production designers and 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 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, 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 and Harry Potter. See and learn more on the website www.artinsights.com and on the web magazine www.artinsightsmagazine.com, and hear and see movie reviews by owner Leslie Combemale’s alter ego, Cinema Siren, all of which are published on her site www.cinemasiren.com, as well as on Indiewire, Screenrelish.com, and other recognized outlets dedicated to film worldwide.
Founded by JK Rowling in 2005, Lumos works in partnership with governments, professionals and carers, communities, families and children, to transform outdated systems that drive families apart. Lumos believes that as institutionalization denies children individual love and care, it can damage their brain development, and destroy their understanding of right and wrong. Together with their partners they replace institutions with community based services that provide children with access to health, education and social care tailored to their individual needs. Lumos has a single, simple goal: to end the institutionalization of children worldwide by 2050. You can find out more about the charity at: http://www.wearelumos.org/
ABOUT SAVING FACES
Saving Faces is a registered research charity based at the historic St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in West Smithfield, London. The charity is carrying out groundbreaking work in areas such as the role of selective neck dissection in early oral cancer treatment, the psychological factors in head and neck and gastrointestinal cancer, the prevention of smoking and binge drinking amongst teenagers and the development of rapid detection tools for oral cancer. At Saving Faces they keep their administrative costs to a minimum. Unlike the majority of charities, their Chief Executive is unpaid, so donors can feel secure in the knowledge that their money goes towards important medical research and the support of patients. For more information, go to: http://www.savingfaces.co.uk/
Happy Birthday! The Mickey Mouse Club turns 60! The series began on October 3rd, 1955!
My own personal experience with the Mickey Mouse Club is with the cels from this series.
As someone who has sold cels from The Mickey Mouse Club since 1988, I’ve had to learn over time about the animated cartoons, characters, and costumes used on the show. Production cels from The Mickey Mouse Club have their own unusual look to them. The thick ink lines make cels from the show pretty easy to recognize: (click on the image if you’re interested in buying the art!)
Also, most of the cels were sold originally through the Art Corner, a store in Disneyland where they sold original Disney art from 1955 to 1966. This means the cels were cut down to a smaller size, matted, and came with a seal on the back. A very recognizable seal!
Many of the cels from The Mickey Mouse Club and indeed most that were sold through the Art Corner are stuck to their backgrounds. It’s inherent to the era. If you find a cel that isn’t, it’s probably been completely repainted.
One of my favorite stories from my long history selling animation art is that a friend of mine who is a chemist and also a collector discovered a way to remove the cels from their backgrounds without ripping all the paint off the back. When he told me he’d actually done it, I felt like he’d made a major discovery. That’s how Disney geeky I am! So now when we have cels from that time period lots of them are NOT stuck to the backgrounds because we get them all from this one awesome guy.
My personal history with The Mickey Mouse Club is probably in some ways similar to many, at least those from other parts of the world. I saw it was coming on (in reruns, of course) in Paris on TV and I begged my parents to let me watch it.
They warned me “It isn’t what you think .. It isn’t mostly cartoons..”
I didn’t care. And actually there were plenty of animated moments, certainly enough for an 8 year old. What I didn’t know, because they didn’t play them that way, was that each day of the week was specific to a particular subject. I learned that later, as an animation gallery owner!
I love, though, that collectors who remember or have a love for The Mickey Mouse Club can get cels of Jiminy Cricket (that also have a thick ink line) and a bunch of other beloved Disney characters for much less than if they had bought them from the original features from which they originate.
Mickey Mouse production cels, original and limited edition art are going to have a resurgence, and soon. Why? There’s a new Mickey Mouse show, which began in 2013, and to date it’s seen in 160 countries, translated into 34 languages. The show is making Mickey cool again. Still, purists will always look back to the early cartoons of the late 1920s, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and The Mickey Mouse Club.
Here’s a popular Mickey Mouse Club limited edition by Tim Rogerson (which you can click on if interested in buying!):
On this 60th anniversary of their premiere, we owe thanks to a show that made Mickey Mouse himself, his pals, and the live action kids so relatable to children all over the world.
For all the Mickey Mouse art ArtInsights has available, go HERE, and of course for commissions or requests for particular images, contact the gallery!
When I started selling animation art in 1988, there were only five galleries specializing in original cartoon art IN THE WORLD. That’s right. It’s hard for some to imagine when no one knew what a cel was, and when the thought that cartoon art was “kid stuff” was pervasive. Things have really changed. Most people know what about animation art, and many see it as a legitimate art form, but along with that the prices for animation art have risen to the point where finding unrestored reasonably priced original art is not that easy to do!
Recently a client/collector friend of mine showed me a collection of Disney lobby cards he had just gotten his hands on. Most were from the original release dates. These were smaller images released by the studio used to promote the film in theater lobbies across the country. It occurred to me that my collectors and people I knew who love Disney would be excited about the prospect of having these, what essentially amount to pieces of memorabilia and art mixed together.
It isn’t as if lobby cards can’t be counterfeit. Of course they can be. The trick is to find someone who knows where they’ve been since removed from the displays at the theater! How wonderful, though, to imagine them a part of the thrill of release in 1946 of Song of the South, or 1950 of Cinderella, or any number of other Disney classics!
I do love two of the images we got most, and those are the lobby cards created for England. They are smaller, and they come from a slightly later time (a few years after the initial releases) but check out these British Snow White and Fantasia lobby cards, I especially appreciate that they are based on concept work from the films:
In my own house, I have production art, and movie posters. Lobby cards are the perfect way to add something small (they are all 11 x 14) and substantial to represent other favorites, or enhance the images in the production cels nearby. That’s what I did with mine. Personally I always want my lobby cards to be from the original release, and almost all the ones we have in the gallery are. You can tell what year they were released by checking the number in the bottom right hand corner, making sure the first number corresponds with the year the movie was released..(like 55 for the Lady and the Tramp lobby cards, and 49 for the Ichabod and Mr. Toad lobby cards, for example)
Check out all the lobby cards (and the two collections) on our Disney vintage gallery page:
In the course of my career selling animation art and advocating for the value of animation art as a legitimate art form, i’ve discovered collectors of original production art, and even Disney interpretive art, tend to gravitate to movies that are either firsts or lasts. Sometimes they are aware of the history, and sometimes they are responding to something they feel or see, not knowing the technical or historical reasons.
For example, there are lots of Snow White lovers, not only because it is the first full length feature for Walt Disney Studios in 1937. Few dispute that it is a masterpiece of invention based on a great old story, that is very important to the history of film.
The fact that it is the first for Disney feature animation, though, means at the time there was a huge amount of experimentation and innovation. Character design made leaps forward, so that meant the villain, the Queen and her disguise, the witch, the dwarfs, the animals, and Snow White herself were full of little design elements that made the cels used to animate them fun to look at. The way the outlines of the characters on the cels were hand-inked, and the airbrush used to enhance the look of movement or “alive quality”, inadvertently made the production cels beautiful pieces of art. Of course Walt figured that out and sold them as art at the movie’s premiere.
Although not the masterpiece Snow White is as a film, 1959’s Sleeping Beauty also has a slew of collectors and fans, and deservedly so. It is the last hand-inked feature film in Disney’s history. For that reason, the studio both went all out in their use of ink colors and enhancements, and experimented with the new technique of xerography they hoped to use in their next feature, 101 Dalmatians being released in 1960. For those of you who don’t know, xerography copies the original drawing onto the cel with a machine, making hand-inking the outline of the characters unnecessary. This took far less time, but also, they argued at the time, assured the integrity of the artists’ finished drawings, because they would be transferred exactly as they were drawn, onto the cel.
Here’s the thing: Hand-inking, on animation cels, is just lovely. What I tell people who are wondering through ArtInsights for the first time curious to learn a little about production art, if you stand back and look at two cels, one with hand-inking, and the other with xerographic line, the hand-inked cel pops right off the wall. You can see the character so much better! The character’s outline being so clearly defined, and often in a variety of colors, adds dimension to the character itself. The problem of course, is that if you love 101 Dalmatians, you have to embrace the first that was using xerography to outline all the characters in the movie. To be fair, it has its own retro charm. However, one of the reasons collectors of Sleeping Beauty are so committed to that film is because the hand-inking points to the end of an era, and as such goes out in a blaze of glory, and the cels are flamboyantly hand-inked to the point of artistry. I think the character designers and inker painters knew it would be the last time they would make such a strong mark on an animated feature, and they just put all their heart and soul into the art.
