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Epcot International Festival of the Arts – Artist Profile Kent Hammerstrom

One look at Kent Hammerstrom’s paintings and it’s apparent they were created by an animator. Each dynamic painting not only tells a story through its characters, but through the movement of brushstrokes, the soft versus heavy application of paint, and so on. Viewers may feel as if they are watching the painting in action, just as they would on screen.

Hammerstrom does, in fact, come from a background of animation – drawing for Disney films such as Hercules, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame

“I was a character animator for 25 years,” Hammerstrom said. “I also worked on films like Quest for Camelot and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace… now, I’m a full time painter, and I LOVE it!”

Hammerstrom explained how his animation career inspired and supported his current paintings, including his newly-released painting for the 2022 Epcot International Festival of the Arts, “Mickey’s Fountain.”

“The poses and layouts in my paintings wouldn’t be as strong without my animation background,” stated Hammerstrom. “Sometimes, when character animation was finished on a film, I offered to help with the effects animation. That experience helped when painting the water in the “Mickey’s Fountain” painting.”

Disney animation inspired Hammerstrom’s other paintings as well. 

“On one painting, I was able to base it on a scene that I had animated in Hercules. It was of Baby Hercules and Baby Pegasus called ‘Let Sleeping Gods Lie. [T]hose scenes mean so much to me because I based my animation of Baby Hercules on my newborn son, Anders. I studied his movements every night, and inevitably, that’s what I was asked to animate the next day.”

Hammerstrom reflected on his memories from the Festival, as well as his cherished encounters with the “Disney Family.”

“I’m delighted to see the joy in people’s eyes as they look at my work,” Hammerstrom said. “Over the years, I have also been fortunate to meet many of the Disney Family – I’m mainly referring to animators who worked on the original classics who are no longer with us. [W]hen I do a painting based on a film that they did, I feel like I’m working next to them.”

Visit Hammerstrom during his scheduled signing events during the Festival Feb. 18-21 or explore more about his work at www.kentpaints.com.

-Tiera Tanner

Tiera Tanner lives her life spreading pixie dust. Whether creating art in her studio, or raising her two young sons, Tiera is inspired by the magic of Disney, and is always encouraging her husband to plan their next trip to the parks.