Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Daily Figment 45: Book Review - The Art of Disneyland

daily_figment_02The Art of Disneyland by Jeff Kurtti and Bruce Gordon. 2006, ISBN: 1423104595

Released to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Disneyland, The Art of Disneyland is a visually stunning and historically amazing work. The large scale of the book (almost 11" X 13") forces you to turn the book sideways to enjoy the art. This is by no means an issue. More page space set aside for the artwork is what makes the book truly shine.
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Paintings, concept art, layouts and sketches fill out this impressive volume. What I truly love about The Art of Disneyland is the amazing conceptual art. The book starts with Main St and ends with Tomorrowland. And yes, it does include Mickey's Toontown!

The Imagineering roll call is inspiring: Ken Anderson, Claude Coats, Mary Blair, John Hench, Harper Goff, Marc Davis, Peter Ellenshaw, Sam McKim, Herbert Ryman and so many more. Seeing all of this artwork in one place, by so many different artists, is like having a conversation about what Disneyland might have been. But then we actually know how it turned out. Most of the artwork is so true to what was developed, though. If you have ever spent any time at Disneyland, you will enjoy this book.
I've pulled a couple of the images from the book to share. They speak so much better than I do.


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Main St. USA, Center Street, Sam McKim, 1967
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Main St., USA, Coffee Garden, Unknown Artist, 1957
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Main St. Snow Scene, Unknown Artist, 1978
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Splash Mountain, Dan Goozer, 1987


My favorite section would actually end up as a fist fight between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. The artwork for both sections is astounding and they both have the unique honor of being the two lands at Disneyland to have been re-done, so to speak. In the case of Tomorrowland, it has had several minor revisions, including the big mid-1990's re-do. The famous Mary Blair Tomorrowland murals are also reproduced in the book.

The front endpaper of the book presents the Fun Map of Disneyland done in 1957 by Sam KcKim. The rear endpaper has the Fun Map of Disneyland by Nina Rae Vaughn in 2000. They hug the book; reverently and figuratively.

The Art of Disneyland is filled with beautiful paintings, ride concept sketches and amazing bird's eye views of the various lands. At $49.99 retail, it is rather expensive, but you can find it on Amazon much cheaper. This is a great addition to any Disney Geeks library collection.


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