In the world of animation, anything is possible. An ordinary pumpkin can be transformed into a splendid carriage. Four mice can become the stallions transporting Cinderella to the ball.
Our children, our grandchildren, we have all experienced the incredible artistry and animation magic of Walt Disney Studios, but what of the illustrators who actually made that possible?
On May 6th, our speaker, Didier Ghez, an author, editor, Disney historian and Disney History blogger with more than thirty books about the Disney Studio and its artists to his credit, entertained a full house with a lecture about exactly that, the artists! Entitled, “They Drew as They Pleased: the Hidden Art of Disney.”
“Hidden” in that many of the talented illustrators working for Disney through the years have gone unsung as simply cogs in the Disney magic. They drew, it was a job, and yet their works are now parts of our collective childhood.
Ghez researches and rediscovers the individuals behind images we all know and love, and some we never saw because they did not make the screen.
Among Ghez’s publications are books titled Disney’s Grand Tour, Disneyland Paris: from Sketch to Reality, and Walt’s People, a series of twenty-two volumes released to date.
In his Hidden Art of Disney book series, the topic of our lecture, Ghez takes things by decade, beginning in the 1930’s when the Walt Disney Studios were formed. He is currently working on the fifth book, “They Drew as They Pleased: the Hidden Art of Disney’s Renaissance Era,” which deals with the 1970s and ’80s.
Ghez grew up in Paris. And when Disney opened a theme park there in the eighties, it more than captivated him. It inspired him towards what’s become a lifetime of research. Today he is considered the leading historian of Walt Disney Studios.
He was honored at the 2018 “Annie Awards” with the International Animated Film Society’s June Foray Award for significant and benevolent impact on the art and industry of animation.
The significance of the joy he literally radiated from the stage during his lecture on 6 May can’t be overstated. The whole house felt childlike and lighthearted as he spoke.
We lined up for a book signing afterwards, and then the sunshine in the Chrysler Museum of Art’s Huber Court during our fundraising luncheon in his honor could have been Disney magic itself!
Thank you, Mr. Ghez, for your inspiring visit.