Sleeping Beauty fans love the film for lots of reasons. The voice talent is extraordinary. Mary Costa as Princess Aurora was wonderful casting, because she could bring her background as an opera star to the experience. Vera Felton, at this point a Disney veteran, having been tapped for the fairy godmother in Cinderella and the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, among others, voiced Flora. Radio voice star Eleanor Audley had voiced Lady Tremaine in Cinderella, and absolutely rocked it as Maleficent. That character is beloved not just for her design, but certainly for the way she was voiced!
The animation artists involved in Sleeping Beauty point to a particularly fruitful time at the studio. The character animation is some of the best in Disney history. Marc Davis animated both Princess Aurora and Maleficent, Milt Kahl worked on Prince Philip, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston handed Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, and Wolfgang Reitherman worked on the dragon. For those of you who know these names, that’s a lot of Disney genius in one place. Eyvind Earle, Sleeping Beauty’s art director, was known as a masterful background stylist, and invented much of the look of the movie’s backgrounds, especially the ubiquitous mid-century modern trees, modeled after those that surrounded him living in California.
Though Sleeping Beauty didn’t succeed at first at the box office, it has since gone on to be seen as one of Disney’s best. Not that animation collectors who search avidly for good production cels from the film care about such things…they can’t be convinced by nay-sayers because the cels themselves are just so gorgeous.
That brings us to a cel I just got in ArtInsights (you can click on the top pic to go to the page in the gallery site) One of the scenes collectors look for as part of their Sleeping Beauty animation art collection is a great cel of Briar Rose in the forest. Obviously collectors look for essential moments that represent the key scenes moving the story forward, and Briar Rose wandering through the landscape, singing to her mock prince, and meeting Prince Philip, definitely qualifies! I see lots of Briar Rose cels. There is a crazy variance in price, according to little things and big things like
Are her eyes open? Does she have her basket? Can you see the curls in her hair? (hand-inking at its best!!) Is she full figure but you can see her face well and she has a good expression? Are there animals present? Is she dancing? Is she dancing with the prince? (unlike the end of the movie, that would be comprised of, in this scene, two cels, not one with both of them on it like the ‘dance among the clouds’) has the art been restored? (I try not to sell restored art) is it in a hand prepared background? Is it a full cel or is it an art corner piece?
The Sleeping Beauty production cel we have right now has a hand-prepared background on it. Created by an artist who has worked at Disney, this artist captured the essence of Eyvind Earle’s style. So much so, that i’ve been afraid about making sure the provenance stays intact and should the art ever leave the hands of whoever I sell it to, it is clearly indicated that this is NOT from 1959. It helps that this artist created the background on archival mat board and it has a repeated stamp all over the back CRESCENT, CRESCENT, CRESCENT! (the company that makes those mats) The cel is unrestored, and yes, you can see her hair. For my part, Briar Rose cels are some of my favorite production cels because of her hair. Realize, now, that her hand-inked hair is done 24 cels per second through the entire movie. THAT’S CRAZY! No wonder they switched to xerography!
One of my favorite parts of my job being a gallery owner is finding original cels that truly capture the spirit of a character. Knowing that production cels were photographed and used the create the film, a film that has been seen by many millions of people, just brings me such joy. It’s like animation history, and indeed art history, in your hands, or on your walls. It also brings me joy knowing there are like-minded people out there who also love animation art. Being in the industry since 1988, I saw a time when few knew what the heck it even was! I still have people who come in and think it’s all kid stuff, but I hope with blogs like these I can change a few minds, or reaffirm the love of cartoons and animation art in a few collectors, and even more Disney lovers!
For ArtInsights, i’m Leslie Combemale.
These are just thoughts and musings of a gallery owner and lover or art and animation. There are lots of books that will go far more in-depth about the history of animation and Disney. Please feel free to ask questions below or email the gallery if you are looking for Sleeping Beauty art or animation film art of any kind!
Further reading on Sleeping Beauty production cels, Sleeping Beauty the feature film, and the history of Disney animation:
Sleeping Beauty Platinum dvd (commentary and extra info)
I’m so incredibly excited that the 50th anniversary of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, which is being celebrated next week in LA, means that I get to go to LA and interview animators AND get first access to special art being pulled specially for the event.
That’s right.I am the FIRST gallery that gets to go in and choose art for my clients from what they’ve pulled from the archives for this event.How did that happen?I guess the Snoopy Puppy angels smiled on me.In any case, any of you folks– pals and clients of mine –who love Peanuts and remember the wonderful specials fondly interested in getting something rare and unusual, please contact me in the next few days!
A few great images from the cartoons…
I’ll be sending images and selecting art for all my clients on Tuesday June 23nd starting at 12:00 pm E.S.T, and can add you to the list of collectors to connect with that day.
What will be available?The rarest art is the key set-ups, which means the original art and backgrounds that belong together, from the specials many will recognize.There won’t be Christmas special pieces, but yes, there will be art from the late 1960s and some from one of my favorites, “Snoopy Come Home”.There will also be some spectacular layout and finished drawings.All I know is they’ve never done this before, so without a doubt they will be bringing out “the special stuff”.Generally the prices for these originals are between $500 and $5000 depending on what it is, how old it is, and how many characters are in it.
Also, the second of the limited editions being released based on A Charlie Brown Christmas is being released on Thursday at the celebration.None of us know what it looks like, but at only 65 in the edition, and the desire to represent the best scenes from the special, i’m sure it will be wonderful! There also may be some very sold out limited editions made available—who knows?!
One of the three pieces released as part of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special 50th Anniversary
I’m going to be doing some interviewing the studio insiders and animators about the historical scoop and personalexperience behind these great animated favorites, and i’ll post on YouTube when i’m back.
Of course with the new Peanuts movie coming out, this is a perfect time to pick up some art, before a ton of new fans are made around the world, and a few old ones get reminded of how great these characters really are!(many of you know my story of the one piece of art I regret not getting was a Linus cel i’ve never seen anything like again..let’s not go through that again!)
I’m in a unique position here to actually get all the very best images available for people I am representing, so HAIL TO ALL PEANUTS FANS! Let’s get some awesome art!!
(Just a few of my favorite Charlie Brown specials!)
We hope your holidays were wonderful and that you are on your way to big things in 2015! We at ArtInsights certainly are..
This last year has seen some great art and great film releases, and some awesome directions for our favorite artists.
Of course the first artist I’d mention is John Alvin, although of course since he passed away in 2008 it isn’t coming from John himself. But 2014 saw the release by Andrea Alvin, his partner and wife, of the book The Art of John Alvin, which got universally great reviews and made a fair number of best art books of 2014 lists. We loved seeing it at the top of Amazon UK, and all the press not only the book got, but John’s art as well. It seemed like every image he ever did for Jurassic Park crossed the internet!
Andrea Alvin also started breaking out on her own accord as an artist. She had been working with John all these ye
ars, and was an integral part to the creation of many well known posters of the 1980s and 90s, including the Batman advance and the Cape Fear posters. Most recently, however, she has been working with Disney and Warner Brothers creating official art for The Wizard of Oz anniversary and Looney Tunes, as well as images for Pixar and classic Disney characters.
We love our collaboration with Tennessee Loveless, who is nearly done with his Ten x Ten x Ten series, which is getting more and more interesting while it maintains his edgy, of-the-moment pop aesthetic. You can see many explanations of the creations in the series HERE. Look for some new exciting work we’ll be doing with him in 2015! There is no question his star continues to be on the rise, and there’s no telling just how far high he’ll go. If you like his work, now is the time to get connected to his fascinating world—one we love being a part of and believe you would too!
Having Michelle St. Laurent was an absolute pleasure at the gallery this December. We still have several of her originals and they never cease to impress. So many layers, and so much integration of pop and traditional watercolor styles with illustration and animation—Toby Bluth would have loved it! We learned Michelle was at the beginning of vinyl-mation, pin-trading, and ‘make your own ear hat” at Disney, and was behind a host of amazing environments at the parks. How wonderful to see a woman rise so high as an official artist in the studio!
We haven’t had a chance to work with him yet, but very excited about the production designer from Disney’s Frozen, David Womersley, has become an official interpretive Disney fine artist! This is very cool for those who love collecting artists working inside the studios actually shaping their favorite movies…and it’s a BIG deal! I can’t wait to find people who will want to do a commission with him! His first limited edition is based on two concept pieces he created to show the grandeur of the Norwegian landscape, and those pieces were instrumental in the finished design for the film.
We look forward to interviewing him to let fans and collectors get to know him better!
The best news for fans of Disney art with a limited budget is the new collection called “Treasures on Canvas”. It offers a variety of images that are also available in smaller editions that are hand embellished, in a larger edition size of 1500, gallery wrapped, and with a certificate of authenticity, all for only $125 each. What makes this so wonderful is when we first started representing animation art some 30 years ago, everyone could afford it. This collection makes it so again. We have actually sold several to young kids who bring us money every week, and it means they can collect their first piece of art. What a joy that has been! It is also true that the artists in the collection getting a wider audience, and as many of them are close friends I love, this too makes me happy!
