Tag: artinsights

Spotlight on Eric Goldberg: Animation Superstar & Al Hirschfeld Devotee

If you love the Genie from the 1992 animated feature Aladdin, Phil from Hercules, Louis from The Princess and the Frog, or enjoyed 1995’s Pocahontas, you love the work of Disney animator Eric Goldberg. He co-directed Pocahontas and was responsible for some of the best character designs in the New Golden Age of Disney. The artist knew he wanted to be an animator by the age of 4, started making flip books at 6, and began making films at 13, after he got a super-8 camera for his bar mitzvah. His most important mentor was Roger Rabbit director Richard Williams, who offered him his first professional job animating on Raggedy Ann and Andy, then invited him to come to London and work at his studio. Goldberg’s diverse illustration and art training at Pratt came in handy working with Williams, whose projects required being well-versed in many artistic styles. 

Goldberg was also a fan of caricature artist Al Hirschfeld from childhood, and Hirschfeld’s influence can be seen in his art from the very beginning of his tenure at Disney. It is once again in evidence on his new Disney project, coming soon to Disney+. 

ERIC GOLDBERG GIFTS US NEW GOOFY SHORTS

Goldberg is the director of a new series of 3 HAND-DRAWN shorts releasing on DisneyPlus in August, Walt Disney Animation Studios Presents Goofy in How to Stay At Home, featuring ‘everyman’ (or should I say ‘everydog’?) Goofy in “How to Wear a Mask”, “Learning to Cook” and “Binge Watching”. Goldberg pitched the cartoons to Disney execs Jennifer Lee and Clark Spencer in the fall of 2020, and they loved the idea. While he directed all three shorts and was the supervising animator on “How to Wear a Mask”, he enlisted two other longtime colleagues in traditional animation, Mark Henn and Randy Haycock, to act as supervising animators, Henn on Binge Watching and Haycock on Learning to Cook. They’ll play on Disney+ beginning on August 11th. Of course Disney Legend Bill Farmer, who has voiced Goofy since 1987 will bring the character to life with his delightful vocal stylings. 

It’s a well-balanced mix of the classic look Goofy had in the ‘How To’ shorts of the 40s and 50s and the more modern style of contemporary animation. There are also some homages to older Disney shorts. In How to Wear a Mask, there’s sampled music from 1942’s How to Play Baseball. In Learning to Cook, Goofy is wearing the outfit he wore in 1942’s MIckey’s Birthday Party, and the new short uses the same score as the classic short. In Binge Watching, the use of squash and stretch, one of the basic building blocks of Disney’s classic traditional 2D animation, is essential to making the humor work and the story hold together.  

Can you see Hirschfeld’s influence in the new Goofy shorts? Goldberg himself would say you can see the power of line in all great animation, but specifically in these new cartoons, he wanted a thicker yet crisp line and great flow that would give the character an updated look, but, perhaps not coincidentally, harkens back to the style for which Hirschfeld is so famous.  

ALL HAIL HIRSCHFELD 

Goldberg has long had a fascination with and was highly influenced by the work of caricaturist and illustrator Al Hirschfeld, whose work he’d followed since high school. Hirschfeld was inspiration for many of the character designs in Aladdin, especially Goldberg’s Genie, which was created with flowing lines, based on the curvilinear drawings for which Hirschfeld was known. Animating Genie was a completely different experience from the norm, in that the film’s directors and co-writers Ron Clemens and John Musker created the character with Robin Williams in mind. 

To pitch Robin Williams on doing Aladdin, Goldberg, at the suggestion of Musker and Clements, took some lines from Robin Williams comedy albums and animated Genie to them. One day after he had a few scenes done, Jeffrey Katzenberg walked in with Robin Williams, and they showed him Goldberg’s work. He had animated from the famed Williams routine talking about schizophrenia. He had created a second head for Genie to talk to himself. He made him laugh and it helped persuade Williams to play the character. Much of his scenes were ad-libbed. Goldberg would review his recorded dialogue, then select the best lines and animated the character around them for each scene. 

Musker and Clements loved the Hirschfeld-ian design of Genie, so they decided to have all the roles drawn in the same style. Glenn Keane was animating Aladdin, and Goldberg partnered with all the other animators to create a cohesive look in all the characters, making this unified cast. When Hirschfeld saw Aladdin, he gave the team of artists the ultimate compliment and confirmed they were successful by saying, “It all looks like it was drawn with the same hand.”

