This Friday, July 15 at 5 p.m., the Art of Disney Parks at Downtown Disney Marketplace will host former Walt Disney Imagineer Maggie Parr, who will showcase her exciting collection of Renaissance-inspired Disney character portraits. The collection is a beautiful art series that honors characters in iconic paintings from a few of the world’s most famous and historic artists.
To help celebrate Maggie’s appearance at Walt Disney World Resort tomorrow, I wanted to reintroduce you to Maggie and her artistic styling that makes her artwork so special and enchanting. Last year, Michelle Harker introduced you to Maggie in her Disney Parks Blog series, ‘Celebrating the Art of…’.
I’ve taken a snippet of Michelle’s interview with Maggie and posted it below, so you can hear from Maggie first hand on what inspired her to create the iconic Disney Renaissance collection and how she chose to depict the characters in the Renaissance style.
Michelle: Maggie, your work continues to provide a sense of enchantment to our guests. Your ability to capture some of our most notable Disney characters in many film-related scenes and scenarios is just part of the charm and magic that makes them so special. Some of your most recognized pieces have actually had a type of “Renaissance” inspiration. What made you choose to depict the characters in that style?
Maggie: I originally got the idea when Imagineering hired me to paint Disney characters in famous artworks for Tokyo DisneySea. I really enjoyed imitating classic paintings, but it was also an interesting challenge to figure out subtleties of the characters: how they’d look in costumes, what expressions they’d have, how they’d look rendered in different mediums and techniques. I realized that Goofy, and all of the characters, have their own psychology. In fact, when I painted them they came alive on the canvas and I began to appreciate and understand the Disney characters in a whole new way while inserting lighthearted American humor into serious European history. Mickey and Minnie are beloved to the American imagination – so it made sense to paint them as “Queen Minnie” and “King Mickey” after famous royal portraits. It feels fun and irreverent to frame Goofy and Donald as English noblemen in the 1700s. And of course, portraying Minnie as the Mona Lisa is the ultimate parody.