As to 2015, we look forward to some great changes and new offerings, which we can’t wait to announce. We have some new artists we know are set to skyrocket into the limelight, as well as properties we know our collectors are wanting to be released officially we are championing on their behalf. And in reference to that, if you are interested in a film having official art released, let us know and we’ll see what we can do!
Trust us, we have your interests, and the success of film artists who should have greater notoriety for their work, in mind. Traditional illustration and concept work deserves recognition, and we as a gallery advocate as much as possible.
Here’s to 2015 expanding awareness of film art to the fine art collectors of the world, expanding acceptance of concept artists little known outside the studios, and expanding our collector base by our work in education and celebration of the art!
TOP SELLING OFFICIAL DISNEY LIMITED EDITIONS ~ THE PERFECT GIFT FOR EVERY DISNEY FAN
Disney fans have been collecting and loving art since 1937, and now we can all get the best images from artists working in the studio actually making the movies! Here are the most popular and fastest selling images in a variety of price ranges that ArtInsights loves and recommends…
First, here is a great assortment of images released in special editions of 1500, not hand signed but gallery wrapped with a certificate of authenticity for either $125 or $150 that make a great impression as a gift! Click on the picture to see all the options:
There are a number of releases in small edition sizes that are hand embellished (paint is added to enhance the image) and hand signed by the artist. Here are some wonderful ones, and you can click on the artist’s name to see all their art.
IMPRESSIONISTIC WONDER-FILLED LANDSCAPES
The Adventure of Life by Rodel Gonzales: Embellished Giclee on Canvas for $595
Hakuna Matata by Rodel Gonzales: Embellished Giclee on Canvas for $650
SO MUCH GREAT ART! So much to choose from, there’s something for everyone! Every solution for anyone searching for a special gift…
grandparents looking for that special gift that will be there always
wives and husbands of Disney fans who want something super special
families looking for something the whole family will enjoy
collectors who guide their loved ones to their next exciting acquisition
Of course ArtInsights is always here to guide you as well, since we’ve been helping collectors find their way for over 2o years. We are happy to help you find something for your own wish list or for to make this holiday wonder-filled for your Disney-loving loved ones!
10 Pieces of Film Art for Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fans that are Truly and Utterly Out of This World
Some films not only never go out of style, they grow in popularity with each generation. You know your spacey cyborg-loving loved one doesn’t need one more wind-up robot…We focused on original pieces here, but whether you are looking to spend less than $200 or you can part or ALL your Galactic credits, we’ve got your covered.
Blast off to a beautiful holiday by surprising them with one of these spectacular studio artist-created images!
I’ve Seen Things by John Alvin: Giclee available in both paper and canvas editions for $150 and $450
Alien by John Alvin: created for the anniversary poster, now a limited edition for lovers of acid dripping monsters…who isn’t? for $150
There is nothing more popular right now in all the world than superheroes. We just got word from both Marvel and DC what their movie lineups would be for the next five years. Check out a few of our favorites below–created by the most famous artists working today, or click above to see ALL your choices for a super surprise this holiday!
Guardians of Justice by Bruce Timm: Lithograph on paper $150
Mythology ~ Flash by Alex Ross: giclee on paper and canvas $425 to $825
Heroes by Jim Lee: Giclee on paper and canvas, from $650 to $1200.
To Tease the Bat by Mimi Yoon: Giclee on paper and canvas $300 to $700
Visions ~ Wolverine by Alex Ross: giclee on canvas $850
All these images harken back to recent success in the box office like X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but also celebrate current favorites on tv of The Flash and Gotham. These gifts are as timely as they come, but will be appreciates forever.
Let film art solve the eternal problem of what to get to thrill the movie lovers you love!
The experts at ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery have been building collections, finding special pieces, and inspiring film fans with official studio art by the best movie artists working in Hollywood for over 22 years. They have the hottest and most exclusive film art perfect for the movie lovers in your life.
CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO SEE THESE GREAT GIFT SOLUTIONS!
Why film art?
Every year we all struggle to find unique or special gifts for the loved
ones in our lives. Sometimes it feels impossible. We are all looking to
find something for the husband or wife who has everything, or the kids who
already have a mountain of toys they don’t use, or the family that
deserves something they will all enjoy for a long time.
If any or all the people on your holiday list love movies, there is art
available from some of their favorites. Think of these images created by
the artists who played a large part in the success of these movies:
Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker in a painting by the man who made some of
the saga’s best movie posters, Art with Batman, Superman, Ironman, and
other superheroes by those who influence the look and feel of those
blockbusters, Harry Potter art by the saga’s production designer, or art
from Disney’s Frozen by one of its concept artists, are just a few options
that make for an unexpected and appreciated gift, and can make you a hero
For the family that enjoys watching movies together, or a husband or wife
who has the latest movie screensaver, to the most difficult-to-please teen
– Film and animation art bring out the budding artist in kids, because it
teaches them art is something they can relate to and connect with.
– For families, shared positive memories of watching movies can be
recreated at home with film art and is one kind of art they can all
There is official art from the studios and by these filmmakers for as
little as $150 for a limited edition giclee from something like Harry
Potter, The Wizard of Oz, or Frozen, or can be an ultra-exclusive gift for
as much as $60,000 or more for the original art from a movie poster like
Beauty and the Beast or Star Wars or Blade Runner. It can be easy and
inexpensive, or it can be exclusive and the rarest of the rare. For every
taste and in every budget, and only a click away online, film art is a
great way to make holiday shopping fun and exciting.
For those who take their movie watching very seriously, there would be
nothing more exciting than having art made by those filmmakers on the
walls. They are great conversation pieces, instant mood elevators after a
long day, and a visual door to movie memories that inspire the
Want to see ALL our offerings by art category? CLICK HERE
5 OF THE RAREST & MOST EXCLUSIVE STAR WARS ART IMAGES AVAILABLE TODAY
Guaranteed to put the ‘HO-HO-HOTH’ in the holiday, sending Star Wars fans into hyperdrive, this art by iconic movie poster artist John Alvin will get them right in the geek, making you look Yoda-wise and Jedi-clever.
(click above to see ALL the Star Wars art)
The Cold of Hoth by John Alvin: Giclee on paper $300, estate signed exclusive limited edition for Star Wars Celebration ArtInsights Exclusive
There Will Be No Bargain by John Alvin: Giclee on canvas estate-signed for John Alvin $595, only 10 available for sale ArtInsights Exclusive
Episode IV Decade III by John Alvin: Giclee on paper, original commissioned by George Lucas $1200 signed by John Alvin- Extremely limited and an ArtInsights Exclusive
Original art for the Return of the Jedi movie poster, as it was originally called, REVENGE OF THE JEDI created and signed by John Alvin: For those searching not just for droids, but the rarest of the rare!
WHY OFFICIAL STAR WARS FILM ART BY JOHN ALVIN?
Have you seen the new top selling book The Art of John Alvin, written by Andrea Alvin? If you haven’t, go HERE, and order it today!
If you have, “why buy Alvin now” is a question that answers itself. He has more than 200 finished posters to his credit, passed away in 2008, and is now building new fans all over the world, and adding to his longterm rabid, loyal collectors!
All things Star Wars will only continue to expand in worldwide media reach as the hype about JJ Abrams and his Star Wars VI rises to new froth and drool inducing heights. All the news may bore the not-so-sci-fi-savvy, but for those who love the series, it is a time of celebration. There are so many Star Wars related toys and gadgets out there, and your loved one can find those easily enough, but official art by John Alvin, one of the top movie poster artists in film history, actually created for LucasFilm, will get even the biggest fan’s lightsaber glowing a pretty holiday green or red!
Click above to see all the available art from Disney’s Frozen
There isn’t anything cooler to Disney fans or hotter in the world of Disney collectibles than art from the #1 biggest selling movie of all time for the studio. For anyone searching for a gift that will still have meaning and bring enjoyment for years to come, especially for kids and teens who LOVE Frozen, and don’t need one more toy, this is the perfect answer!
The loved one or family to whom you give the gift of art, when the art represents something they love like Frozen, will be reminded of you each time they see it in their home! For more information or advice, give ArtInsights a call.
Here are the 10 best, fastest selling images:
We Only Have Each Other by Tim Rogerson: Available in a hand embellished and signed giclee on canvas for $495
So…to restore or not to restore…and what does a collector need to ask or look for when considering vintage animation art for purchase? How might the art have been altered or restored?
