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New Series – Mickey’s Palette: The Art of Disney 101, An Introduction

You know how they say there are no stupid questions? I agree, with one exception, “Don’t you get bored going to Walt Disney World all the time?” Cue my sweet fake smile that really means “Is this person crazy?” The answer is always a resounding no, followed by a list of all of the incredible experiences I have had because of the Disney Company.

My “Disney Story” is probably very similar to many of those reading this blog. It all began with my parents’ first trip to Walt Disney World for their honeymoon in 1977. Ever since then, the Disney Company has held a special place in my family’s heart.   I made my first pilgrimage to what would become our second home when I was two years old. My parents always tell the story of us making the 20 hour drive down to Florida from New Jersey with me in the backseat keeping everyone up by continuously saying, “Talk me Mommy,” while my Mom tried to get some sleep, so she could switch off driving with my Dad. Twenty years later with over fifty visits to WDW, not much has changed. I still get overly excited planning and then heading down to my home-away-from-home.

Kelly Disney 1994Having been lucky enough to visit so often since I was young, I have become more than just a fan and am also a Disney traditionalist. Here’s a quick run down: My favorite ride is The Great Movie Ride, I am way too excited that the Sorcerer Hat is coming down, I think the best place to watch Wishes is on Main Street, U.S.A (without Starbucks in your hand), if I do not ride the full loop of the monorail at least once on a trip I will actually feel regret, and I miss getting the stamp on your hand before exiting a park if you were planning on park-hopping later on. Despite my “idiosyncrasies,” I truly love just about everything the Disney Company does, and I am open to change when the integrity of the company is maintained (RIP World of Motion and Horizons).

In addition to all of the incredible attractions and places I get to visit each time I travel to WDW, being there always reignites my second passion along with Disney, art. Before I was anything else, I was an artist in my mind. I was convinced I was going to work for Disney as an animator, and when I was little, I had a Disney Encyclopedia that I would sit down with and sketch the characters from, trying to perfect all my favorites. As I got older, I let myself become self-conscious and felt that my art wasn’t good enough. I would still sketch and loved going to museums or just being amongst art in someway, but I did not share this part of my life with anyone other than my family and closest friends. Every time I visited Disney however, this passion was reignited in me, and I would wonder how I could make a living in the art world having never taken an art class in my life.Disney August 2014

Right before heading down to WDW for my most recent trip, I seemed to find my answer when I accepted a full-tuition scholarship to obtain my Masters in Arts Administration from Savannah College of Art and Design. I had previously obtained my Bachelors in Political Science from Monmouth University, but I knew that I would not be happy working in a world that was not filled with creativity, inspiration, and innovation. I will complete my Masters in May of this coming year and hope to work in a museum or gallery in which I can work to expose art to both seasoned art lovers and first time viewers. I love learning about art and how prevalent it is in every day of my life. In my time that is not taken up by school, I work as the public relations coordinator and graphic designer at a specialty fabric boutique, intern at a non-profit arts organization, create specialty craft items to sell on my Etsy store, and stay up-to-date on everything Disney by listening to the weekly WDWRadio podcast.

Through this blog I hope to bring together my two passions, Disney and art, and share some interesting facts with all of you. I want to delve deeper into the art of Disney and look into topics like past and present animators, Disney Fine Art, art in the parks, new mediums and outlets Disney is using to inspire and hire artists, art law issues and much more. I hope that you will enjoy learning a little more about the evolution of art in the Disney company, and if you have never thought of yourself as an “art lover,” don’t be turned off, remember it was all started with a pen, paper, and the creation of Mickey Mouse.

(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)

Kelly is currently obtaining her Masters of Arts in Arts Administration from Savannah College of Art and Design.  She was born into a Disney loving family and has visited Walt Disney World over fifty times, journeyed Disneyland, and cruised on the Disney Magic. During the moments she is not dreaming about her next Disney trip, Kelly is an artist and creative mind with great ambition and spirit. To connect with Kelly please visit www.karmaandkismet.weebly.com.