Tyrus Wong pastel from thisiscolossal.com
Tyrus Wong (October 25, 1910 - December 30, 2016) was a Chinese-born American artist. He was a painter, muralist, lithographer, designer and kite maker. As a film production illustrator, Wong worked for Disney and Warner Brothers, including as the lead artist on Disney's 1942 film Bambi.
Wong's career ranged from working as a Hallmark greeting card designer, to being a Warner Bros. film production illustrator (1942-1968), including drawing set designs and storyboards for several movies, and an inspirational sketch artist (1938-1941) for Disney. It was his lush pastels that served as inspiration for Bambi (1942) where he was the lead artist of the project. Wong left Disney studios shortly after finishing Bambi as a consequence of the Disney animators' strike. His contribution to Bambi was largely unknown for several decades. Later, he designed popular greeting cards for Hallmark Cards. After retiring in 1968, Wong turned his skills to making colorful kites (usually animals such as pandas, goldfish, or centipedes). He spent his Saturdays flying his creations on the beach just north of the Santa Monica Pier.
Some of his well-known paintings include Self Portrait (late 1920s), Fire (1939), Reclining Nude (1940s), East (1984) and West (1984). He told an interviewer that he was a "lucky artist". Wong was featured in Mark Wexler's 2009 documentary How to Live Forever, where he discussed his daily lifestyle and his view on mortality, and in Pamela Tom's 2015 documentary Tyrus.
Wong died on December 30, 2016. He was 106 years old.
Artist Tyrus Wong and Disney's 'Bambi'
In an excerpt from a video included in his career retrospective at the Museum of Chinese in America, artist Tyrus Wong and others discuss the visual style Mr. Wong brought to Disney's "Bambi." Photo/Video: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
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