For Fantasia 2000, Eric directed and wrote two traditionally animated sequences, “Rhapsody in Blue” and “The Carnival of the Animals”, aided by and his wife Susan, who took on the role of art director.  Rhapsody in Blue, chosen by Goldberg because it’s his favorite piece of classical music, was a complete artistic love letter to both New York and Al Hirschfeld, and the artist actually came onto the short as official artistic consultant. As part of his desire to be true to his hero’s style and aesthetic, Goldberg actually hid Hirschfeld’s daughter Nina’s name, just as the artist himself did in hundreds of drawings, in various locations in the short, like in Duke’s toothpaste tube and Margaret’s collar. 

GOLDBERG DISNEY-FIES HIRSCHFELD FOR SHANGHAI DISNEYLAND

When Shanghai Disneyland was being developed and built, Imagineering wanted to build a Brown Derby or Sardi’s style eatery decorated with Hirschfeld style drawings of Disney characters. Dave Bossart, head of special projects at Disney at the time, looked to Goldberg to create the over 200 drawings. They made a book of all the images called “An Animator’s Gallery: Eric Goldberg Draws the Disney Characters, and displayed some of the original drawings in person at D23 in 2015. If you ever go to Shanghai Disneyland, you can see his finished work at Mickey and Pals Market Cafe. 

Eric Goldberg gives the Hirschfeld treatment to Disney characters for Shanghai DIsneyland’s Mickey and Pals Cafe

Goldberg himself explained what makes Hirschfeld such a remarkable artist. “Hirschfeld’s poses were always very strong, very clear, very readable. And my favorites of his work are the ones that are very simple. I think those were his favorites as well. He used to say, ‘When I don’t have the time I make a complex, fussy drawing and when I do I make a simple one.’ Because it does take some effort to boil things down to their essence and Hirschfeld was a master at that. It’s just amazing.”

Goldberg got to spend time with his hero when they had become genuine friends. The studio had him out to Disney a year after Aladdin was released. Eric and Susan Goldberg got to take Al and his wife Dolly to Disneyland. Over the years he was able to get to know the artist very well personally, and the man didn’t diminish, but rather enhanced the legend. Eric and Susan requested Hirschfeld to allow them to use his style for a new short, and after some contemplation and time, he gave permission to use any and all characters he’d drawn in his career. Ultimately, Hirschfeld worked as artistic consultant on what became Rhapsody in Blue, which was one of the best sequences in Fantasia 2000. 

GOLDBERG, HIRSCHFELD, AND JONES

To allow Goldberg to express his love for the Hirschfeld line, the folks working with Warner Brothers and the Chuck Jones family engaged him to do his treatment on the classic characters of Chuck Jones. They’ve turned them into limited editions signed by Eric Goldberg himself. In each drawing, he has captured not only the characters but the Hirschfeld style. It’s not easy to encapsulate Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, or Marvin Martian and K-9 with such simplicity. We now have all Eric’s Chuck Jones images from the Fine Line series available for purchase on our site.  

ArtInsights: How an art gallery is surviving and Adapting in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic

Many of our great friends who also happen to be clients have been supporting ArtInsights gallery since last March when the Covid Pandemic effectively shut down the country (or it certainly should have..), and it’s not just heartwarming but an honor for that to be the case, but we’ve been asked many times by them, by folks online, and by friends how ArtInsights and how Michael and I are faring in what must be the worst time for small business since The Great Depression. That’s almost 100 years. Bummer for us to be part of this time in the economy, but since we’ve been in small business for over 30 years, we can’t be completely shocked. The short answer is that we’re hanging in there and doing ok up to this point, and that’s not a little because of our loyal clients, old and new. I thought I’d share our experience, and how we’ve found new clients at a time when so few are spending money at brick and mortar small businesses.

First, I’ll say something I’ve said many times to friends and clients. Very very few people get into owning and running an art gallery expecting to make a living at it. Even in the world of animation (and I’d say film art, but there are so few of us out there, there’s nothing to compare us to) nearly all the galleries are owned by people who don’t need to make money. Mostly it’s something people who don’t have to work and come from a trust fund or a family with money do because it seems like fun, or charming…or maybe a place to drink wine and chat? We are not those people. We can’t really afford to make many mistakes, at least not big ones. For example, the one time I misunderstood how advertising on YouTube worked and spent $800 in one week, I barely slept for days. (Lesson learned there!) Our time is our currency, and that’s what we spend instead of a big budget for advertising and marketing. We’ve had to learn how to do things ourselves. That includes what art we offer here in the gallery.

