Water to Paper, Paint to Sky

The Art of Tyrus Wong

Written By: Tyrus Wong, Michael Labrie
Water to Paper, Paint to Sky is the first comprehensive retrospective of America’s oldest living artist Tyrus Wong, whose groundbreaking work on Walt Disney’s classic animation film Bambi influenced a generation of leading animators, including John LasSeter, Pete Docter, and Don Hahn. Tyrus Wong’s ability to evoke powerful feeling in his art with simple gestural compositions continues to inspire each new generation of artists, and his influence can still be seen in movies today.

“Tyrus Wong’s sophistication of expression was a gigantic leap forward for the medium. Where other films were literal…Bambi was expressive and emotional. Tyrus painted feelings, not objects.” — John LasSeter, Academy-Award winning director Born in 1910 in Canton, China, Tyrus Wong immigrated as a young boy to the United States, where he has enjoyed a long, distinguished, and diverse artistic career as a prolific painter, illustrator, calligrapher, lithographer, muralist, designer, Hollywood sketch artist, ceramicist, and kitemaker. Tyrus is legendary for his innovative work on Walt Disney Studio’s classic animation film Bambi, in which his singular vision and evocative, impressionistic concept art caught the eye of Walt Disney himself and influenced the movie’s overall visual style.
Format: Hardbound
Publication Date: 9/24/2013
ISBN: 9781616286828
Pages: 156
Trim Size: 9.5 x 12 x .9

  • About the Author 
  • Press
Tyrus Wong, Author: A founding member of the Los Angeles Oriental Artists Group, Tyrus Wong developed a personal artistic sensibility that joined his formal western art-school training with traditional Asian aesthetics. During the Great Depression, Tyrus participated in the WPA’s Federal Art Project and exhibited his work in a 1932 group exhibition at the Chicago Art Institute that also featured Pablo Picasso. His creativity and drive helped shape the artistic, bohemian life of Los Angeles during the 1930s.From 1942 to 1968, Tyrus worked at Warner Bros as a Production illustrator, drawing Set designs and storyboards for many award-winning live-action feature films, including Rebel Without a Cause, Calamity Jane, Harper, Ice Palace, Around the World in Eighty Days, and The Wild Bunch.On top of his fine art and illustration work for movies, scarves, pottery, and greeting cards, Tyrus channeled his talent into designing and hand-building elaborate multicolored kites, some more than 100 feet long, which he still regularly flies on the beaches of Santa Monica with his friends and family. In 2001, Tyrus was honored as a Disney Legend for his contributions to Bambi, and in 2006, he won an Annie Award (Association Internationale du film d’Animation) for lifelong achievement. There have been solo exhibitions of Tyrus’s work at the Chinese American Museum and the Museum of California Design.