What to do when a cel is damaged you are considering or gets damaged while on your wall or in your collection?
My opinion on this is that it is absolutely fine to restore cels. However, the world of animation art needs to set parameters of what is acceptable and it is essential as a part of the “industry” to know BEFORE you buy a cel whether it’s been restored already or not.
IN addition to that, backgrounds created for cels need to have very clearly indications that they are created specifically to enhance the set up, and that they are NOT original from Disney. This has recently become quite a problem. When we have a background created for collectors, we have our artists sign the back and the style is about 30 to 40% off from the original style of the actual background, so that it is clearly not from the studio and cannot be passed off as such. (there have been problems with cels that have “hand prepared backgrounds” being passed off as preliminary or original studio backgrounds in recent auctions)
While the collectors I know are perfectly willing to buy art that has been repaired or even needs repairing, there are often cels that are sold from old collections that have little to no paint and are completely repainted. As long as the potential collector is aware of that, no harm done. However, if they are under the impression that the paint is original, that seems disingenuous. Also, ArtInsights often buys art for more money for the very reason that it hasn’t been touched by restorers. There are many dealers and collectors buying art for next to nothing and having that art restored, then selling it for less but without stating the art’s history with restoration.
Also, part of “restoration” or “giving the art more eye appeal” may involved adding cels that are not production to a set up that enhances the image. Now this is not referring to putting together cels that come from different sources, that is perfectly fine. This is referring to opening up eyes that were previously closed…or adding more to a registered cel to complete a cel where the arm, or half a wing, or whatever, is missing… or adding Tramp to Lady, when the cel set up previously only had Lady there, and the Tramp cel has just been manufactured to add “eye appeal”. These are all practices that border on fraud.
It is part of the reason ArtInsights sells less animation now, because we’d rather just follow our own rules without calling attention to what any other dealer may or may not be doing.
As a collector, here are some questions you may want to ask when purchasing art, whether from ArtInsights or from another gallery, dealer, collector, or auction house. While there is no guarantee anyone will be completely transparent, at least you’ll know you’ve asked the right questions… PLEASE REMEMBER to always watch the movie to find the cel therein. If the gallery or company with whom you are transacting has already done it (which they should have) or knows where in the film the image originates, have them tell show you, and/or reaffirm by watching it yourself. There are certainly cels that come from cut scenes, or edited scenes, or are more concept than finished, but whoever you are working with should know that and tell you so.
Has the art been restored in any way?
If so, by whom? If that is considered proprietary information, at least ask whether it has been restored in gouache or acrylic paint.
If restored, was there any line work done? (the ink line is on the surface of the cel and paint is on the back. Even very liberal dealer/collectors believe there should be minimal line work done–i.e. outlines repainted–as part of restoration ….At what point does the art lose all original integrity?
If restored, was the art trimmed and reapplied to another cel? Some believe this effects the value, but this is another argument in the animation art world…because “CEL” refers to the whole piece of plastic, not just the part with the character. When you buy a cel, you are buying the piece of plastic, not just the image of the character.
If the restored cel is a Courvoisier set up, or an Art Corner piece from Disneyland, are those aspects of the restored cel being included with the art being purchased? Make sure the Courvoisier background is original and not fabricated. There are some that were being briefly recreated through a new license with Disney. I don’t think it’s being done now, but check the provenance of the art to know for sure.
If not Courvoisier or Art Corner, and there is a background, is it hand prepared, preliminary, or studio background an original background from the film? (sometimes someone will call a background a studio background because it is FROM the studio, but NOT from the film.
If the art is cracked or there is paint separation, can the provision be that if there is further damage it will be taken care of by the company from which you are purchasing the art?
Whenever possible, ask for an image of the art before restoration. This way you’ll be sure to know what’s been done to it, what might have been added, and reaffirm color was reapplied more or less correctly based on the original. (for example, there are scenes of Lady where she is very dark from part of the movie at night and some dealers have had those repainted to a more palatable color, which is not consistent with the original color used in those scenes. The same goes for Alice’s hair, which is sometimes an odd green color but looks normal onscreen, and almost all of the highlight hair on Peg during “He’s A Tramp”.)
Avoid restored limited editions unless you are buying them for nearly nothing, as well as cels that will be restored that have seeping color in the cel, (like the bright pink of the Cheshire Cat) unless you are willing to have the art trimmed to the outline and reapplied to a new cel.
When considering restoration for art you already own, remember to ask these questions:
How do you want to have the art restored? In gouache means it may get damaged again in the same place and in the same way, but it is being done with the same kind of paint as the original. In acrylic you are restoring it permanently, but it is paint that may not have been used back when the film was being made
How long will the restoration take? Some studios take a LONG time. Like, years. Ask for a due date, and have it written as part of the exchange. If the restoration takes several months longer than that, consider having it returned.
Obviously you’ll want to have an estimate given. Don’t believe there’s only one game in town. By the same token, make sure you have read or heard good references for the restoration studio you are using.
That is all I can think of at the moment, but it may have confused you. This restoration business is rather complicated. It really is a matter, as collector, of deciding what you are comfortable with and knowing what questions to ask and what kinds of restoration you believe acceptable based on the art you’re buying. Certainly if you are buying a piece that has been almost completely repainted, you should expect to pay way less unless it is the rarest of the rare. (and remember the dealers more prone to hard sell will tell you everything is the rarest of the rare. RAREST means things like Chernabog, the Queen from Snow White, and things along those lines…but in those cases, you’d better know where the art you are considering has been since the moment it left the studio…)
I hope this information is elucidating and helpful to those of you who love vintage art, and isn’t too discouraging. To all of us at ArtInsights, we believe you are better off knowing more and being more aware as a collector. If this leans you in the direction of using us to find your art, so much the better. We love creating loyal clients. Even if you never buy from us, at least you’ll go into your own transactions with eyes wide open, and they won’t have been painted that way.
In this blog, I’m going to start talking about restoration, my thoughts on it, what sorts of cels need it, and as much information as I can think of to spread around from my opinion and perspective… As a dealer and lover of animation who has been around the “business” since there were only 5 galleries in the world some 25 years ago, I have certainly seen my share of damaged cels….Here are the categories of cels that need restoration:
There are cels that have been left in the closet of a house that has no air conditioning: the worst example of this was a cel of Cheshire Cat where the bright pink paint had seeped into the actual cel, and the paint had melted to make the poor creature look like he’d been smashed to death. Tragic. (No picture. No one needed a reminder of such ruin)
There have been cels that are from the era of “art corner”–these are the cels from Disney released at Disneyland–they are put on thin litho copy backgrounds and it is just about inherent to the era that the cels are stuck, often completely, to the background. Many collectors just leave them that way, since anyone who knows what they are looking at will expect the cel to be stuck. Fortunately, a friend devised a way to separate those cels from their backgrounds without destroying all the paint, and keeping the art intact. YAY!!! He deserves an award! (no, he doesn’t do it for the general public…)
There are cels that are painted nitrate cellulose, and that “plastic” shrinks and expands with the moisture in the air and they look all shriveled and wavy. Often the paint cracks off because it is being asked to stay adhered to these wavy pieces of plastic. TOO MUCH STRESS! These pieces are often Courvoisier set ups, which were put together and sold by Disney in the late 30s and early 40s. There are also cels from Dumbo that crack from the kind of paint they used with the elephants. Rare indeed are the cels that are unrestored of the lead character or other elephants from that film.
There are cels that are from the 50s from movies where the paint they used is notorious for cracking. An example of this is the white on Alice in Wonderland. Her apron, her tights…these crack very easily. Since Alice and Cinderella fall in between the Courvoisier and Art Corner eras at Disney, they are often just loose cels someone saved. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few that are in perfect condition from that time period that I call “The Secretary’s Era”, because women who worked in the offices there and took art home sometimes painted over the back of the cel where the paint was with clear nail polish. I have never seen pieces that have nail polish with chipped or cracked paint. Those gals knew what they were doing!
There are cels that are from when Disney started selling art to the public through what they called “The Disney Art Program”. These cels have seals (a variety of them, actually) but they are often laminated on both the front and the back of the cel. So that means an extra piece of plastic is added on top of the cels with art on them. THESE ARE TICKING TIME BOMBS, says a chemist friend who has been working with restoration experts for longer than I’ve even been around animation. Why? Because something happens with the chemistry of the paint and whatever they used to seal it all together. I don’t really understand it, but what I DO know is the end result is at some point the cels start getting bubbling, smell weird, and then shrivel up. I have heard of, and a few times seen firsthand that removing the layers on either side of the art saves the inner cel(s), but once it starts bubbling time is of the essence. For this reason I rarely sell cels from between 1971 and 1986 unless I can tell it is laminated only on one side or not at all.