Our focus has been film art and animation for the 25+ years we’ve been in Reston Town Center. We have had to, during that time, shift and change with what we see in the marketplace. Here are a few examples:

We noticed about 20 years ago there was a lot of restored animation art showing up at auction, so we started trying to only represent production art that was in original condition.

When Disney kept switching the companies they had representing their art, stopped selling production art, and started only selling ‘Interpretive Disney Art’, we started focusing on the artists that actually worked for Disney, rather than those randomly chosen for their style. We have amplified Michelle St. Laurent (art directed for Disney production designer at the theme parks) , Tim Rogerson (graphic designer for the theme parks), Toby Bluth (art director for The Tigger Movie, etc), Lorelay Bove (visual development/concept artist at Pixar), Peter and Harrison Ellenshaw (Oscar winning matte background painter and special effects artists, respectively), James Coleman (background artist for many Disney films, including The Little Mermaid) Jim Salvati (concept artists for multiple studios), Bill Silvers (concept and background artist for multiple studios, worked on Lilo & Stitch & a bunch of other Disney movies) and John Alvin (movie poster artist who worked on over 250 posters, created Lion King, The Little Mermaid, & Aladdin posters for Disney).

When artists who had spent a large part of their careers at Hanna Barbera and Warner Brothers started selling their art, we started commissioning art from them, (other galleries followed suit, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and more commissions mean more money for these wonderful people!), so we have exclusive art by Bob Singer and Willie Ito.

When artists went out on their own or approached Disney directly to sell their art, we found ways to amplify and represent their work, leading to exclusive art from them, so we have art from Bill Silvers you can only get at ArtInsights.

When auctions started selling more and more animation art that had been restored, we carried less animation art, but focused on more exclusive, rarer images like key set-ups and concept art.

We saw that Warner Brothers, Disney, and Hanna Barbera limited editions were being overproduced, so we limited our inventory of them, guiding our clients to original art and only the most iconic limited editions, and only when the price was right.

We’ve had a good internet presence since the beginning of our business. Let me tell you, that’s been interesting. Anyone who had to have a good website that represents original art but couldn’t spend $10,000 on creating it had quite a time in the 1990s. What that meant was doing a lot of blogging and a lot of updating ourselves. We’ve also had about 10 completely new websites over the years. That got us used to adding inventory and writing about animation and film art. You know that website Marvel designed as a cool way to center the story in 1994? Our website looked almost exactly like that:

This website made me nostalgic for the ArtInsights website’s 3rd incarnation!

It’s the fact that we always focused as much on our website and selling online as we did in the brick and mortar store that has, in part, saved us during the pandemic. We literally see nearly no one that isn’t a longterm client or ours, or someone who has searched us out online right now in the gallery. (at the moment, I’m quite glad of that, because I don’t want some random, vaguely interested lookie-loo giving me and mine Covid)

We have had to use Facebook, twitter, and Instagram (free, not paid) to get our message out as well. That worked better before they made it impossible for anyone to see posts without paying for them. Occasionally we still make a sale through social media, but it’s not usually from someone just seeing a post. It’s mostly from being part of secret groups. Facebook and all the other social media sites should have offered free advertising and marketing to small businesses during the pandemic. They said they were going to, but I never saw any proof that it actually happened…this has been a problem for small businesses since 2016, when political pages and advertising took over Facebook et al.

So, how have we found ways to be ok through Covid in 2020? It really started with my ability to write (see my work on: TheCredits, and The Alliance of Women Film Journalists) and my concern for other folks who were FREAKING out about their loved ones or themselves dying of a horrible virus. Early in the pandemic, we shut the gallery to in-person visits. I tried to think what I could do to help people feel better, and how I could help artists and wholesale companies I wanted to support. Since I’ve been in the animation and film art business for longer than most folks, I figured I could write about what I knew, and I could interview artists and figures in animation that might distract and entertain. I talked to Bob Singer, (and got exclusive original Hanna Barbera art directly from him) Talked to Don Cameron about his work on Batman: The Animated Series

and got some great pieces (many of which are sold now, but still!) from Batman and Superman, interviewed Disney interpretive artists Tim Rogerson and Michelle St. Laurent about their lives in art and got exclusive images from them for sale (you can see all Tim Rogerson art here and all of Michelle St. Laurent art here. I also found a wonderful collection of vintage Mickey Mouse drawings that I loved and wrote about it. You can find all those drawings HERE.

