Los Angeles, CA –
Artistic legend Tyrus Wong, still going strong at the age of 102, made a rare appearance at last week’s CTN Animation Expo in Burbank. Family, friends and peers came together to celebrate his life’s work at a special presentation, Friday, November 16. Moderated by Oscar-nominated producer Don Hahn, the panel included art directors Carol Police and Ian Gooding, background designer Lou Police, art historian Sonia Mak, animation critic and historian Charles Solomon, and documentarian Pamela Tom.
The event marked the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the completion of Tom’s documentary about Wong entitled Tyrus Wong: Brushstrokes in Hollywood. Producer/Director Tom presented a sneak peek at the project, a feature film that has been in the works for over twelve years.
“This film is the first in-depth portrait of Wong’s life and art. His story is inspiring, uplifting, and quintessentially American,” Tom said in a statement.
Wong was born in Canton (now Guangzhou), China in 1910, right before the fall of the Chinese Empire. In 1919, he and his father immigrated to America. They left behind Wong's mother and sister, never to see them again. While living in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, Wong earned a full scholarship at Otis Art Institute and also took advantage of the nearby Los Angeles Central Library, where he studied the art of the Sung Dynasty in his free time. “Wong was one of one of the very first Chinese Americans to make a living in the world of art and film, which was especially notable in an era when minorities were virtually shut out of Hollywood,” explains Tom.
In the course of his vibrant artistic life, Wong’s colorful history includes: exhibiting with Pablo Picasso in 1932; working for FDR’s New Deal-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a muralist; designing greeting cards; and serving as a visual concept artist for hundreds of live-action films including The Wild Bunch, Rebel Without a Cause, Sands of Iwo Jima, and April in Paris. But it is Wong’s work in the field of animation that has intrigued an entire industry for over six decades, originating with his creation of a series of small but evocative sketches that Walt Disney deemed perfect for setting the visual style of Bambi.
“In 2001, Tyrus was named a Disney Legend, and he continues to influence artists, generation after generation,” said Tom, who hopes to garner funding to finish postproduction and release her film Tyrus Wong: Brushstrokes in Hollywood in 2013. “Now is the time to honor Wong’s spirit, humor and humility.”
Source: Brush Strokes In Hollywood