Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Don't make the rookie error ..... know your Mary Blair

Let's compare:

it's a small world

Alice in Wonderland

(source: liveauctioneers)
and the Contemporary Resort's Grand Canyon Concourse

(source: omniluxe)

What do you think brings them all together - besides being Disney things?

it's Mary Blair!
(source: Mary Blair Gallery)
For me, Mary Blair is one, from among many many Disney luminaries, as one who is special.  Every time I see her unique work I feel like I am gaining a glimpse of true American culture.

So Mary was an artist - and worked as one of the original animators for Walt. Her strong sense of design was behind many Disney's pieces including Alice - and also:

Peter Pan


and Song of the South

Mary did about a decade in the fifties away from the Disney studio doing private work for advertising and Little Golden Books - her most famous being I Can Fly


Lured back to Disney, Walt put Mary to work not on films, but on building things! 

Mary's murals decorated Tomorrowland 

Go read the whole post on Yesterland - it pays magnificent homage to the murals and tells the story of where the murals are now
The Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot

(source WDW Magic)
And most famously Mary designed it's a small world for the 1964 New York World's Fair to benefit UNICEF. 

I like these attractions at the parks - I feel like I am immersing myself into American art history - not just riding a dumb old Disney thing with a ear worm song. I feel the style is strong and unique and captures a spirit of lightness, movement, naivety - childhood dreams - the way we wish it was. It is isn't about intellectual or inaccessible. This art is congruent in its style, colours, themes and ultimate application. So it works.

My favourite is the Grand Canyon Concourse in the Contemporary Resort 

(source: Mouse Planet)
Over 18,000 hand made tiles, over 90 ft tall and wrapping around the sides of this central elevator column, this magnificent mural captures the spirit and colours of the Grand Canyon.

(source: Burning Settlers Cabin)
I love that I can walk up to and run my hands over the knobbly tiles.

It celebrates the people of the canyon

and the skunks (source: all
There's this cute bear

(source: onmiluxe)
I can't wait to get you there and make you search for the infamous 5 legged goat! 

(of course, if you are coming to the California Grill fireworks dinner you get into this wondrously decorated elevator riser)

This short you tube mini - doco is really charming, full of her art and story, describing how Mary's style emerged.

This partner piece by the young chap includes clips from those final films including Donald and that cute train.

When we are in Orlando, be aware and you'll begin to recognise Mary's influence all over the place.

So how do you find the art of Mary Blair?

(source: Magic of Mary Blair)

If too much Mary is barely enough - with the 50th anniversary of its a small world, Mary Blair displays have been popping up everywhere. Check out:

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