The Day Thread of Eyvind Earle (9/20)

Eyvind Earle (April 26, 1916 – July 20, 2000) was an American artist who had his first exhibition at age 13, sold millions of Christmas cards, and whose work hangs in the Met and a variety of other museums. However, he’s probably best known for his design work he did for Walt Disney.

He started working for the Mouse in 1951, already an established fine artist with exhibitions in California, New York, and France even. Once he came in he noticed some works by concept artist and color designer Mary Blair (whom I will write a separate thread about) and he immediately knew he wanted to do the same. His standout work as background painter for the Oscar-winning short Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (1953) got him noticed at the studio, and he started moving up the ranks to production designer, eventually leading up to what I think is his best work: Sleeping Beauty (1959).

The style on its own looks very much unlike the usual Disney style, but from the 40s onwards there was a definite push towards a more modernist design, introduced by Mary Blair among others. Earle took it to a next step, getting inspiration from medieval tapestries which resulted in a “flat” look that appears to be uniquely its own.

The film may not be the most fast-paced thing Disney ever made, but strictly  in terms of design and animation, it’s among the best the studio ever produced. The evocative widescreen backgrounds look absolutely gorgeous, and together with the Tchaikovsky music make the movie unlike anything Walt Disney had made before. And Earle was responsible for designing and painting most of the background art, until the usual creative differences forced him to leave the studios in 1958, a year before the film was even released. His influence, though diminished, remains visible throughout the movie

Sadly it would be the last thing he’d do for the company, but Eyvind Earle kept on working right unitl his death in 2000. He would also be named a Disney Legend in 2015. 

Anyway, here are only a few of the works of art he made:

Happy posting everyone!