Spotlight On: Custom Vinylmation Artist Pam Murray

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While at the trading event before the Florida Project, we met a custom artist that was garnering a ton of attention. Pam Murray from Orlando, Fl has created some classic Disney characters as well as at least one character that Disney artists will never be allowed to touch.

Destination Vinylmation: You have a very artistic background that began long before Vinylmation were even a thought in Disney’s mind… can you tell us about it?

Pam: I worked for 15 years sculpting and painting pewter Wizards, Dragons and all kinds of Fantasy characters for GALLO PEWTER SCULPTURES Company. Also doing licensed work for them including the TV show BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and a Marvel comics chess set! I did many sculptures and paint ups of model kit prototypes for the Model Kit market, including the comic book character VAMPIRELLA, Agent Mulder from the X Files, Superman, creature from the black lagoon, Christopher Lee Dracula, and many others. So, I am quite familiar with painting on a 3 dimensional surface, which was great background experience to working with the Vinylmation. My husband Doug has written for many comic book companies, including Disney back in the 80’s.

DV: You work at The Art of Disney at Downtown Disney in Orlando and actually get to trade Vinylmation with guests as a Cast Member there. What is that experience like?

Pam: I love having people visit me at downtown Disney at the ART OF DISNEY GALLERY where I have been working as a cast member for over 6 years. Working at the Gallery is a very inspirational place for me to be, as I am surrounded my many great artists who work for the company. I have always been a huge Disney Nerd, admiring not only the art but the man Walt Disney himself. I am very pleased to say that hanging with visiting artists like RANDY NOBLE, DARREN WILSON, DAVID DOSS, and many others has been a great pleasure!

DV: What do you enjoy most about doing custom Vinylmation?

Pam: I like the challenge of doing characters that don’t easily lend themselves to the Mickey shape. This is why I did the Jessica Rabbit design… a very sexy character to put on a pudgy shaped figure!

DV: Tell us about the process of creating one of these great customs.

Pam: I start off by doing little sketches of how I work out the designs. This saves a lot of trial and error on the actual piece. On all of my vinyls, I use the very basic craft acrylic paints you can get at MICHEAL’S and WALMART for 49 to 99 cents or so. I painted directly on the create your own vinyls with white as my base coat. A few thin coats work better than thick coats which really look blobby….. I find a nice solid white makes the colors you add really pop! My vinyls are very colorful. Sometimes you get a vinyl that you have extras on, like the troll… so I repaint them . I pop off the head and arms, and spray a coat of KILLZ paint to cover the graphics.

Make sure you mask off the bulb part of the head and arms as paint build up on those parts will make re assembly very difficult. You may need to carefully sand the pieces after this step to smooth out the surface as the Killz is very thick stuff. Using Krylon will never dry properly and your piece will be sticky forever! I find that finishing them with a painted on matte varnish does the job of protecting and evening out the finish on the vinyl surface. I put gloss varnish on the eyes, lips, and Jessica’s’ glitter on her dress. This prevents the glitter from rubbing off.

DV: The custom that really caught my eye is your 3″ Harry Potter. Tell us about this one.

Pam: This was my most involved one to date. I don’t like the idea of sculpting over the basic shape of the Vinyl, preferring to keep the Mickey framework, but really needed to have the wand, and Glasses. I sculpted the wand using a paper clip as the wire armature , with Apoxie putty as my medium of choice. This stuff is GREAT! It is a 2 part putty that you can thin with water. It gives you about an hour to play around with before it hardens up, and you can sand, dremel and carve it and add to it, just great stuff!

For the glasses, I used a Christmas tree ornament hook you buy in packets of 100 for about 99 cents, and very carefully bent it using very small needle nose pliers, then painted gloss black.

DV: How can people contact you if they are interested in your work?

Pam: People can email me at [email protected] if interested in custom work for trade. I can’t sell them as a Disney Cast Member. I have put some pix of the Harry potter and other customs in my photo book at the Gallery at Downtown Disney to show guests while I am there. I work Monday to Fridays from the afternoon to evenings if anybody wants to chat, when things aren’t too busy.

About the author

Nick LoCicero

Nick LoCicero has almost 20 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on numerous Disney related media projects, most know at WDWNT for WDW News Tonight. He has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1982. After moving to Orlando in the late 90's he became a passholder, developed a fascination with the history of the vacation kingdom and has spent way too much money on park merchandise.

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amy mcadams
amy mcadams

Dear Ms Murray I wanted to write and ask you, Do you have any of the Beauty and the Beast pewter merchandise anymore? Since BATB is almost 30 years old, we have fans coming into our tunnels daily. I am organizing the 30th anniversary convention in Los Angeles, September 22-24th 2017, and i am trying to gather all the artists involved in creating all the BATB art, from paintings to graphic novels to yourself who produced the chess set, goblets, thimbles etc. We have alot of our fans looking to purchase BATB memorabilia, and so i thought i would email… Read more »