Who doesn’t remember the first time they saw those stunning visuals of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty? I was lucky enough to be born in 1970, so I saw most Disney movies in the cinema instead of on the home screen. What a difference. Nothing conveys that depth of field —wandering through a deep, dark forest— or fighting a dragon against all odds.
What I didn’t know until recently is that those images are due to the artistic legacy of one man: Eyvind Earle. Thanks to one of the design blogs in my daily feed, I was able to rediscover the art & story of one gifted individual.
The 30-minute, autobiographical video can be a bit dry & overly factual at times, but for a historian like me the images compensate for the lackluster storytelling. What a life! Abducted by his father after divorce, taken to Mexico, learning to paint, dozens of economic ups & downs along with frequent moves from coast to coast. But what struck me the most was that in 1937 at the age of 21, Earle biked across the US in 45 days. He painted on average one watercolor per day & wrote a 10,000 page diary. Dang. My mother —an accomplished artist in her day— tried in vain to teach me to paint in watercolors, so I appreciate Earle’s mastery of the medium.
The serigraphs are my favorite though. His artwork encompassed fractals, vector-like design & ingenious use of color long before any digital equivalent was available. Gorgeous work.
His Christmas cards are classic, & he even designed the logo for Universal Studios that I remember as a kid! Earle passed away in 2000, but everyone can check out some of his immense portfolio on his website.