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  1. #1

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    Disneyland Visionary - Herb Ryman

    A post in a different thread mentioned a photo versus a painting and how much more he enjoys looking at the former. It got me thinking about conceptual art and how it plays such a huge part of the Disney Empire whether it’s an animated/live action film, theme park design or attractions. The first name that comes to my mind is Herb Ryman. A superb artist, he was a production designer and illustrator for many years at MGM and 20th Century Fox Studios before taking his talents to Disney where he produced much of the concept art for Disneyland that enabled Walt to sell it to the investors. His flair for theatrics and use of color must have certainly impressed and swayed many of the skeptics who thought the idea of a theme park in an obscure place was preposterous.

    I’ve always found his sketches and paintings mesmerizing. A major exhibition of his work was on tour about 15 years ago and made a stop at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, just down the road from the park. His work can readily be seen in the Disney Gallery and a book was published in 2000 titled “A Brush With Disney.”

    Among the thousands of artists who’ve created the Disney Image and were responsible for the "look" of Disneyland over the past 75 years, Mr. Ryman deserves his name to be recognized among that vast pool of mostly anonymous talent. His vision really had a lot to do with the “magic” that we see today.

    Here’s a site where you can see some of his work:

    http://homepage.mac.com/wlwesq/Imagi.../artdland.html

  2. #2

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    You'r absolutely right... Ryman's work is amazing. They had an exhibit in the Disney Gallery dedicated to him a few years back. It was so cool to see some of the original conceptual art for Disneyland.

    The exhibit was very well put-together as well, telling the story of how Walt was planning to pay a visit to the financiers, but didn't have anything concrete to show them. Apparently, Herb put together one of the first concept pieces the weekend before Walt's trip.... and the rest is history. Without Ryman's work, Walt may not have gotten the financing that he needed, and we may never have had a Disneyland!
    "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral"

    --Walt Disney

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