Tim rocks! I was glad to catch up with him and talk about his life in the time of Covid.

While it’s true I knew a lot I could just write about off the cuff, in the process of all this blogging, I found out all sorts of things. I learned about the Willow movie production when I was researching for the John Alvin Willow art blog. I might have learned more about A Charlie Brown Christmas than I ever thought I’d know for my Christmas Peanuts animation art blog and (actually one of my favorites in terms of research, a REAL black hole in the best way!) was when I dove into the story behind Snoopy and his connection to NASA for the release of the new ‘Mission Control: We’re Ready for Our Assignment’ Peanuts limited edition.

As to my dear friend John Alvin, I wrote about his work on Hook, in part because *MIRACLE of MIRACLES!* Andrea Alvin found 5 copies of a production used image from the film used for the opening sequence from the film. We sold them all as a result of the blog, but you can always check with me to see if she finds any others.

The wonderful art created by John Alvin for the opening sequence of Hook.

Andrea Alvin’s closets are like the door to Narnia. She keeps finding things and calling me with exciting news. I keep hoping she’ll discover more production art used for Blade Runner or some such, but that’s just a dream I have (that also includes electric sheep..).

I also wrote a blog about the art from Cats Don’t Dance, from which we found two original backgrounds. John Alvin did the movie poster for that movie. I had no idea there was such an obsessive fanbase for art and information from Cats Don’t Dance. I had never watched it, and once I did, I had a better idea why so many people love it, especially dancers.

I had a wonderful chat with Ruth Clampett, the daughter of Bob Clampett, about Bob’s tv show Beanie and Cecil, and got some exclusive art from the original cartoon. That blog was a big hit, and we sold most of the art we got from the Clampett estate because of it. I can tell you Beany & Cecil fans are the best! After all these years, they still just love those quirky characters!

Sopwith Productions, the company that sells all the art from the Bill Melendez Studios, is my absolute favorite wholesale company. They are always willing to connect me with animators and artists for interviews, and that makes me, and the Charlie Brown TV animated specials and Peanuts art collectors so happy!

So much wonderful art representing the Peanuts cartoons! Thanks, Sopwith!

It was through them that I got the art from the MetLife commercial featuring all the Peanuts characters together as an orchestra. They are some of the most beautiful cels I’ve ever seen, and since Snoopy is my favorite character and I grew up watching Charlie Brown cartoons, I loved learning about why these cels are so gorgeous. Bill Melendez got paid the same amount for a 15-30 second commercial as he did for making a 30 minute Peanuts cartoon special! I talk about this in my Beethoven’s 250th Birthday Peanuts animation blog.

Early on, I included something called the “COVID COMFORT CARTOON” or “COVID COMFORT CLIP” at the end of every blog, which was just a clip relating to a cartoon or film mentioned. It was fun finding something appropriate. I think my favorite was the one with the Hex Girls, a fictitious band first featured in Scooby Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost. In the late 90s when the band was introduced, it became a cult favorite for kids first exploring their sexuality, because there’s some androgyny and queerness afoot there, something you didn’t see in cartoons at the time.

I found that sometimes the links I added went bad, depending on who uploaded it in the first place, so I got choosier and more specific about what I included in the blogs. I have also always included some Covid Comfort in my newsletters, which started out weekly at the beginning of the pandemic, and have been shifted to bi-weekly (because the blogs take so much time to research and because I’m often adding a lot of art to the site before each newsletter…)

One of the other things ArtInsights has been doing through the Covid pandemic is incorporating charity connections in much of our sales. Early on, we gave 10% of all sales of anything hero-related to charities helping get PPE and safety support for frontline workers. We also started donating 10% of all sales of Harry Potter art to the National Center for Transgender Equality. That commitment will continue until we have sold all Harry Potter art currently in stock, and we won’t be ordering any more after we sell them through. We feel too strongly about supporting our trans brothers and sister to put any more money into JKR’s pockets, even as we still hold Harry Potter dear to our hearts and always will.

I’m sure you have seen our posts and promos about a partnership with our friend Julie, who makes masks over on Etsy at Joyful Creations by J. For folks who have been able to come by the gallery, you could and still can buy masks at the store, but all the money goes to Julie, who worked at a job that was too dangerous for her, being in a high-risk family, and now makes masks and creates clothing through her Etsy store. We started doing that in March, back when more folks were mask-adverse. (Gratefully most sane folks are wearing them now.)

