Her Take on Mondo & Disney’s Never Grow Up Gallery Show

Growing up, we didn’t have much more than family portraits on our walls. Sure, living in Alaska provided us with a few prints here and there of a fireweed framed view of Denali, but we were limited to what was in our backyard. There’d been lithographs from our local stores or the cinema if you were lucky, but kids mostly had bare walls.

Fast forward about 20 years. Most of the films that were released in my childhood are now being depicted by amazing artists such as Joe Dunn, Paul Pope, and Benson Shum (fresher artists to Mondo’s gallery). We’re also welcoming back a few of the tried and true artists such as Laurent Durieux, Tom Whalen, Martin Ansin, and Ken Taylor.

I have been looking forward to what Cyclops Print Works and Mondo Gallery would develop with Disney since the announcement was made. Mondo & Disney’s Nothing’s Impossible gallery in 2014 provided us with amazing prints that still hang in our friends’ homes.

Like entering a theme park, men and women waited in line with excited faces outside 4115 Guadalupe st. You could see the childlike anticipation in their eyes, and hear the laughter in the air as you drove in. Would our own Salty Winters‘ dreams come true; Would there finally be a Robin Hood print? What film did Dan McCarthy do? What about The Love Bug, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, or my father’s favorite, The Journey of Natty Gann? Newer films like, Cars, Tangled, The Princess and The Frog and Meet The Robinsons were hoped for as well.

Josh Holtsclaw’s, A Bug’s Life was a fun and refreshing piece to see. It had been the first DVD we’d watched as a family while growing up, and I was excited to see it depicted. Ken Taylor provided us with a vibrant regular of Big Hero 6 that I marveled at, but the variant that’d been rumored left me bored. Variants are usually something to be sought after, but greyscale metallics don’t always compliment the art.

I couldn’t wait to see Becky Cloonan’s Fantasia print, encompassing a favorite score of mine, “Night on Bald Mountain“. I’d known instantly as I’d seen the image, and my fingers began to remember the notes played in my middle school days. Mary Poppins by Marc Aspinall, looked exactly as you’d want it to if you were a fan of both the book and original film.

Teagan White’s, Fox and The Hound was a classic that shouldn’t be passed on. Meanwhile Jessica Seamans, Pinocchio illustrated the impressive span of Monstro, the infamous whale that slurps up Geppetto while he searches for his little wooden son.

The Little Mermaid done by Nicolas Delort made me feel just as the film does. I couldn’t be distracted by all the whimsy when big bad Ursula was lurking around planning with her beloved Flotsam and Jetsam. I shivered and gave a respectful nod, then moved on. Dark, yet impressive. Another darker print was, The Black Cauldron by Randy Ortiz. I loved how real it seemed. I felt I could sit there for hours to take it all in, and I didn’t want it to stop.

Sleeping Beauty was neat, but it more something you’d see in the theater. I felt like it was too similar. I think Florian Bertmer’s art skills are great, I just didn’t find the print to be stunning. On the other side of the spectrum, I found Brandon Holt’s, Skeleton Dance to be a big favorite for me. It was very detailed but quiet to what it was of, making it seem more like an art print. His previous work for Disney, The Jungle Book (here) was great, but I loved the Dance more.

I had intended to spend a bit of time with Lilo & Stitch. Rosemary Valero-O’Connell did a gorgeous job reminding us that aloha isn’t just a greeting, but a way of living. It’s in our hearts and in our homes. The art surrounding Stitch’s song to Lilo warmed my heart with reminders of how basic living is back home. I could smell the care packages tutu used to send us; home made guava jelly wrapped in the headlines of the Tribune-Herald. It was all the little things that made this piece perfect. A wistful sigh filled me as I moved on.

Other familiar films and prints were enjoyed by many. TheTRON franchise had two separate posters. TRON: Legacy was designed by Craig Drake and TRON by Stan & Vince. Both had an edgy yet stunning design. Having never seen either of the movies, I wanted to after seeing each artists’ work. Aladdin was okay while Matt Taylor’s other piece, The Lion King, displaying Simba atop an animal pyramid, had me humming “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”. The giant playing-card looking Alice In Wonderland by Tom Whalen was visually appealing, though I can’t imagine the cost of framing it. Between the curved corners and knowing that Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum were hiding in the back was very creative, but not efficient.

I was fond of Mark Englert’s, The Wind in The Willows by JC Richard was a great landscape of the same size. The finished product had good action to it, leaving me staring far longer at it than I’d anticipated.

Jonathan Burton did a fine job with, 101 Dalmatians, and I giggled at Roger Radcliffe’s stubborn yet charming character. The variant was more appealing to me than the original. Snow White and The Seven Dwarves crafted by James Flames was cute. I was fond of her “coming to life” on the studio drawing boards. The concept art laying in blue hues while her golden tinge set her apart held pieces of Disney’s magic. Laurent Durieux’s, Bambi was soft and peaceful. The word work was a favorite of mine at the show.

I was glad to see Inner Workings (Benson Shum), Gargoyles (Phantom City Creative), and Gravity Falls (Dave Perillo) proudly representing Disney’s short films and television series. As I continued to browse, I’d recalled how many of their classics I’d watched, and how many people probably forgot about.

In the end, the two take-home prints were, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea created by Martin Ansin and an amazing variant of, The Rescuers by the tried and true, Tom Whalen.

The close runner ups were Lady & The Tramp by Dave Perillo, Rich Kelly’s Robin Hood and finally The Rocketeer by Cesar Moreno. I’d considered McCarthy’s Dumbo, but even as an elephant lover, I couldn’t settle. Additionally, McCarthy does exceptional glow-in-the-dark work (my favorite here), and we were unsure if the variant held any of those pigments.

There was another appearance of The Sword in The Stone, this time fashioned by Oliver Barrett. It was filled with fine work and I enjoyed looking at it, though I still enjoyed Rich Kelly’s from 2014 more.

It may have been because it was a Disney Gallery, or perhaps there’s finally more interest for women and girls, but I was glad to see so many ladies attend. I’d had many girlfriends curious and wanting a slice for themselves, and I regret the distance that puts us at a disadvantage.

There were a lot of pieces the crowd loved, but I really wish Mondo would consider a smaller works gallery. It’s so difficult to want all these timeless posters knowing they’d likely sit in a flat file. After all, I’ve only got so much wall space. I also feel that the bigger the print, the farther you’ve got to stand from it. Smaller prints may actually alleviate people from tripping into photos or view.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to see each artists’ work in person at the show. It’d been a long while (the last Disney Show) since I’d been to a show. I love how even with that time passing, I’d felt welcomed and missed by the crew.

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