Finally, there are cels that are simply not well taken care of–left in houses with extreme changes in temperature, or in a hot car, or in a pile of cels where they all get stuck together. Also, if an extremely hard winter (as we’ve just had on the East coast) has caused sharp changes of temperature and extreme cold, it can mean trouble for a perfect unrestored cel.
Unfortunately, (from my perspective), the world of animation doesn’t see any difference between art that is in original condition and art that’s been restored. This is good news for those who agree with this notion, but those who know me are aware of the fact that I would always prefer to carry and sell art in its original condition. I suspect those from Europe, or at least more often from outside the US, tend to be more committed to finding art that is in good original shape. When a collector with either perspective finds a great image of a key scene or moment from a favorite short or movie, however, if the art is damaged to the point of being visually distracting, restoration often becomes a necessity.
In my next blog, I’ll discuss how to proceed when cels are damaged, at what point a collector might decide restoration is necessary, and where information and help can be obtained.
Postscript: I was searching the web for Courvoisier cels that are cracked but in good condition, and I found no less than dozens of cels that I’ve had for sale and sold at some point, and remember what they looked like at the time, and now they are “perfect”.
ARTINSIGHTS WELCOMES DISNEY ART DIRECTOR AND ILLUSTRATOR TOBY BLUTH IN PERSON
FOR THE PREMIERE OF FIRST ONE MAN SHOW WORLDWIDE
April 18, 2007
Reston Town Center, VA – ArtInsights Animation and Film Arts Gallery, the only gallery to represent animation and film in Virginia, will be premiering the art of famed Disney illustrator Toby Bluth in a show to open on April 28th with a personal appearance by Mr. Bluth from 2 to 7 pm in their gallery. On display will be the originals of the first five limited editions released at Disney World and Disneyland, as well as others he created especially this exhibit.
Mr. Bluth, a long time animation artist of renown who most recently acted as art director for The Tigger Movie and Disney’s The Three Musketeers, is one of a very few artists selected to represent Disney with limited editions of his art in the Disney parks and galleries around the world, and ArtInsights will be the first to feature him since the release of his art at Disney. The show will include original watercolors and limited editions and will run through June 4th.
“We’re so excited to be premiering the originals for the first limited editions released by Toby”, says co-owner Leslie Combemale. Included in the show are images of Snow White, Bambi, Dumbo, Fantasia, and other Disney classics, many of which he interpreted for Disney storybooks. Combemale continues, “His art is selling so quickly, before we can even frame it for show. Most of the originals are sold already, but now we’re taking commissions and all the collectors have been willing to let us keep his art for the show. We had a flood in February and had to be closed for a month, so the success of this show is a welcome part of our reopening.” The limited editions of the originals are available to have dedicated by the artist at the show, and an original rendering by Mr. Bluth is included with every commission sold during his appearance.
Believing that how one remembers a film is often different from the film itself, Toby Bluth paints what he perceives as the collective memory of the film experience and taps into the emotional essence of the story. Chiaroscuro, the use of deep variations in and subtle gradations of light and shade, especially to enhance the delineation of character and for dramatic effect, is a key component in Bluth’s work. The blue shaded undercoat or chiaroscuro effect that is the genesis of every original, adds depth, life, as well as warm and cool shadows to each scene. He also refers to this process as “painting the light and the air”.
Inspired by the work of legendary illustrator Gustaf Tengrenn, whom Walt Disney recruited to work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bluth is passionate about his craft. A multifaceted artist, Toby’s creative endeavors do not end at the tip of his brush. He is an accomplished writer, director, designer and a veteran of the American musical stage, having performed and or directed in nearly one hundred musicals, both on Broadway and beyond.
ArtInsights, established in 1994, is a privately owned gallery located in Reston Town Center, in Virginia. They are doing well with the addition the art of the cinema to their specialization of creating and developing collections of animation art from Disney, Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbera, and all other major studios. With more than 30 combined years of experience in the animation art field, owners Michael Barry and Leslie Combemale work closely with individuals and corporations to ensure the integrity of their collections. In addition to being one of only 10 Chuck Jones Signature Galleries in the country, ArtInsights is Virginia’s only animation gallery and is the only gallery in the Washington Metropolitan area authorized to represent Warner Bros. and Hanna Barbera animation art to the public. They also have exclusive rights to sell original illustrative art by Harry Potter book cover artist Mary GrandPre, and are one of a handful of galleries worldwide authorized to sell originals by famed cinema artist John Alvin, who has created posters and art for over 130 movies including Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
ArtInsights Gallery reveals exclusive new limited edition of Harry Potter film concept art signed by Stuart Craig Potter to enthusiastic Leakycon attendees.
July 13, 2011
ArtInsights, the animation and film art gallery that represents the official art of Harry Potter, announces the release of six new limited edition prints based on concept art for the Harry Potter film series, images designed and and signed by Harry Potter production designer Stuart Craig, and illustrated by concept artist Andrew Williamson.
The six images feature Hogwarts Castle, Malfoy Manor, The Weasley Burrow, Harry’s Trial, The Quidditch Tent City, and The Horcrux Cave. They are in an edition of 250, with the first 50 designated as sets of six. ArtInsights, located in the Washington DC area, is a gallery that has been representing Harry Potter art released through Warner Brothers since 2000. These are the first official images to be released from the art department of the film series that have been signed by the production designer.
“I think Warner Brothers now believes that Harry Potter fans can appreciate the importance of the behind-the-scenes artists responsible for the finished look of the film series.” says ArtInsights gallery owner Leslie Combemale, who is showing the new art as part of an exhibit of the official art of Harry Potter at the convention. “Stuart Craig is one of the few consistent players involved from the beginning of the film series and he, along with producer David Heyman, is due a huge amount of credit for the movie’s beauty, and for its success.
I love that so many Harry Potter fans not only know who he is, but truly appreciate his role in making the films so extraordinary.”
The gallery is also displaying and offering for sale original art used as concepts for the movie poster campaign, as well as limited editions by book cover artist Mary GrandPre, movie concept artist Jim Salvati, and Harry Potter movie graphic artists Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima.
Quidditch World Cup Tents $375.00
image size: 22″ x 9 3/4″
paper size: 26″ x 13 3/4″
Journey to Hogwarts $375.00
image size: 22″ x 9 1/4″
paper size: 26″ x 13 1/4″
Harry’s Trial $375.00
image size: 22″ x 9 1/4″
paper size: 26″ x 13 1/4″
The Burrow $375.00
image size: 20″ x 8 1/4″
paper size: 24″ x 12 1/4″
The Horcrux Cave $350.00
image size: 15″ x 11″
paper size: 19″ x 15″
Malfoy Manor $350.00
image size: 15″ x 10″
paper size: 19″ x 14″
Undoubtedly the tales of Harry Potter and his adventures at Hogwarts comprise some of the most alluring fiction to date. This fiction has been brought to life onscreen for a new generation of film fans and the last installment is receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews from fans and critics alike. Stuart Craig, who has received Oscars for Gandhi, The English Patient, and Dangerous Liaisons, as well as numerous English BAFTAs for the Harry Potter series, has been responsible for the entire look of the films, and as part of that has drawn hundreds of drawings to guide the creation of the illustrations by his art department.
These exclusive pieces are an important addition to the collection of Harry Potter fine art images spanning the book series and films that have been previously released. This film art connects the collectors with the design and development of some of their favorite scenes and moments from the movie series, evoking in the viewer the same excitement that comes from the pen of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
For more information about these exclusive images, visit the ArtInsights website, at
ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery releases exclusive London Studio Tour limited editions
of Harry Potter film concept art signed by Stuart Craig to American collectors
July 12, 2012
ArtInsights, the animation and film art gallery that represents the official art of Harry Potter, announces the release of new limited edition prints based on concept art for the Harry Potter film series, images designed and and signed by Harry Potter production designer Stuart Craig, and illustrated by concept artist Andrew Williamson. Originally selected for the opening of the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden, these images are now being released to fans on this side of the Atlantic.
The release includes Making a Great Exit (the Weasley twins flying through the great hall), Dark Mark Over London, Creating Hogwarts & The Black Lake, Creating Hogsmeade, Escape on the Dragon, The Twins Depart, (another great twins piece) and Journey on The Hogwarts Express. This art has been so popular in London that the Journey on The Hogwarts Express and Dark Mark pieces are already almost sold out. There has already been much interest and support here as well, as exampled by the fan reaction and sales at the premiere at Leakycon 2012.