All these blogs, COVID COMFORT CARTOONS, working with Julie, connecting with charity, having exclusive art you can only get through my gallery and posting about all of it on social media led way way more folks to find us online, which led to more clients and more sales.

Is it more work? Yes. It is way more work. Michael and I have never been afraid of work. If you’re someone who is in small business, especially with ArtInsights, an art gallery that has to make enough money to support a family, you can’t be afraid of hard work and long hours. But I also believe we have been succeeding because I started out the pandemic just wanting to soothe and comfort our friends and clients and anyone else who might find us. I also wanted the gallery’s success to extend to artists and companies we know and love. Never let anyone tell you that doing well and doing good can’t go hand in hand.

What do I think 2021 will bring to ArtInsights? I honestly have no idea. I hope I can find more interesting things to write about that relate to the art we sell and the artists we love and want to support. I know we’ll have a very low profile in terms of the physical gallery until the current virulent and terrifying wave of the virus is quelled. We’ll be focused online, where we can all gather and interact safely. Does it sting a little we are paying so much to be in a nice center when we aren’t many clients? Maybe a bit. But its also lovely that we are in an outside mall, where shoppers feel safer, and lovelier still that we can control our retail environment so that those who ARE high risk feel safe coming for a physical visit. We will be there, masked up, door open for ventilation, pens and door knobs wiped down, just like I’d want it in my favorite stores.

At ArtInsights, we feel incredibly grateful with all the small businesses closing down that we have, so far, found a way to survive. Hopefully our way will continue to keep us open, safe, and stable until we all see better days. With clients like you, we stand a very good chance.

What can you do to help? You can buy some art from our gallery! One of the ways we’ve stayed viable and on the radar of collectors is that we have so much art you can’t get anywhere else. From Bill Silvers artist proofs, to limited edition and original art by John Alvin, to exclusive collections of original art featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and friends, we have some special pieces that you won’t see anywhere else.

Please go through our website and find some treasures for you family and/or to liven up the living space you’ll be working in and experiencing for the near future. Click here to see our latest acquisitions.

Thanks to all of you, old clients, new clients, potential clients…you are why we are still here and why we will be here in the future. You are the only reason, really. THANKS.

In the tradition of 2020/2021, I’ll end this blog with Covid Comfort Clips: Seems like a great idea to show the trailers to 3 great animated features released this year, all of which deserve at the very least to be nominated for an Oscar:

SOUL. Loved this film, as will every jazz fan and pianist the world over.
OVER THE MOON: Directors Glen Keane and John Kahrs make something beautiful.
WOLFWALKERS: the third in the Irish Folklore Trilogy. Gorgeous, spiritual, and moving.

Movie Poster artist John Alvin and the Art of Steven Spielberg’s Hook!

It is said often online, or really anywhere where people talk movies, that the movie Hook is beloved by anyone who was a kid when it came out in 1991, while adults were less enthused by the film. Here we are, almost 30 years later, and those kids are now adults, and they are loud and proud about their fandom. There are websites and wiki pages and fan Facebook pages, all celebrating Steven Spielberg’s riff or extenuation of the story of Peter Pan. There’s even a famous, award-winning song by the musician Skrillex called ‘Bangarang’, inspired by the famous battle cry uttered by the Lost Boys. 

SHOUTS TO ALL MY LOST BOYS!….

In case you aren’t one of the enthusiastic fans of the movie and don’t remember that quote, here it is:

There are so many interesting aspects of the Hook movie that not everyone knows. 

So it’s particularly cool that we have Hook movie art! We are so excited to have an exclusive piece of movie history direct from the John Alvin estate, that occupies a unique place in movie history, in that it is both a prop and movie campaign art. There is a map, the original of which is 40 x 60, that was used in the making of the teaser trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Hook. I was talking to John Alvin’s wife about the piece, which we have in his archives. She mentioned, off the cuff, that she had all of the printed versions of the map. They were created on special paper, so that at a particular time during the trailer, the map could catch fire. We have partnered with Andrea to sell these great images, which are also 40 x 60. There are only 6 of them available! 

The movie art of an old map created by John Alvin for the Steven Spielberg cult classic Hook.

