Spotlight On: Custom Vinylmation Artist Brian Shapiro

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We see many custom Vinylmation. Many are Disney related, many are not. But every once in a while a custom that is completely unique comes along that stops me in my tracks. Brian Shapiro recently sent us pictures of one such custom. Take a look.

Destination Vinylmation: How did you come up with the idea for the Menorah?
Brian Shapiro: First off, for those who are unfamiliar, the Menorah is a candelabrum that holds nine candles.  One candle is usually more prominent and is called the shamash, and the remaining eight candles represent each of the eight days of Hanukkah.  Each night of Hanukkah the shamash is lit and then used to light each of the other candles from right to left up to the candle representing that particular night of Hanukkah.

Disney doesn’t release a whole lot of Hanukkah merchandise, so I came up with the idea of doing a Vinylmation menorah a few years ago.  I thought it would be cool to use the figures as candles.  Lighting the candles could be simulated by painting one side of each the heads with just a wick and the other with a flame.  By turning the heads 180 degrees, the candles could appear lit or unlit.  Unfortunately, using nine three-inch figures was not practical.  Once Vinylmation Jr’s came out, the idea became more feasible, but I never got around to it.  This year I was determined to get it done!

DV: Tell us about the features of this design?
Brian Shapiro: The Menorah was fabricated by gluing together assorted wooden shapes I bought at Michael’s Crafts.  Originally I was going to just paint it, but my good friend and fellow Disney collector, Alan Benaquista, suggested that I cover it in gold leaf.  I had never worked with gold leaf before, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.  The gold leaf really gives the Menorah a nice antique appearance.

When I painted the Vinylmation Jr’s I painted the heads to have a flame on one side and a wick on the other, as described before.  I had planned to just paint the bodies solid blue, but then I thought the arms and hands looked like wax dripping on the sides, so I painted these white.  I also painted wax drips along the fronts and backs of the bodies to add to the dripping wax effect.

The photographs show the Menorah as it will appear on day three and day eight.  It was a lot of fun and very rewarding to create, and I appreciate your spotlight of my work!

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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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