Disney Fine Art has just released a lovely new series by Canadian artist Denyse Klette called “The Stardust Collection”, and it felt worth a blog to me. I just added Denise’s work to the site, and I think it’s going to be very popular, especially to people who love stargazing!
Denyse has always wanted to be an artist, and loved art and drawing from a young age. In fact, she remembers copying images out of a Disney “How to Draw” book at the age of 4. By 16, she had her first piece published, a comic strip, in two local Canadian papers.
As a young wife and mother in Toronto, she began studying with a mentor, and they subsequently started a mural company together. Working steadily with that mentor was one of the most influential experiences in terms of developing her talent and learning color theory, something that would be important in her work as a Disney artist. For over 26 years, a 12 foot tall and 30 foot long mural created by her in 1993 could be seen on top of the Broadway Bridge in the city of Saskatoon. Two of the children represented in the mural are inspired by her daughters. That mural was instrumental in getting her commissions to do portraits, many of which are of high profile corporate and political subjects.
Denyse went on to create the art for the Belly Button Buddies series, which ended up including two award-winning books, a cd, and a live show, which became a popular tv show!
She has also done quite a bit of commissioned work, including a hotel and casino that features 39 of her originals and over 450 giclees in their rooms and public spaces. She has created many images that have been licensed and sold into the mainstream. In fact, you may have used one of the adult coloring books or puzzles she created through a licensing deal with Macmillan Publishing.
A major turning point in Denyse’s outlook on life and perspective on art happened during her mom’s treatment for cancer and the building of her new home. There was an accident in which Denyse severed her left thumb (Don’t panic, fans! She uses her right hand to paint!). This instilled a daily reminder not to take life and joy for granted, and to choose joyful subjects when creating art.
Of course the idea of choosing joy leads perfectly to her work with Disney Fine Art. A sculpture she created caught the attention of a gallerist in Florida, who put it on display at the Fine Art Expo at Disney World. Visiting the exhibit inspired her to create her first Disney painting, which she submitted to Disney Fine Art. Only a short time later, she was signing a contract to create official Disney art.
See how her choices brought her full circle from that 4 year old artist, and her first Disney “How to Draw” book to becoming one of the few artists selected as official Disney artists?
There’s this wonderful quote by Joseph Campbell:
“Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”
Denyse Klette shows following your bliss can be a way to your best life. Nowhere is this better exampled than the new Stardust Collection, and you can see all the images by clicking HERE.
I asked Denyse to answer 5 questions about herself & the new series.
5 QUESTIONS WITH DENYSE KLETTE
What inspired the Stardust collection for you and what do you hope collections will be most moved by seeing the work?
I’m one of the official brand creators for Swarovski crystals so when I’m working on originals I use the crystals and embed them into the pieces.
Disney Fine Art came up with the beautiful stardust finish for the reproductions that gives them the magical sparkling touch. They are so so pretty in person! Can you ever have enough sparkles???? I hope that collectors will see my love for the characters and the little story I’m trying to tell in each piece.
“Infinite Possibilities” has multiple layers of meaning, because it sort of speaks to space travel as well as the imagination. Can you talk about that image?
I LOVE this one too! Even though this is a relatively simple design it made me think of several things.
1. There are moments with some friendships where no words ever need to be spoken…its the moment of time that you remember together.
2. The old question of what adventure is out there?
3. I love the peacefulness of this scene too. Just the two of them and the stars. You can practically hear the silence.
4. To me it is a reminder to stop and just take in the beauty of the world we live in.
Good Friends are Like Stars celebrates friendship but also captures the sweetness of the 100 Acre Woods characters. What was the inspiration for this piece?
We are fortunate to live out in the country, so we as a family have sat and just watched the sky. It’s amazing how you never get tired of shooting stars or the magic of the northern lights dancing for us. Even though it is beautiful if you are by yourself, there is something about sharing the magic with friends or family. The stars always remind me that we are so small, and to be thankful for the small things. After all Pooh said “Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart”
What inspires you the most about creating art for Disney and how does it feed you artistically?
I think it’s the freedom that they have given me to create with my style and flare. I love experimenting with new mediums and techniques to make each one unique which definitely feeds me artistically!
The amazing collections of Disney characters and stories is so huge that I am constantly coming up with new ideas! My biggest complaint is I don’t have enough hours in the days! 😁
How does it feel to be the first Canadian official Disney Fine Artist?
I don’t think there are words for how exciting it was to sign with them. 🎉 It truly is a pinnacle in my art career. Like millions of other people, I grew up loving Disney so I try to remind myself every time I walk into my studio how incredibly fortunate and magical it is to create art for them.
See all the Stardust Collection images on our official Denyse Klette artist page, HERE.