Here is a video of the trailer that uses John Alvin Hook art nearly the entire time, and switches to live action right after the map goes up in flames:

I spoke to Andrea Alvin about the John Alvin Studios working on Hook, and she relayed a few interesting tidbits fans would love to know. John Alvin was hired, initially, to do a treatment as a potential movie poster. He came up with a design of Wendy’s window, with curtains and Wonderland in the distance. He only did one graphite, and one full-color image that was 20 x 30 inches. Eventually, as most people know, the finish was illustrated by Drew Struzan. However, John Alvin also worked on the advance poster for the film, which was just a single hook. The marketing people had created a large image of the hook used by the captain, but the image looked flat. So they sent a large print of it to John, and he “Alvin-ized” it, adding light flairs and reflected light to give it a more dramatic, compelling look.

John Alvin called what he did “the promise of a great experience”, which included creating curiosity in potential viewers, often by using iconic imagery imbued with light to add a mystical, ethereal quality. He certainly did that with this Hook image!

Around the same time, the studio came to John and asked him to create a map that would include Neverland and part of the real world to be used for the entire teaser trailer, and John came up with the now-famous map, meant to look mysterious and centuries old.

He knew the map had to be big, because to use it for the whole trailer, the camera would have to pan across it. He also knew in the trailer it would be burned through. So he made the 40 x 60 map, and they printed copies on special paper that burns easily.

Explains Andrea Alvin, “We had a layout that we had to follow, for what the actual map would be, for example, where Wonderland would be. We had to follow that, and design it to look like an old map on parchment. A lot of the painting was done in thinned-out acrylics, and sponged on, to make it look like parchment. Then he drew the little locations over the top. He had to find a good compass rose to put on it to make it look old and original, so he did copious research in books, because this was before the internet had everything anyone would ever need, and he finally discovered the perfect image. John hand-lettered all the words on the map, too, which was unusual. Nearly no illustrators would do hand-lettering or design their own for their posters, but John did.”

Both John Alvin and his wife Andrea went to the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, where many other famous artists and directors have gone, including Ralph McQuarrie, Syd Mead, Eyvind Earle, Bob Peak, Drew Struzan, Zack Snyder, and Michael Bay. For those focusing in illustration and fine art, taking hand-lettering classes was mandatory. John Alvin had not only a love but an affinity for it, and you can see the expression of his talent on many of his one-sheets, including Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, E.T., Victor/Victoria, Gremlins, Willow, The Princess Bride, and The Phantom of the Paradise, just to name a few.

John Alvin knew that a great lettering design is integral to a great poster design.

Andrea Alvin continues, “Most movie poster artists hire a lettering artist and then drop it in. You can’t go buy at typeface that looks like that, and it’s essential to the art and the look of the poster.”

As to how John felt about the movie Hook, Andrea says she remembers he loved it, even though many critics panned it. “To John, it was like a musical without the music. John liked fantasy movies and he loved popcorn movies made to be entertainment. The goal wasn’t to make great art, it was to make a great movie that entertained, and that it did.”

It’s interesting that John felt that way. Originally, Spielberg wanted to make the film as a musical. His interest in the story went all the back to his childhood, and in fact he directed a story based on Peter Pan in school when he was only 11 years old. He had worked on various versions of the story in the early 80s, even considering creating a musical.

At the same time, award-winning composer John Williams and lyricist and composer Leslie Bricusse were working on a Broadway play of Hook, and wrote a number of songs, which could have been used for the movie, since Spielberg had hired Williams as the composer for the film score. Ultimately, there were two songs used in Hook, “When You’re Alone”, which went on to be nominated for an Oscar, and “I Don’t Want to Grow Up”.

The script needed some help, and one of the script doctors hired but uncredited for her work was Carrie Fisher. Here she is talking about being a fixer, and being hilarious, as usual.

Since its release, Hook has remained a favorite to many who saw the film as kids, and has expanded its fandom since then, not least because of all the quirky elements to be enjoyed. There are many star cameos, from George Lucas and Carrie Fisher playing a couple kissing on the bridge at the very beginning of the film, to Jimmy Buffett, David Crosby, and Glenn Close playing pirates, Gwyneth Paltrow playing a young Wendy, and Phil Collins playing a police inspector. Check a few of them out here:

Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Bob Hoskins are all in top form, although for Williams, another film he starred in around that time eclipsed this one, and for good reason. It was the following year, in 1992, that Disney’s Aladdin was released, with Williams as the Genie. The other high-profile cast member was a 24-year-old Julia Roberts, who was badly miscast, and also had a horrible year that led to so much tabloid talk, she had to do an interview only weeks before Hook’s release. To capture a female superstar early in her career who is clearly a novice at damage control, you can read the 1991 interview in Entertainment Weekly HERE.