ArtInsights, located in the Washington DC area, is a gallery that has been representing Harry Potter art released through Warner Brothers since 2000. These images were hand selected to represent the art of the successful film series at the opening of the Warner Brothers Studio tour London-Making of Harry Potter, and now are available online and through contacting the gallery.
“It is exciting that the film art made available for sale when the Leavesden Studio Tour opened has been appreciated and is being purchased by fans who visit. Says ArtInsights owner Leslie Combemale,. “It means film art is being seen more as a real art, not just as a means to an end. Stuart Craig deserves a lot of credit for the visual beauty and success of the Potter series. How wonderful that fans obviously not only know who he is, but truly appreciate his role in making the films so extraordinary.”
Undoubtedly the tales of Harry Potter and his adventures at Hogwarts comprise some of the most alluring fiction to date. This fiction has been brought to life onscreen for a new generation of film fans and the last installment is receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews from fans and critics alike. Stuart Craig, who has received Oscars for Gandhi, The English Patient, and Dangerous Liaisons, as well as numerous English BAFTAs for the Harry Potter series, has been responsible for the entire look of the films, and as part of that has drawn hundreds of drawings to guide the creation of the illustrations by his art department.
These exclusive pieces are an important addition to the collection of Harry Potter fine art images spanning the book series and films that have been previously released. This film art connects the collectors with the design and development of some of their favorite scenes and moments from the movie series, evoking in the viewer the same excitement that comes from the pen of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
For more information or more images, visit the ArtInsights website, at
John Alvin Originals CAN BE FOUND AT THEIR OFFICIAL GALLERY HOME!
ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery has exclusive rights to selling all official original art from the estate of John Alvin. If looking for available art through official channels directly from his estate,
We at ArtInsights have been proud to be have known John Alvin and are honored to be connected as the official conduit from artist, through his family, to collector. There is a special interaction inherent to the experience of collecting original art, and we believe when movie lovers can enjoy a piece of art by such a renown artist such as John Alvin from any movie on which he created images, they become part of celebrating the important aspect of film history that campaign art represents. Collecting posters is a wonderful thing, but having a piece of art used in the making of the poster is something those who have begun a collection of such can tell you is a truly joyful experience. John Alvin was a lovely man, humble, warm, and kind, who always had time for his fans and blossoming artists. We miss him and are thrilled The Art of John Alvin will create new fans and increase awareness about him throughout the world.
We hope if you are in the Washington DC area or would like to see a collection of original art by John Alvin you’ll come to our gallery where you can see them in person. Thanks for your interest!
ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery
Legendary Animation Creator and Director’s 100th Year Begins with an Exhibition at ArtInsights
November 3, 2011
Reston, VA: ArtInsights announced today that it was chosen by the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity to be the first gallery in the United States to host an exhibition and sale of original Chuck Jones drawings that celebrates the legendary animation creator and director’s 100th year. The exhibition is called Chuck Jones: An Animation Legend Turns 100. It will open to the public on Sunday, November 5, 2011 from 2 to 5 PM with special guest, Craig Kausen, Chairman of the Center and Chuck Jones’s grandson. “We have Chuck Jones exhibits opening this year at the Port of Portland’s International Airport that will be viewed by nearly one million travelers as well as at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio,” said Craig Kausen, “and we could not have thought of a better gallery than ArtInsights in which to launch my grandfather’s centennial celebrations with this important exhibition of original drawings from his amazing career.” Also as part of the opening, a presentation called Chuck Jones: Fabulous Firsts will be shown as part of the new Washington West Film Festival on Friday November 4th at 6:30 pm at the CIT Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon.
Jones, one of the fathers of Bugs Bunny and the creator of such iconic cartoon characters as Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, Pepé le Pew and Marvin Martian, was born in Spokane, Washington, on September 21, 1912. The four-time Academy Award recipient, including a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1996, enjoyed a seven decade career in animation and fine art, beginning in 1932. His life and life’s work spanned the history of animation, from the first tentative steps of Gertie the Dinosaur, animated by Windsor McKay in 1912, to the brilliant CGI (computer generated imagery) of John Lasseter and Pixar Studios.
At the core of his work and life, and the one aspect of his success that speaks most clearly to artists today, was his love of drawing. Jones, even into his 80’s, wondered at his luck to have found a job during the Depression that paid him to do what he loved most and that was to draw. “Chuck’s drawings have always held a special place in my heart,” commented Leslie Combemale, owner of ArtInsights, “his line coupled with his great wit make for remarkable original works, works that can and should be cherished by collectors of film art as well as those whose collections are focused on the great masters of 20th century figurative painting and drawing. I am thrilled to be the first art gallery to host this important exhibition and sale.”
The Chuck Jones Centennial Celebrations will include a revamped version of the multi-media extravaganza “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony” created and conducted by George Daugherty, with planned appearances at Wolf Trap and the Kennedy Center in 2012 as well as with other notable symphony orchestras around the country. The Center is working with its local Congressman in the hope that United States Congress will designate Jones’s birthday as National Chuck Jones Creativity Day in 2012.
Art Insights is located just outside of Washington, D.C. at 11921 Freedom Drive, in Reston Town Center, Virginia. The gallery presents the most important works of art from the 20th 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. Artists represented include Chuck Jones, John Alvin, Maurice Noble, Bill Melendez, Lawrence Noble, Jim Salvati, and many other artists made famous by their work for Disney Studios and Warner Bros. For more information please call the gallery at 703-478-0778.
A complete biography of Chuck Jones, images for print or web use as well as interview opportunities with Craig Kausen are available upon request.
Today Michael and I are running around like lunatics getting ready to drive to Florida to take part in our 3RD convention this summer, Star Wars Celebration 5.
For those of you who have been sleeping inside a Tauntaun for the last 30 years, it’s the anniversary of Empire Strikes Back this year, since it was released in 1980…
So for the 5th official time on US soil, LucasFilm is throwing a con/party to celebrate, and all manner of cool geekasm inducing doodads and thingimajigs are being offered for sale exclusively there–and as you may have seen in my “Instant Insights” section of our webmagazine site, George Lucas will be there being interviewed by Jon Stewart as “The Main Event”.
What the jabba the hut will we be doing there? We will have a booth offering the official art of Star Wars–that is to say the art that was commissioned by LucasFilm for use as posters, books, limited editions, etc., by artists who have been working for them– some since the movies were released, some who have only recently been interpreting the stories…
The coolest things about our being there:
we will be representing the art of John Alvin. If you don’t yet know who he is, check out our fan site at www.johnalvinart.com or see him on imdb. you can also read all about him and his importance to the history of Star Wars and film in general at rebelscum.com, where i did an interview with Andrea Alvin, his wife, who will be there with us to meet John’s fans and help carry on his legacy by displaying all his gorgeous original work from Star Wars still on the market (not much!) and some from other films too! I am completely honored to be representing John’s original art worldwide and also honored to have an exclusive limited edition of the art he painted as he was contemplating what he would do for an official poster for C5, which he was asked to do before he passed away unexpectedly. We don’t have much of his art on our site yet, because our new one is SO new, but i can send pictures when we get back if anyone is interested in what might still be available for purchase at that time. The limited edition is $150 and there are only 100 of them. There are also some new limited editions of his work at the Acme booth…
We got art from Randy Martinez, who will be at our booth during the con every day, and his work is gracing every promo, every event poster, magnets, postcards, even a beachtowel. His work melds Star Wars with Florida life, and Steve Sansweet, who KNOWS his art, bought some of the originals. We’ll have most of the others there! We love Randy, and Randy was a close friend of John Alvin’s, so there’s definitely some symmetry there.
We got art by William Silvers and Christian Waggoner (#1 most collected limited edition artist for LucasFilm official art!) of Star Wars imagery, and it’s the first time anyone who wants to buy art by those artists have had access to it, because George buys almost everything they’ve ever done. Finally we’ve gotten access to a few!! First time ever, so even for those who can’t afford it, it’ll be exciting to see them in person. Christian will be there, and he promises to come by our booth from time to time!
We get to have access to all the special items available at the Celebration store–like the Wampa with detachable arm and the Eau Lando–want to see what they’re selling? GO HERE.
Little did we know when we signed up to be part of Celebration that we get passes to “The Main Event” with George and Jon by having a booth. Otherwise we’d have to stand in line starting the night before–(and don’t think we wouldn’t!) Oh BOY!!!!
We just found out some special guest is coming to the exhibition hall early on Friday morning and “it would behoove us to be there, because we don’t want to miss it”…??? The anticipation is killing us! We’ll keep you posted…
We are very excited. More updates soon, on this blog…Wish the force being with us!!!
