Friday, October 16, 2009

Freaky Fridays @ The Haunted Mansion: The Tightrope Girl

Here’s the first in a series of 4: the stretch-portraits from the HM elevator, proving that things are not always what they appear to be. This set of photos was taken recently and shows the complete unfurling of the tightrope girl stretch portrait in the Haunted Mansion elevator:

It is probably no surprise that I love seeing the work that other creative types make; Dave Avanzino is one of my favorite Disney artists. The fact that his work is 3D makes it even cooler to me. Even though some of his work comes in open editions, each one still has the look of a one-of-a-kind crafted piece. Yup...I loves his stuff.

Dave was generous enough to offer some inside info on these fantastic pieces that are currently available and about to be released:

"How Jolly Our Christmas Will Be" Limited Edition: 15 + 1 Artist’s Proof Medium: Mixed Media Paper Sculpture including Archival Digital Prints, Mat Board, Hand-Painted Papers, Specialty Papers, Ink and Acrylic Paint

I really enjoy working with the Nightmare characters and especially Jack. In this artwork I made him the centerpiece (his head is the letter "O" in the word "Jolly") as he peeks up over the top of a tombstone. Resting at the bottom are some of the classic Christmas toys created by Jack’s Halloween Town friends. The artwork floats above a purple swirled background and its all framed in a custom spider web mat that I designed and printed especially for this piece.

"Haunted Mansion Icon Letter Shadowbox" This open edition piece is back in stores after production was switched to a new factory overseas. The new versions have some improvements including a removable back for repairs if necessary. The skeleton fingers on the corners of the box are also cast as part of the box now instead of separately so they won't break off. This box was one of my favorites to make since the Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite attractions. I was able to tour it and take reference pictures which was amazing. Unfortunately, later that day I realized that I failed to take a picture of myself in the Mansion. Dang! Despite that, I was very happy with the final product.

"Disneyland HalloweenTime Icon Letter Shadowbox" This is another open edition piece that is back in stores this year and has the new removable back. HalloweenTime at Disneyland has become a big part of the year for fans of the park. I had a lot of fun adapting the Disneyland shadowbox to this seasonal version. Knowing that I would also be creating a Christmas version I decided to keep 3 elements the same in each box: the Disneyland "D", the Mickey Mouse hat and the Matterhorn. They would, of course, have their own distinctive holiday theme but I wanted those icons in all 3 frames.

Thanks Dave! And keep up the great work!.

See more Haunted Mansion (both recent and vintage) photos at my website.


Major Pepperidge said...

I wonder how different Tightrope Girl looks now compared to the old days? Weeks ago you compared the Tombstone Lady, and it was kind of shocking!

TokyoMagic! said...

Seriously Dave, you take THE BEST pics!

I was wondering the same thing as the Major. Any early pics out there of Tightrope Girl? Why would they have changed Marc Davis' original artwork?

Something else that bothers me about the stretching room is that you can see the portaits unrolling. Was it always this way and I just never noticed it until recent years or did there used to be much less slack on the bottom portion of the rolled portraits? It just gives the whole illusion away, you know?

Katella Gate said...

Major...I think that the successive gallery paintings are only meant to be in the style of Mark Davis, not exact copies. I suspect the reason is, for an artist, it's much easier to to re-paint the new canvases in the artist's own manor. If it were a careful copy, the time needed per canvas would go up dramatically, and since you'd need sharp eyes indeed to spot it, the extra time/money isn't justified.

Tokyo... I first noticed the slip joint in the painting frame in the mid 70's and the slackness in the painting canvas in the late 80's.

I suspect the slip joint was always there, but once you know it's there, your eyes just go right to it... the slackness in the canvas is different. They have to replace the paintings periodically because of how the canvas has to flex while going thru the slit in the wall. Disney may have loosened up the tension, meaning the paintings last longer, but they don't hug the wall as closely as they once did.