In 2017, Dante Basco, who played fan favorite Lost Boy Rufio, executive produced an unauthorized short film, “Bangarang: The Hook Prequel”, that was funded through Kickstarter. It’s about how Roofus, a bullied Filipino kid, finds his courage and becomes a Lost Boy. This short is a testament to the power of the Hook fandom. The campaign raised nearly $69,000 when the goal was only $30,000! You can watch it here:

For those who are looking for a really rare, exclusive piece of film history, we can’t think of anything better than a map of the ‘known’ and ‘unknown’ world that comes directly from famed movie poster artist John Alvin’s estate. The art will also come with a certificate from Andrea Alvin designating it as one of 6 pieces that belonged to the Alvin family.

WANT IT? FIND IT HERE.

To see Hook, you can go to any major streaming service, or look for listings on your cable schedule. It’s playing repeatedly for free on mine this June, and I’ll be watching it soon. Join me. Maybe we’ll hear each other screaming BANGARANG!

We’ll end by posting part of my interview with John 11 years ago at my gallery. You’ll notice as usual, he’s wearing his iconic red shoes!

John Alvin talks about his career and some of his favorite films with Leslie at ArtInsights.

Our 1990 The Little Mermaid Original Production Cels Collection

Over the years, and there have been many, (we’ve been selling animation since 1988), we’ve sold a LOT of Little Mermaid production cels. So many, in fact, that there are lots of cels that go at auction (and for a pretty penny) that are framed in what I call “The Little Mermaid frame”, which sadly doesn’t exist anymore, but was a gold frame with waves on it. All of those Little Mermaid cels came from ArtInsights. There’s also that telltale sign of our sticker on the back of the art.

Yes, WE HAVE THIS GORGEOUS ARIEL PRODUCTION CEL FOR SALE!

Back in 1990, during the first release of Little Mermaid original production cels, I sold something from nearly every scene from the movie. Back then, there really weren’t very many animation galleries. We shared the bounty with lots of Disney stores, who at the time also sold art. I remember some of my favorite scenes, and thinking they’d be very popular over time. Also, I remember selling as many as 30-50 cels to one collector. In fact, there are some pretty impressive Little Mermaid collections out there that we’ve built! There was one collector, (a guy, lots of avid Little Mermaid collectors are men!) who wanted to buy a cel from every scene in the film, including what I called “Ariel Flashdance”, which is where Ariel comes up for air, and she is in shadow:

I sold this! #ArielFlashdance

Over the years, I’ve sold many hundreds of cels from

, but it has gotten harder and harder to find good images, especially ones with seals.

This reminds me of the story of when I went to a Sotheby’s Auction, and went into a hotel room beforehand where someone in the business was selling Little Mermaid production cels out of a box, where there were hundreds of stolen cels with no seals. That guy got busted a few years later…

There is only one scene I’ve never been able to find or sell: The scene with Ariel and the seahorses. I’m still on the hunt for some of those…

Anyway, one of my longtime clients came to me recently wanting to sell some of their collection. I had sold some wonderful images to this friend who lived in Europe. There they lived for many years, and now this friend was wanting to do something else with the money they would bring. YAY!

Included in the collection were images from “Kiss the Girl”, and the scene where Ariel is picking at an underwater flower…. “He loves me, he loves me not”, a scene from which they made a limited edition! There are some charming images of Ariel and her underwater friends, the first time she “talks” to Eric, and one wonderful cel from “A Part of Your World”.

A collector friend of mine showed me that this image was actually used for the back of the sheet music of Kiss the Girl. How cool is that?

You know you want this Ariel and Eric production cel!

All these images come with seals and certificates, of course. For those wanting to bring them home, they’ll be coming from one loving household to another.

One of the most wonderful things that I guessed a lot time ago that actually came to pass is that the last hand-painted Disney animated film, The Little Mermaid, was not only historic in that way, but also became a huge hit with collectors, and is really one of the most collectible movies in all of Disney.