Here at Infinitus it’s like MAGIC! Time stands still. In good ways and in bad ways…
We are here from ArtInsights at the Harry Potter convention Infinitus at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are 2700 convention attendees of the best fans in all fandom!
Two days before we (my little sister Coco and I, who drove from Washington DC) got here, we were framing like lunatics (or should i say Michael was!), writing press releases, making sales from our “Marvel vs. DC” show, figuring out what to wear in the Florida heat/convention air conditioning, making up price lists, and of course, despairing of ever seeing the official art we got for the show–which was with Mary GrandPre to be signed, having just been printed and given the go ahead–
but wait. let’s rewind…
We have been working on finding something super special for this convention, partly because i had made such great friends and clients last year, partly because it was the opening of Wizarding World only a tiny bit before (on June 18th, the day Michael and I got married, we like to think the opening was in honor of our wedding!) and we’d been working for some time on it. Through a series of happy coincidences and friendships we discovered Tommy Lee Edwards had some original art he’d done for the 1st movie, which is just about unheard of! So I planned a trip to his house so i could see the art in person, and wound up loving him and his family (actually a prerequisite for my selling art in my gallery…no matter how awesome it is.) So he said I could take it, trusting i’d find the right people to sell it to–they had to be real fans!
So we had some really special art tucked away–which turned out to be a good thing when the art we were expecting to get in time for the show got pulled so they could release it at the movie premiere! Oh, well…Back to begging and pleading for something –one piece–we could release as a special image for the HPWW opening. Enter my friend at Clampett Studios (who is connected with Warner Brothers) and her saying “well, there’s this one piece, but it doesn’t have a character in it.”
I got a bit hopeful said “send it along and let me see it, i’m sure it’s lovely!” Sure enough, she sends it, I see it, and–in the words of a Potterhead, “SQUEE!!!” (that means, wow, cool! it’s the sound of a tweener shrieking…)
I WAS SO EXCITED! and really honored that i got to actually get a piece for Infinitus. It means Warner Brothers, or at least Ruth Clampett, believes in the value and importance of the Harry Potter fans. Enough that they would put out a special piece for 1. the opening of Wizarding World and 2. Infinitus.
So…between the art we got from Tommy and the special Mary GrandPre art, we decided to drive down to Florida instead of flying (because you can lose it, and it is insured, but we want them in the hands of fans, not in some baggage claim!!)
We are having an amazing time, and the fans are incredible, and i’ve met and now INTERVIEWED!! Christian Coulson (Tom Riddle and tons of great English tv/film/and he’s also an amazing) have seen Chris Rankin again, (lovely as usual) met this awesome gal who represents Jim Dale (voice who read the HP books, amazing guy) and aforementioned awesome gal shows up this morning with gorgeous hand painted HP shoes to see the gallery.
Interviewed Chris Rankin about the 7th movie and his future plans. He’s been wonderful here, fans love him! As to Christian Coulson…pretty. which belies the brains that noggin houses…hardly seems fair.
The special piece has been selling like crazy and today has been brisk for not only it but all of Mary GrandPre’s limited editions and some lovely originals by Tommy Lee Edwards have found happy homes! if any of you are interested in the special Hogwarts piece, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, because you’ll have to be added soonish to make sure you get one!
Star Wars original art, a galaxy not so far far away…
Such a crazy series of events led me to Celebration 4, i couldn’t explain it if i tried. Suffice to say it resulted from some Shakespearean drama between me and one of the wholesale companies i worked with. However it happened, i wound up there. And the beauty of it is, i met one of my favorite people in the world, Mark Chiarello, while is was there, who has become a close friend and artist client of mine (check out his website www.markchiarello.com) Most of my time at C4 was spent with my close friends John and Andrea Alvin. John, who had done over 200 movie posters and was already very famous for them, was promoting the official C4 poster, which he had done, and a Star Wars limited edition he had done for the event. We had such fun together, and spent time with Tsuneo Sanda, another Star Wars artist, and up and comer Randy Martinez, who had created the other official C4 poster, and who is now also a close friend of mine, and whose original art i represent exclusively. I also met his gal pal partner Denise Vasquez, who is a gazillathreat, visual artist, actress, musician, philanthropist–(check out her site www.denisevasquez.com) Both of them are now creating great Star Wars art and now Randy is creating one of the official Star Wars posters for C5!
Meanwhile, it occurred to me that it might be an exciting and good idea to have a booth where fans and collectors of John Alvin’s art could come during C5 and meet and talk to Andrea, John’s wife, and see the last of John’s Star Wars art that is available for sale. Andrea and I have come together in partnership to support and promote the legacy of John’s work, and part of that is to meet, greet, and sell to his Star Wars fans who have been so good to him.
Let me tell you about Star Wars fans…You who have read my blogs know that I absolutely LOVE the Harry Potter collectors and fans. They are an erudite, enthusiastic, gracious, and articulate bunch. Well, the same goes for the hardcore fans of the Star Wars movies. Of course, both have two sets of collectors, the ones without two dimes to rub together (often young, and in the case of Star Wars, sometimes basement dwellers) that are genuine and love the properties wholeheartedly, and the ones that own or work for huge computer companies, or build the space station, or solve the quandaries of astrophysics etc, who buy the big ticket items, travel to the European cons, and write blogs that are read worldwide (HP blog writers, you know who i’m talking about!) Of all the collectors in the worlds of collecting, and I know most of them, Harry Potter and Star Wars are two of the very best most loyal fan-bases. Given that, and my own love of those two sagas, it was only natural that i would build a clientele for original art from those properties. From Harry Potter, i’ve been able to uncover the most beautiful art created for both the books and the movies. For Star Wars, I have found the same is true, with one very interesting wrinkle…Let me tell you what is special about the art of Star Wars…
Seems kind of obvious, i guess. George Lucas is the reason Star Wars exists. But in the world of art, especially Star Wars art, he is way way more. Let me explain.
George Lucas buys art. Not just a little bit of art. 98% of the art. Even though there are laws against such things, LucasFilm has set something up where if you are an artist who wants to work for LucasFilm, whenever you create art for the franchise, you have to offer your original art to George first. And George, as you may guess, has a bit of cash. There are artists, really famous Star Wars artists, who have sold almost everything to him. Which obviously is kind of awesome. He supports artists!
But that also means there is very little original art available for the fans. The deal is, if you create art for LucasFilm in any capacity, you must offer George the first opportunity to buy the original art. As a result, Tsuneo Sanda, Christian Wagonner, William SIlvers, and many other amazing artists, are very hard to get Star Wars art from, unless the LucasFilm budget has been exhausted at exactly the right time!
There is also a very interesting disparity of pricing and popularity between the big daddies of Star Wars art, and the artists that sell their art for nearly nothing. Obviously everyone wants to create Star Wars art. So lots of newcomers will create art for nearly nothing. They create art for sketch cards and sell them online for $100 or $200 or less. It would take a savvy art collector indeed to be able to decipher who out of that collection of artists might become one of the big daddies over time! Gratefully for Randy Martinez, and a few others, they have jumped from one to the other, not a little because of George’s interest in their original art!
The way LucasFilm has set up the creation of art, if an artist wants to continue working for them, they can’t create art outside of sanctioned images commissioned by LucasFilm. If they starts doing original commissions and LucasFilm hears about it, they’ll never work for them again. Great motivation to stay in line!
And. Seriously. What can be better than knowing George Lucas, who created Han Solo, Leia, Jabba and Yoda, would want the art that was inspired by those creations?
It’s not like there isn’t good art available. Our friends at Acme (you can buy the art online on our website under “cinema, star wars”) have created some great limited editions based on the art George was most excited about. But the original art–good original art by the artists George collects–that’s hard to get.
That’s why we’re so excited. We have struck a deal with those artists to sell their art, whatever George and his crew decline, however temporary, to the true and faithful Star Wars fans/hopeful art collectors. And we’re getting more and more artists all the time. So. If you are a fan of Star Wars…give us a call, or stay tuned, because by the time C5 rolls around in August we are going to have emassed quite the awesome collection of original Star Wars art.
We’ll be at Celebration 5 with Andrea Alvin, John Alvin’s wife and artistic partner, and with Randy Martinez, and who knows who else in the world of Star Wars art, and even now we are pulling together gorgeous original art that spans the spectrum of the Star Wars universe.
