It was a very special moment. Sure I have been a collector (and browser) of fine Disney collectibles for a few years now, but never has it felt like it did when I walked into the Art of Disney at Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World on Tuesday.
I had heard that Disney recently put a 9″ custom by the artist Annemarie up for sale. It was a completely under the radar release that was not attached to any event WDW was holding (unlike most Disney commissioned customs). This custom was created at the request of Annemarie to Disney to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a cartoon character she loves above all others… Roger Rabbit. So I just had to rush over and check it out.
Over the past few years, Annemarie has become a great friend, not only of Destination Vinylmation, but personally. The funny part is, although I consider her one of my closest friends, we have yet to ever meet face to face. A fact we plan to rectify when I head over to Anaheim for the D23 Expo in August.
This custom is beautiful. Roger Rabbit is painted onto the head of the custom as he and Benny crash through a brick wall. Roger wears his familiar smile as he bounces out of his seat… still grasping the steering wheel in his hands. The bricks break away from the wall in little shaded squares to help give depth and movement to the canvas. They also have a caroony, non linear style to them. Green Dip splatters through the ears and covers the arms.
Benny the Cab is drawn onto the body. His cartoony curves wonderfully match the animated character. Annemarie did a fantastic job capturing the style of the original animated characters and bringing them to life on the nine inch Mickey.
The back features a black silhouette of Roger and Benny as they break through the building. Note the hands up in the air and Roger still sitting in the cab. As opposed to the front position which denotes a period of time that has passed while they traveled through the building.
All artists have their strengths and unique styles. And to a degree, art is in the eye of the beholder. But Annemarie has brought me to a new appreciation of art. I look at things a different way now. And that is a great gift she has given to me. I think all art can be appreciated by different people in different ways, but some art just has something special that makes it aesthetically pleasing to the human eye. Ever read a book about Imagineering the Disney Parks? Nothing is by accident. Everything is planned to elicit a desired emotion in the viewer. That is great art.
When I walked into the Art of Disney and saw Annemarie’s custom displayed for sale among other Vinylmation… among other great pieces of art that adorn the walls of this store… I was proud. Proud of a friend who is talented, hardworking and deserves this recognition. I was happy. Happy because I know what seeing her name on placard in a Disney store next to all these other talented artists means to her. I was also excited. Excited that hopefully that gift she has given to me can now be shared with all the guests who view her work. Hopefully there are many more to come.