Spotlight on Studio Art: Star Wars Visions Deluxe book and limited editions

Star Wars: Visions was released on its own, and in a deluxe edition with five hand-signed giclees.  They include art by Alex Ross, Moebius, Donato Giancola, Daniel Greene, and Jamie Wyeth. The deluxe book also includes 40 extra pages focusing on the artists’ processes, complete with sketches.  There were only 500 created.

It sold out immediately, as collectibles of this nature do.  We got as many as we could at the time, and of course didn’t open them, that being the privilege of the collector who takes them home.  So we never got a close look at the prints. The one copy we still have sits unopened. 

The images were curated by J.W. Rinzler, who was the executive editor at Lucasfilm. He is also responsible for New York Times bestsellers The Making of Star Wars and The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones.

George Lucas decided, as an avid collector of both the art used to make and promote the Star Wars films, and fine and illustration art, to go out and find artists he loved in the fine art world to create images relating to his films.  This is a great idea, obviously, but here’s a little-known aspect of that project.  When an artist creates art relating to Star Wars, they have to, as part of the contract, offer their art to George Lucas as the lowest market price.  That is to say, if the artists involved usually work through galleries or agents, Lucas would have to have the right of first refusal for the art before even the galleries or agents had access.  This seems perfectly fair for those who usually create art for the franchise.  What about those outside the usual Star Wars Universe?

A number or artists used in the book are very famous in the world of contemporary fine art.  What a genius move for an art collector to get the lowest possible price for art by these successful artists, while getting them to create unique commissions for him.  Win-win? Yes!  Indeed there were only a few artists that didn’t sell their pieces for the book to Lucas.  As someone who is artist-centric, i’m going to say that’s a solid win for artists everywhere.  Now that, years after the release of the book and his acquisition of the art created for it, we know the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built in Los Angeles, we can look forward to seeing at least some of these originals in person on its walls.

The beauty of this book, ultimately, is the continuing belief by Lucas, and his support of it through the creation is this art, that there should be no distinction between “high” art and “popular” art.  This is a notion I’ve been standing behind for the 25 years i’ve had a gallery dedicated to film, animation, and contemporary art.  I look forward to seeing the many paintings he bought from John Alvin, as well as his huge collection of art by Norman Rockwell.

AS TO THE BOOK:

Since the release of the book, Moebius has passed away, so getting a signed limited edition by him as part of the set is reason enough to buy the deluxe edition.  We’ve not really been promoting that we have a copy, because we certainly don’t want someone to buy the book and break up the limited editions and sell them separately.  This is one of those collectibles best reserved for a collector who will know how nice and right it is to keep them together!

There’s a great video about the collection of the artists HERE.

ArtInsights Gallery is Building, Growing and Expanding!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leslie and Michael

ArtInsights Gallery of Film and Contemporary Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

jimihendrix_jimsalvati_art

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

arnoldpalmer_jimsalvati

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

Kate-Bush-Art-Outsider-Tennessee-Loveless-ArtInsights

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

marlene

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

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

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

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

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

goonies-hey-youuu-guys-limited-edition-mark-davies

(The Goonies)

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

ET-Mark-Davies-limited-edition-Ill-be-right-here

(E.T.)

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

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

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

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

Best in the new year,

 

Leslie and Michael

ArtInsights Gallery of Film and Contemporary Art

In Mortal Combat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For all the assortments on Clampett Studio, go HERE.

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

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

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

Shadows: Wonder Woman

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

Liberty and Justice: JLA

All New All Different Avengers

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

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

Fab Four Yellow Submarine Mini Canvas by Alex Ross

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

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

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

Leslie, for ArtInsights

spotlight on jim lee

Batman v Superman – The Official Art of DC: The Art of Jim Lee

THE ART OF JIM LEE

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

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.

 

FOR TOMORROW: 

For Tomorrow

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:

Kissing the Knight

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.”

TRINITY:

Trinity

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 😉

Leslie
ArtInsights

Restoration & Enhancement: Vintage Animation (pt. 2)

bambineedindrestoration

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.

 

 

 

johnalvin-bladerunner

John Alvin Originals at ArtInsights

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,

please click here to go to this link!

Such great press for The Art of John Alvin! read our ArtInsights blog about it…

by clicking here!

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

Here is the new rehung gallery section, a tiny bit of the original art we have of John Alvin, along with his red shoes
Here is the new rehung gallery section, a tiny bit of the original art we have of John Alvin, along with his red shoes

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

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!

Leslie Combemale
ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery