“everything in the forest has its season.” – bambi’s mother


Tyrus Wong, the artist whose works inspired the Disney film Bambi,

has died at home. surrounded by family, at age 106.

A Chinese immigrant, Mr Wong’s vibrant paintings captured Walt Disney’s eye and became the basis of the film’s distinct style. In a statement, the Walt Disney Family Museum said “his influence on the artistic composition of the animated feature Bambi cannot be overstated.”

Mr Wong emigrated to the United States from China as a child, with his father – leaving behind his mother and a sister he would never see again. After studying as an artist, he began working with Disney in 1938 as an “inbetweener”, drawing hundreds of pictures between poses to create the illusion of motion.

When the film studio began pre-production on Bambi, “he went home and painted several pictures of a deer in a forest”, the Disney museum said. “Walt Disney saw that Tyrus was able to produce exquisite artwork that did not necessarily look like the forest – but rather, felt like the forest. Walt’s vision for Bambi and use of Tyrus’ work still influences films today,” it said. Tyrus Wong only worked at Disney for three years, moving to Warner Brothers as a concept artist, designing greeting cards for Hallmark on the side.

_93201151_sjboyers_tyruswclsedcentipede_wdfm_300_1000w             Tyrus Wong holding one of his intricately made bamboo kites on the beach

After retiring, he turned to creating hundreds of elaborate bamboo kites, received many awards in recognition of his work, and became the subject of a documentary about his life, TYRUS. Writing about his death, the documentary’s director said “with his passing, we have lost a brilliant artist, motion picture and animation legend, Chinese American pioneer, and hero. “Tyrus always faced adversity with dignity, courage, and art… he awed us with his talent, charmed us with his boyish humour, and moved us with his humility, generosity, resilience, and big heart.”

“the secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure.

so, you see, they’re always looking ahead to something new and exciting.

the secret is not to look back.”

– norman rockwell

credits: walt disney studios, bbc canada, TYRUS, image copyright: sara jane boyers

52 responses »

  1. Pingback: “everything in the forest has its season.” – bambi’s mother | Actonbooks

  2. I didn’t know any of this about this man who made Bambi so memorable. What an amazing life. I adore the way in which the documentary director describes Tyrus. We all should be remembered in such a positive way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “The secret is not to look back.” A diluted Fountain of Youth perhaps? I enjoy many memories. Hopefully having them come to mind and heart is different than looking back. If not, I probably died several years ago and am the last to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Bambi! And am embarrassed to admit this, but “I didn’t know the artist’s background”….I live right here. I think maybe it’s time I venture outta my bubble and visit the Disney museum. What da ya think? ;)p

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Beth my yesterday comment didn’t come through. Now, you’ll get a muddled and rushed one!
    I love knowing Mr. Tyrus Wong’s story and what a fantastic life he led. Art in all its forms will surely help us all to have enriched lives. His blessed us with the pretty and sweet enchanted artwork. His varied projects will be long remembered. The beautiful kites are such soaring testament and gifts for our eyes. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a lovely post. The circumstances are unfortunate of course. But, as an avid Disney fan, I very much enjoy learning of those who work behind the scenes. The talent, blood, sweat, and tears that go into Disney’s projects are endless.

    Liked by 1 person

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