Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom Park

Celebrating The Art Of…Robert Olszewski!

posted on June 7th, 2010 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Have you ever wondered where our Disney artists get their inspiration? How they got started? Or how they go about creating such beautiful masterpieces? Well, wonder no more!

This is the second post in a series that takes you behind the magic by introducing some of our talented Walt Disney Imagineers and Disney inspired artists and paying tribute to them in a special Artist Corner series titled, “The Art Of.”
The Art Of Robert Olszewski
Our second artist in “The Art Of” series is Miniaturist and Sculptor, Robert Olszewski. Over the past decade, Robert has created miniature replicas of popular Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort icons, attractions and buildings including the Main Street, U.S.A. Collection, as well as other figural pieces which include Gallery of Light scenes, Heirloom boxes and the ever-popular Pokitpal series.

Michelle: You’re very well known for your ability to create miniature masterpieces. What influences or inspirations do you draw on both Disney and non-Disney to create these amazing pieces?

Olszewski: The inspirations I draw upon for my work today began in high school and college art classes. My view of art was solidly planted in painting, until in 1977, I carved a small figurine for my daughter’s dollhouse. This one figure changed everything. I had painted on canvas for 15 years and this tiny sculpture, at 1 inch tall, began my career as a sculptor. In 1979, while under contract, I made it a point to take the time to visit art museums. The museum visits broadened how I looked at all art. So, today, when I begin a new project, I reflect back on the great number of masterpieces I have seen.

The influences I find in Disney work have changed over time. My first Disney commission was in 1987 for the 50th Anniversary of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Years later, I was commissioned to do the Disneyland Resort Main Street U.S.A. program. I was able to have access to the Disney Archives as we did research on the park. At the Disney Archives I was reminded that in order to get just the right look for a film, like “Dumbo;” we all have to study the art of the past.

Today I enjoy walking the Parks and revisiting the Disney films, looking at the details that give you that special feeling that is so hard to describe. So, I’m still learning as I continue to visit museums and as I focus in depth on some new gem of a project I am studying at Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resort.

Michelle: Can you give us a little insight as to what our guests can expect to see in the coming months and share some details on the process and steps it takes to create things in this scale?

Olszewski: This is hard to answer as I am working on the Disneyland Resort Main Street, U.S.A. collection and attraction sculptures, the Walt Disney World Resort Main Street, U.S.A. collection, PokitPals, Heirloom Boxes and Gallery of Light. The truth is…that when I work on projects, of which there are many, the project in my hand is the only and most important project in the world.

The work we do here at the studios is not linear – it doesn’t follow a straight line. However, here is the framework I work in for every project, from PokitPals to the Main Street, U.S.A. buildings & attractions:

Research, sketch, gather input, concept approval, build paper model – yes all projects are built in paper first, sculpted in clay, then submitted for approval, we produce a final sample – coloration, lighting, etc., then submit the final sample for approval, manufacture it, and then launch and market the designs to the collectors.

At all steps, I focus on the feeling of the piece. Details should be left out, if they do not support the feeling. As far as what designs are coming, you and the collectors will have to wait and see. I am at the Disneyland Resort, launching new designs 4 times a year and at Walt Disney World Resort, at least 2 times a year. Stay tuned for more announcements.

Interested in meeting Robert Olszewski? If so, then I have good news for you… the event team has shared that he will be appearing this month, on June 12, 2010 at the Disneyana Shop on Main Street, U.S.A. Be sure to check out www.ArtofDisneyParks.com for times and event details.

Next up in our “The Art Of” series are Disney inspired artists, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily.

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6 Comments

1

Jeff from NJ on June 7th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I love Robert’s work. I own a few of his Gallery of Light scenes, the Tiki heirloom box, and some Haunted Mansion Pokit Pals. He does incredible stuff!

2

Karen on June 7th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

#2 – We own many of Robert’s things – the Alice ride vehicle Pokitpal, the Girl with a Parasol Stretching Room Painting Pokitpal, several of the Gallery of Light boxes, the original Sleeping Beauty Castle he did before the other Main Street pieces, the Alice Tea Party Heirloom box, as well as the Sleeping Beauty Heirloom box.

Robert and his team are always friendly and fun to talk to. I’m hoping that when the Little Mermaid attraction opens at DCA that he will do a Gallery of Light box of the “Kiss the Girl” scene, as I think it lends itself to a Gallery of Light box really well!

Recently, a collectibles store was going out of business and was selling off all of their inventory. I was very surprised to see many of Robert’s miniature pieces that he did before he started working for Disney there. His attention to detail then, as well as now, is incredible!

We really look forward to seeing what he’ll be doing next!!

3

Teresa on June 7th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I absolutely love Robert Olszewski’s work! Absolutely brilliant. I wish we could be in Disneyland for this event.

Robert, I just saw that you’re an IUP alumni too. How cool is that!

4

Natalie on June 7th, 2010 at 6:07 pm

I LOVED the light parade growing up! These are great!

Exactly how does one become a “Disney inspired artist”? I am extremely curious to know this. Would I be able to get an email about it?

5

Mike from IL on June 8th, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I love his stuff too! I had heard that he was going to do the Tree of Life, Spaceship Earth and the Studios Hat in the same style that he did Cinderella Castle. I would LOVE to have those as part of my collection!

I am also hoping he does more Gallery of Light boxes soon. I really enjoy collecting them, especially the park attraction ones from WDW!

6

Eric on June 10th, 2010 at 10:29 am

Robert’s work is unbelievable, we have all, but the last piece, from the Main Street Collection and Attractions of Disneyland. Would Love to start on Walt Disney World, and if He did Icons from other Parks & Resorts I will diffanatly get them. His detail is amazing, and the way each piece is designed to be viewed from all sides is Magical.

6 Comments