The Disney Company was built on selling art. Sure, their films (and music, and theme parks, and video games, and so on) are always designed and optimized for the purpose of entertainment. Sure, they always think about their bottom line and expect to turn a profit by appealing to the masses. And yet, their creations always strive for emotional resonance, or thematic power, or pushing the boundaries of the chosen medium — or some combination. This is a way of saying it is art.
Of course, another way to define “selling art” is to find or commission artwork from other people and sell them in a gallery. Here is some information about Disney’s own take on the concept: Wonderground Gallery.
What is WonderGround Gallery?
WonderGround Gallery is what happens when the art gallery receives the Disney “plussing” treatment. They do not just present any kind of art — they present original paintings (and giclée reproductions), figurines, and other artwork based on Disney characters, properties, and icons. On top of that, the items in the collection are not simply meant to be admired, although window-shopping there can definitely feel rewarding. Anyone with the cash and the passion can buy any piece in the gallery, as well as merchandise based on the pieces.
There are two locations: one in Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney, and one in Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney Springs. Both of them regularly feature high-quality work from a variety of artists, including famous painters from around the globe and up-and-coming enthusiasts from their respective local areas. Disney also regularly sets up events and invites the “artisans” themselves for a meeting, greeting, and, of course, autographing their work.
Popular WonderGround Artists
Many creators from all walks, genres, and movements have been featured at the WonderGround Galleries. Among them is Jerrod Maruyama, who makes cute (or rather, cuter) versions of Disney characters with his signature Sanrio-influenced aesthetic. Perhaps his most well-known and widely-merchandised interpretation is Hipster Mickey and Minnie, a reinvention of the mascots for a new generation.
More omnipresent still are the paintings of the late Thomas Kinkade. His Impressionist landscapes are highly detailed, yet idyllic and even pastoral, especially with his preference for “golden hour” lighting. He uses that style to maximal effect with his portrayals of classic Disney movies, rendered in sweeping scale with key characters and moments. Kinkade’s Disney art is enduringly popular (especially for jigsaw puzzle fans), at least partly because it so strongly evokes nostalgia.
Jeff Granito is one of the featured artisans for October 2019. This artist from the Southern California area has a long-standing and fruitful relationship with Disney. His work can be eclectic in style and influence, ranging from more traditional forms to the 1950s Tiki style to a light and poppy form of Cubism. What remains consistent is a vibrant color palette and a great eye for shape.
Disney Art and Merchandise
Your WDW Store is not exactly an art gallery, but we do provide a diverse collection of beautiful Disney art straight from the WonderGround Gallery. We have hundreds of prints, glicées, postcards, mugs, and so much more. As with the WonderGround Gallery, all of it is available for Disney-loving art patrons.