Friday, September 2, 2011

mary blair exhibit at disneyland

scotland concept art for 'it's a small world' 

i've had an affinity for mary blair ever since i stumbled upon her work years ago (as documented here...sheesh, can't believe i've had this blog for 4+ years!)  i've acquired a few books (glad i picked up "the art and flair of mary blair" before it went out of print...), but i've come to realize that her stuff is kind of hard to come by. i know she has some fans out there, but i don't know if she gets all the acknowledgment and credit she deserves.  anyway, about a week before my trip to california, i randomly googled "mary blair exhibit" and was ecstatic to learn they were showing tons of original works at the disneyland gallery (in the past, art galleries in tokyo and san francisco have hosted some of her art).  i was kinda already hoping to spend my birthday at disneyland, and learning this sealed the deal for me. side note: an old grade-school friend of mine hooked us up with FREE disneyland passes. we were blown away, and her gesture helped save us the almost-$200 admission fee. 
the last time i had been to disneyland was 1987. i had no idea if i would feel the magic and excitement that i felt as a 10-year-old, but when the shuttle pulled up to the gate i got a little misty-eyed. when you walk through the front gate, you're thrust into main street, which is lined with shops, restaurants, more shops and more restaurants. the disney gallery was our first stop (and the highlight of the day).  i never imagined i'd get to see those paintings and drawings in person, and i felt the same way i felt when i first saw works by picasso and miro and klee in "real" art galleries...such a different experience than seeing something in a book (or online). it was amazing. there were works from 'alice in wonderland' and 'cinderella', but most of the gallery focused on the concept paintings and drawings from 'it's a small world'. 
'cinderella' sketch. i love the deep turquoise color....
on our way out of the park, we stopped by the gallery's gift shop where i picked up some plates and mugs and ordered some prints from a little kiosk (which was super convenient, since they shipped them to our house and we didn't have to schlep them back to tennessee). basically i spent all the money i would've spent on admission at that shop.  a perfect birthday, for sure.