Disney Legend Walt Peregoy Exhibition Premiering February 1st at Encino, California

Disney and more Californian readers will be happy to learn that an exhibition of Walt Peregoy paintings will begin at The Chocolate Bar, 17312-A Ventura Blvd, Encino. This exhibit will highlight Walt Peregoy’s more than 70 years of personal works and showcase his unique style and color technique. Walt Peregoy has been acclaimed for his avant-garde style. and in 2008 his dedication, creativity and outstanding contributions to animation for the Walt Disney Company earned him the honor of being named a Disney Legend!

Born in Los Angeles in 1925, Walt Peregoy spent his early childhood on a small island in San Francisco Bay. He was nine years old when he began his formal art training, attending Saturday classes at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley. When he was 12 years old, Peregoy's family returned to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in Chouinard Art Institute's life drawing classes. At age 17, he dropped out of high school and went to work for Disney as an in-betweener. I

n 1942, he joined the Coast Guard, and served for three years. After World War II, he continued his art education, studying at the University de Belles Artes, San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, and with Fernand Leger in Paris.

In 1951, with a young family in tow, Peregoy returned to the United States, and resumed his career with The Walt Disney Studios. Initially, he served as a designer and animator on Peter Pan (1952) and Lady and the Tramp (1955).

Above: Walt Peregoy at the Disney Studios in the 1950's.

Although skilled with these more conventional projects, Peregoy's personal style began to surface. "I always asked myself, how come their idea of realism is completely contradictory to a duck or a mouse or a baboon talking? That's not realism. It's freedom… so, why does a flower have to be put next to an airbrushed rock?"

Above: Walt Peregoy with other Disney Animators in the 1950's. Walt Peregoy is the second from the right, with the white shirt.

Peregoy's unique style meshed well with that of his contemporary, stylist Eyvind Earle, and their work on the Academy Award®-nominated short Paul Bunyan (1958) was a departure for Disney. "My style was unusual for Walt Disney, but he tolerated me," Peregoy says. Although, since he was "tolerated" for 14 years, the artist sheepishly admits, "I had to be doing something right."

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Disney and more: Disney Legend Walt Peregoy Exhibition Premiering February 1st at Encino, California