If you don’t know who Boba is, this isn’t for you. But if you know an X wing from a Tie Fighter, if you know Tatooine isn’t something you do as a drunken sailor on leave, if Salacious Crumb is more than a breakfast coffee cake…we might be able to hook you up…
Stay tuned. As usual, we have a plan…and the force is strong with this one…
Azkatraz, my trip deep into Harry Potter fandom. I’m still having delightful flashbacks…
Ah, Harry Potter. I thought i knew you….I’ve read all the books, more than once, I know all the art, the mythologies around the books and their creation, and i myself was a “professor of the magical arts” at one of the midnight book releases..Mind, I’m no “Pottaskalla”….but I’ve seen the kids waiting in line, met many collectors, I even went to last years Harry Potter convention, “Portus”…i was only there for about 36 hours, which was just enough time to meet a few fans, see a few costumes, and mock the seriousness and intensity of the few panels and seminars i heard were taking place while i was there…Grab your wands and pointy hats and let me take you to the “Hogwarts School of Harry Potter fandom”…. This June, I actually got to go to a preview even before the movie premiere in NYC, and took part in interviews of some of the actors, movie industry insiders, and fans who make the franchise what it is. So I got a taste of the enthusiasm of the fandom first hand. I stood in the same line the fans were in (while my partners in crime were on the red carpet, I stood behind the barriers and interviewed the fans, 3 of whom had gussied up in hopes of making it into the premiere! aaah, youthful optimism. They didn’t get in, but I was rooting for them!)
Little by little I was being ushered into the “Hogwarts banquet hall” if you will. I have said the Harry Potter fans have always been my favorite to deal with. and really, that’s saying something. I include my Star Wars collectors, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Vintage Disney, Warner Brothers….etc. All of which have something to recommend them, but the Harry Potter fans have always been literate, astute, glompy (that, my uninitiated friends, means those who hug you so hard in their enthusiasm they knock you down) and no matter how much or little money they have, they’ve always appreciated the art of Harry Potter. I’ve sold many reasonably expensive HP pieces to teachers, teenagers, and retired folks on a tiny budget–They’ve driven me–in their appreciation and by their desire to own a bit of HP art–to new concepts on layaway! So when I was asked to present “the official art of Harry Potter” at this year’s Harry Potter convention “Azkatraz”, I thought i had some idea what i was getting into…I thought I knew Harry, but i was in for a rude disapperation–or rather, a fantastic experience of open mindedness and unmitigated joy.
First off, my friends at Clampett gave me a worldwide exclusive premiere of two pieces by Mary GrandPre, and they happened to be the most beautiful pieces, my favorites they’d ever released. Secondly, my friend Jim Salvati, who had worked on several of the movies, had offered me some original paintings he made while the movies were in production. He called it “analog art”. You see, they don’t really use physical paintings in movie production anymore. It’s a dying art. So that was cool. And then they were releasing these freaky movie still images with special mats of 10 of the major characters from the movies right in time for Azkatraz. So I was bringing pretty good game. (kinda had to, since they had made me a guest of the convention, my first time guesting!!)
I arrived, after having corresponded with a variety of the volunteers who were involved in putting the con together. Stina was guest coordinator, Heidi was a major orchestrator of the con as a whole, Gwen had been making the physical event actually happen in real time, and Flourish was the coordinator of the panels and seminars. Those are just a tiny few of the folks who put the event on and made it fun and exciting for the 1000 or so fans who came. I cannot believe the hard work these people did out of love of Harry Potter! They were awesome! There’s this thing called shipping. or slash. which is when characters who don’t belong together in what they call “canon” (ie the actual collection of books) get together. It’s the job of the “fanfic” writers, of which there are many, some of which are FAMOUS in the HP world, to make the pairing make sense. The biggest group is called “Snarry”, followed closely by “Drarry”. That’d be Snape/Harry, and Draco/Harry. (hence the name “slash”) Before you get all oogie and click away, they actually make it work. They even make Draco/Hermione work. Now THAT’S a stretch! (ummm, unlike the other two?) There’s tons of art relating to the slash too, and there were many meet ups and seminars about it as well. A friend of mine who’s a fan of slash recommended the following to me, i haven’t read it yet, but you can check it out if you’re curious…supposed to be great…read at your own risk! http://www.swish-n-flick.net (site has since been erased) This may seem really weird to you, but let me relay a story that i hope puts all of it in perspective…
I live in DC. We have a fairly strong gay community here, but as with many other parts of the country, that community has to constantly take a stand to work towards equal rights. I spent almost a week with a bunch of folks that never brought up whether they were gay or straight. I became pretty good friends with one gal who I only found out was gay the last day I was there. It never came up, and never needed to. Deep in the fandom of HP, that’s the way it is. Maybe because in the books the sexuality of the characters has never mattered, it doesn’t matter in the fandom either. One guy I met explained it by saying in the HP world, everyone wizard and witch gets a wand. There’s automatic equity between the sexes. You feel this most definitely in the fandom. There are also way more strong opinionated and independently minded women in the Harry Potter fandom as well. People of all shapes, sizes, and opinions are welcome there. That’s not to say there isn’t dissent! Many of the panels and seminars get quite heated! Don’t mess with these fans’ opinions and perspectives on “canon” unless you can back up your own!
Then there’s the wizard wrock. This is music by bands who write songs in which there is always a reference to something in the Harry Potter world.You, not being HP, would NOT BELIEVE the seriousness and passion the fans of these bands have. They are HUGE stars in the HP world. There was an article on the front of the arts section of USA Today featuring the biggest bands in wizard wrock. Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, Remus and the Lupins, the Ministry of Magic, and the House of Black are some of the biggest names. I went to a “slumber party” where several of the bands played acoustically and their fans knew every single word of every song. If these musicians want to have squeeing girls falling all over them, they’re in the right business!…
They all seem nice enough, and they are no doubt really true fans of the books–many of them are serious classically trained musicians who just want to bring together their love of music and their love of the Harry Potter story. When I got to talking to them, and they discovered i was a musician, they all said i HAD to start a wizard wrock band… what do you guys think? Should i start “Luna and the Lovegoods”? (is there really any other name?) more info on wizard wrock at:
So how did i do, you might ask? We wrocked! (sorry…) I’m happy to say we sold a bunch of stuff, (helping us in making July our best month ever in business!) and whether folks bought or not, they loved the display, and apparently learned some stuff in my talks. I love that we sold a lot of art there, because it means they really appreciated the images and connected to them-and also we are now giving a percentage of the profits to Kids Need To Read charity–It was funny in my display i kept having the Snape folks and the Defense against the Dark Arts folks coming by asking why i’d put the Snape image in the front and Dumbledore in the back, or vice versa…I just said the Snape fans scared me more!
I should mention some of the other presenters… Lev Grossman, who reviews books for Time Magazine and who’s become a friend, and is lovely! (shameless plug alert! check out his new book “The Magicians”–getting awesome reviews, yea, Lev!), Henry Jenkins, who teaches at MIT, and has been at the forefront of comparative media studies and international transmedia–meaning all the cross pollenating of media outlets like web, print, tv, etc., and how it has effected news and entertainment–sounds dry but he was amazing! (check out his blog…www.henryjenkins.org) Chris Rankin, who plays Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, and is delightful–he is going to be a great movie producer one day, i predict. He made me one of his twitterbuddies, and the next day i got tons of HP fans as followers…I’m thinking, really? Will i get that kind of reaction if the Dalai Lama and i tweetfriend?
That boy is FULL of great stories and has a huge sincere and kind heart, you could do worse than fancrushing him…There were many other really cool presenters, like Eddie Newquist, who talked about his role in developing the hugely successful new Harry Potter exhibit about to go to Boston from its first stop in Chicago. For more info on who was there and what they did, or if you want to find out about next year’s convention at the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, check out www.infinitus2010.org.
If you’d like to hear me playing Lucius Malfoy in a Harry Potter fanfic podcast, check it out on itunes under spellcast summer: Live from Azkatraz. (oh, the humanity!…) I’m heartened to see such an enthusiastic and open group of people of all ages getting together and celebrating the books that have brought them so much joy, and was honored to be part of it even for just a few days. I made some life long friends (you know who you are!!!) and felt respected and appreciated in the art we represent, which isn’t always true…
I absolutely loved being where one set of books brings together freaks, punks, brainiacs, and every other would be clique cliche into one big literary lovefest. The Azkatraz premiere of Half Blood Prince, –seeing the movie with the biggest fans is the way to do it!! Leslie and Chris Rankin, such a nice fellow! The “art of storyboarding” workshop i had the hubris to lead…but it was great and so much fun! Deb and Denise from Kids Need to Read and I at the ball. They were wonderful and are now new great friends of mine!
We made $1700 in the auction for them and a bunch from our sales throughout the convention! Erin Pyne and I at my little exhibit of “official Harry Potter art”…I know I’m wearing a snakeskin pattern but I’m not Slytherin, I’m Ravenclaw! Or as i found out at the con, i’m Griffinclaw. (that’s when someone fits right in between two houses.)