Last month, Dara took you behind the scenes with the Disney Hollywood Ink and Paint Team. This month, I’m following up with tradition — Disney Traditions — and celebrating the art of Artisan Jim Shore. I hope that you enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Q: The name of your collection of Disney inspired figures is called Disney Traditions. Can you share with us what Disney Traditions means to you as an artist?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a huge Disney fan. Like everybody in my generation, I grew up with it. Characters like Mickey and Donald, stories like Snow White and Pinocchio, were an important, everyday part of our lives. And it wasn’t just great entertainment. We picked up some pretty important life lessons too. Disney stood for the values we admired most, things like courage, loyalty, friendship. And what’s great is those classic Disney movies and characters are as popular now as they were when I was a kid. As an artist and for me personally, being associated with that kind of creative tradition is an incredible honor.
Q: Reminiscent of folk art, the detailed quilting patterns and scroll designs along with meticulous attention to character detail and color are all indicators of your signature style of art. What path led you to this unique style?
I grew up in a family of quilters, so I guess that part of it sort of comes naturally. But as I grew older I was drawn to the broader traditions of American and European folk art, things like rosemaling, tole painting, Fraktur and what’s called Pennsylvania Dutch. The unique thing about my work is the combination of these different folk art elements. The challenge is pulling everything together into something that makes sense visually. The goal is to keep the eye moving across the entire piece, taking in all the different elements while appreciating the composition as a whole. It’s not as easy as it sounds!
Q: No matter the subject, the color story used for each of your creations can be described as bright and cheerful. How do you select your color combinations?
My grandmother specialized in what’s called Crazy Quilts, which combine apparently random bits of cloth into abstract designs. They were pretty wild and she was pretty out there when it came to color. No combination was off limits to her. I grew up watching her work and I guess I picked up on that mindset. And since I never went to art school that early influence didn’t get bogged down with a lot of formal training. Consequently I use color in a way that most artists would find unconventional. For me it works to put a pink next to an orange next to a purple next to a green. I guess I’m a lot like Grandma that way.
Q: Speaking of favorites, we often see the same character portrayed in different pieces, especially when it comes to your seasonal designs. Do you have a favorite character and what about this character inspires your creativity?
I love Tinker Bell. She’s smart, loyal and very spirited. She’s full of fun but always seems to do the right thing in the end. Plus her size makes her an interesting subject to work with. I have a great time drawing her in scale with stuff around the house like clocks, candy canes and the like.
Q: Those of us in the know have seen you appear on more than one occasion at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. What brings you back and what do you enjoy about the experience?
I’m a grandfather several times over, at a stage of life where fairy tales and pirate adventures aren’t supposed to mean much. But the Disney Parks bring out the kid in me and I love going back. I’ll be signing at Disneyland November 20-21 and at Walt Disney World December 3-5. It’s a great time to go because everything at the parks is getting ginned up for Christmas. There’s a special energy that time of year.
Q: The pieces you design for your Disney Traditions collection are among our Guest favorites. Can you give us a sneak peek as to what we might see next?
We’ve got a lot of good things in the pipeline. And what’s gratifying for me is that a lot of them have to do with special memories I have with my kids. My daughters watched Aladdin ‘til they memorized every line. We have a new Genie piece coming out and flying carpet with Aladdin and Jasmine that’ll make them happy. And I used to watch the Muppets every Saturday night with the kids, so the new Muppets collection due out this winter is a family favorite. Plus we have a new take on a musical Disney Princess collection and maybe a theme park piece or two to follow up on the Hitchhiking Ghosts piece I did last year. I’m pretty excited about it. I love doing the Disney pieces.
Keep an eye out for next month’s post and see who’s next in the series.
I love Jim Shore’s stuff! I watched him on QVC yesterday and wanted to order one of everything; and I was just at my local Hallmark store checking out some of the pieces I saw on the show.
@Jeffrey – the question was answered above. You can also check Jim Shore’s offical site for the event info as well.
I am a big fan of Jim Shore’s work and love his Disney peices. I hope I can work his signing into my schedule @ WDW in early December.
Will there be any new figures debuted around the time of the signings? Thanks!
Lynda, we will be debuting the Tour Guide Minnie and the Engineer Mickey figures. Along with those pieces we will also be offering many of the new pieces from the Disney Traditions holiday collection. I hear the Tinker Bell ornament set and Tinker Bell with Candy Cane are the pieces to get this year.
Where will Jim be signing at WDW?
Aww I love the Jim Shore Disney Traditions I have so many his pieces in my home and can’t wait to add more to my collection!
I absolutely LOVE Jim Shore’s work! I want to collect practically every Disney piece he makes…can’t wait to see what’s next!
Where will Jim be signing at WDW.
We will be there staying in a DVC Grand Villa with nine of our family members ranging in age from 22 to 94.
Our first trip at Christmas time!!!
Jim Shore will be on hand in Walt Disney World, December 3rd at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace (3pm – 7pm). Then on December 4th at Heritage Manor in Epcot (12pm-2pm & 3pm-5pm). On December 5th his last appearanc for the weekend will take place at Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom from 11am to 2pm. I’m in the process of posting all the information online at http://www.ArtofDisneyParks.com, so you’ll be able to see his upcoming signing times and locations for both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort. Hope this helps.
I have several Jim Shore pieces, including Sleeping Beauty Castle that’s signed. I have a majority of my collection displayed year round, and a few holiday ones that stayed packed away for the most part of the year. If I could afford it, I’d have every piece, but I love what I do have.
Loved this interview! I love all of Jim Shore’s work, especially thie Disney pieces. I have all of the Tinker Bell ones, and I bought the Headless Horseman which I put out every Halloween, as well as a couple of Reindeer which show up at Christmas. The trouble with the Disney Traditions, I can never decide which ones I want (besides Tinker Bell) so I don’t buy any!!!!
I’ve always been curious as to how a Disney Inspired artist gets where they are. Michelle, will post an interview asking and answering that question? It seems that there are as many artist that went to school for formal training as there are artist who are self taught. Thanks.
We have a lot of the Jim Shore pieces. My daughter collects Tinkerbell so she has just about all those pieces. We also have the carousel piece and I’m getting the castle with the prince/princesses. Saw some great pieces at Disneyland when we were there this weekend and forgot to go back and get a couple of them, good thing I’m going back in a couple of weeks. LOL
I sure hope these are on sale at WDW! Would love to add them to my collection!
I have one of his pieces in my home. It is the Tinker Bell naughty and Nice Scroll.. He is amazing!
Hi Michelle, Thank you for a great article! We are interested in knowing if by chance we will see any Disney Cruise Line items by Jim Shore. We LOVE his pieces (Three Hitchhicking Ghosts is one of our favorites to date) of artwork! But we would love maybe the ships or even Captain Mickey (the list can go on and on). Thank you for any information possible 🙂
I love the Jim Shore Disney Traditions! I can’t wait to see what he comes up with for a Disney Park piece.