All of the submissions entered in D23 Expo’s Fan Art Contest were so dog-gone good. But it was only 23 of the most creative and interesting that made it to the final display, as part of the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit.
Disney fans were asked to submit two- or three-dimensional art pieces inspired by One Hundred and One Dalmatians, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Patrick Johnson, who paid tribute to the animated film’s iconic villain with “Tiki de Vil,” is this year’s winning artist. “It’s carved out of dense foam,” Patrick explains. “I wanted it to look rough, like it was carved out of wood.” To give the look of wood without the weight, “Tiki de Vil” was carved out of lightweight foam, covered with spray adhesive, and painted with acrylics.
Patrick knew exactly what medium he would use to create the piece, but not the subject. “I’m a puppeteer and a puppet builder,” he says. “We were carving all of these wooden pieces for a show I was working on and I had been using all of this material for months. So I figured I could just use the same technique.”
Patrick had to take a few of his ideas out for a long walk before finally deciding to make Cruella de Vil his subject. “I went through a lot of different ideas,” Patrick says. “And the idea of drawing or painting 101 Dalmatians was very daunting. But then I thought, ‘Well, Cruella de Vil is such a great villain! I should think about focusing on her.’” In one of the more dramatic pieces in the art contest, Patrick’s portrayal of the white-haired vixen stands out from the pack.
Patrick’s description of his piece states, “As the dangerously determined Cruella de Vil chases after the Dalmatians, her eyes become spirals, her teeth are bared, and her hair looks like the mane of a wild beast. In this moment she is transformed into a savage, graphical image not unlike a tiki.” It’s that manic moment that howls to life in the piece. “I love when she’s driving around those curves and she’s about to go off the edge and she goes crazy,” Patrick says. “The animators had a great time with the hair, making it go all nuts and stuff… she’s not even a person at that point. She’s more like a graphic image… I was looking at that image and I thought it looked like a tiki.”
Yes, every dog has its day and at the D23 Expo, so did this Disney artist. “I loved the gallery in 2009,” Patrick adds. “I’ll be submitting as long as you guys are doing competitions.”
By D23′s Billy Stanek