Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The first 25 years of infinity and beyond

So, without using Google, can you name all twelve movies made by Pixar in the last 25 years? (Hint: Number 12 is "Cars 2".)

The Heritage Museum in Sha Tin is currently featuring artwork from the first eleven hit feature films in its "Pixar: 25 Years of Animation" exhibition. Hong Kong is apparently the first stop on its global tour. A few weeks ago Craig and I attempted to take the children to the museum on a public holiday to see this Pixar exhibition. The queue to enter was far too long, however, so we abandoned the plan. Today we braved the place again, arriving early, and breezed right in to enjoy the exhibition without getting squashed by crowds. 

This was the only room in which we were allowed to take photos. You can see that there were students on a field trip to the museum on the same day as we went.

Keegan especially liked the wheel stools.

Jemilla is pointing to the sign that reads Hong Kong in Chinese.

Over the last 25 years, Pixar has accumulated a gigantic archive of artwork in various mediums. They include paintings, maquettes (small scale models), early animated short films, initial pencil sketches, storyboards, digital art,  and unique media installations made especially for the exhibit by the studio’s technical artists. We had a fantastic time looking through the 400 items on display.

When I hear the name Pixar, this is the picture that first comes to my mind. This model was created in 2010 in plaster, styrene, and metal springs, by Neftali Alvarez.

I loved the digital presentation called “Artscape”. It was a breathtaking, animated display of the art from many of Pixar’s films. Complete with sound effects, it was like a 3D film in which the audience moved in and out of the pastels and paintings. I felt like I was exploring underwater life (Nemo), hurtling through space (Wall E), sprinting across a lake (Incredibles), and gazing down at the rooftops of Paris (Ratatouille). It was stunning and far too life-like for Tirzah who deliberately closed her eyes for most of it.

The children’s favourite display in the exhibition was the Toy Story zoetrope, an early cinematic device that creates the optical illusion of static images in motion. Much like a flipbook, it featured rotating 3D sculptures of characters that seemed to magically come to life before our eyes. The zoetrope uses strobe lights to make Buzz, Woody, Wheezy, and others revolve around the centre, out of which toy soldiers parachute down.

We finished up by taking mandatory photos with the characters outside the exhibition.

Amanda, you asked for more art; well, here you go! All of the following images are courtesy of Pixar Studio and found on the internet, as cameras were not allowed inside the studios. I figured, if you can't enjoy the exhibition for yourself in Hong Kong, at least you can see some of the artwork here!

1. Toy Story 1 (1995)
Cast urethane resin model by Bud Luckey.

This is a storyboard drawn in pencil and ink by Joe Ranft.

2. A Bug's Life (1998)
"The Leaf Bridge" by Tia W. Kratter in acrylic.

This is a Flick Model Packet Drawing, done by Bob Pauley.

3. Toy Story 2 (1999)
This is a mixed media painting of Jessie by Jill Culton.

A sketch by Joe Ranft.

4. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Tia Kratter created "Sullivan Fur Pattern Studies," depicting several possible colours for the fur of Sully.

Door vault by Glenn Kim,in mixed media.

5. Finding Nemo (2003)
This is a pastel painting by Ralph Eggleston  entitled "Sequence Pastel: First day."

This is "Anglerfish," done in oil by Randy Berrett.

6. The Incredibles (2004)
Teddy Newton's collage "The Incredibles Family".

Collage also done by Teddy Newton.

7. Cars (2006)

Bob Pauley created this mixed media image of Lightning McQueen.

Based on Monument Valley in Arizona and Utah, this is "Ornament Valley," done in acrylic by Tia Kratter.

8. Ratatouille (2007)

Digital painting of Remy in the kitchen by Robert Kondo.

This is a rough concept of Remy on the Skylight, created in mixed media by Harley Jessup.

9. WALL·E (2008)
This model was done in plaster with a brass rod by various Pixar artists.

This is the colourscript of a digital painting done by Ralph Eggleston.

10. Up (2009)
This storyboard is a digital painting done by Ronnie del Carmen, Josh Cooley, Rob Gibbs, Justin Hunt, Bill Presing, and Nick Sung.

Sculptures of Russell by Greg Dykstra.

11. Toy Story 3 (2010)
This is "Hamm Ship," done in pencil by Kristian Norelius.

Robert Kondo did this digital painting of the beat board for "End of the Line".

If you made it to the end of this long post, please leave a comment for me about your favourite or least favourite Pixar movie in the last 25 years. Thank you!


  1. That looks like a very cool exhibition but I don't suppose Perth will be on its itinerary! I looked through the list of Pixar movies (wasn't about to strain my brain to think of them) and Wall E is the only one I'm yet see (excl. Cars 2) - Toy Story is still the first and best but Finding Nemo and Cars and Up are definitely up there. Actually, I'd watch just about all of them anytime (except maybe A Bug's Life - wasn't as good as Ants). Craig L.

  2. I'm not sure which Pixar movies I've seen either, but I did like Wall-E. I don't think the girls have seen any yet. Give them time...

  3. My favorite is still MonstersInc. Stay cool while we attempt to stay warm in Michigan!

  4. Wow Renee! That art is fantastic - I would love to take my art class along to see it first hand!

    My favourite Pixar movies would have to be Cars and Monsters Inc. Looking forward to seeing Cars 2 in the holidays. Most anticipated event in the holidays though is definitely flying to Perth to visit YOU!