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Suspended Animation provides online showcase for the non-Disney art of noted Disney artists

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Suspended Animation provides online showcase for the non-Disney art of noted Disney artists

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If you’re ever lucky enough to get inside of the Sorcerer Mickey building, you then HAVE TO go check out the 1300 corridor.

The Sorcerer Mickey building at the Disney Studios in Burbank
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved 

This is where the personal artwork of Walt Disney Animation Studios staffers is displayed. They literally just wrapped up this year’s Halloween show, which was full of kooky, crazy, creepy paintings.

It’s only when you look at all this art, the wide variety of styles & techniques that are on display here, that you then get a sense of the huge amount of talent that works for WDAS. All those artists and animators who hide their own lights under a bushel so that they can then better serve the project at hand (i.e. whatever animated short or feature Disney currently has in production).

Mind you, until just recently, the only way that you’d ever get to see any of these paintings was if you A) worked for Walt Disney Feature Animation or B) you managed to slip past Security. But all that changed late last month when SuspendedAnimationGallery.com officially threw open its virtual doors.

The Little Engine by George Scribner
"The Little Engine (traveltown)" by George Scribner. Copyright 2009
Suspended Animation Gallery. All images protected by copyright 

Founded by Tenny Chonin, WDAS’s former head of Artist Development, Suspended Animation Gallery looks to replicate the 1300 corridor experience online. Giving animation fans the chance to view – and possibly purchase – the non-Disney artwork of some of your favorite Disney artists.

“This is something that I’ve been thinking about doing for quite a while now,” Chonin said. “I actually bought the domain name three years ago. I wanted to create a showcase for all those talented people that I used to work with at Disney. Giving them the opportunity to reach out, expand the audience for their artwork.”

Tenny’s all about artists expanding their horizons. In the twelve years that she ran WDAS’s Artist Development program, she and a staff of up to 20 offered upwards of 200 courses. Each of them designed to give Disney staffers the chance to add to their skill sets.

Suspended animation gallery founder Tenny Chonin & Ray  Bradbury
Suspended Animation Gallery founder Tenny Chonin (left) and literary legend Ray Bradbury 

“Mind you, we weren’t just offering drawing classes,” Chonin explained. “We had acting and improv classes, and as part of our lunchtime lecture series, we had creative talents such as Ray Bradbury & J.J. Abrams come in and talk about storytelling.”

And it wasn’t only animators who took advantage of these WDAS programs. Tenny recalled how several suits and production manager types decided to use Artist Development as a way to try to spread their wings.

“We actually had Ed Catmull come in and take a few of our sculpture classes,” Chonin continues. “Like everyone else who attended, he didn’t have to bring anything. We supplied all of the necessary materials. All he had to do was walk in the door.”

Dance - a painting by Mauro Maressa
"Dance" by Mauro Maressa. Copyright 2009 Suspended Animation Gallery
All images protected by copyright

Tenny’s trying to bring that same sort of one-stop sensibility to SuspendedAnimationGallery.com. Make it easy for all the talented artists & animators who work at Disney to get their non-Disney artwork out in front of the public.

“I believe passionately in this idea,” Chonin stated. “The walls of my own home are covered with artwork like this. Paintings that I purchased over the years from people that I used to work with at Disney. I genuinely believe that there’s an audience out there that’s hungry for artwork like this. The non-Disney paintings & sculptures that Disney artists produce. I’m just hoping that Suspended Animation Gallery can become the online showcase for this material.”

As of this moment, SuspendedAnimationGallery.com only has the work of 10 Disney staffers on display. But given who decided to get in on the ground floor with Tenny – Mike Gabriel, Lisa Keene, Christopher Greco, Margie Daniels, Dan Platt among others – it appears that this online gallery is off to a really great start.

Star Study 4 by Mike Gabriel
"Star Study 4" by Mike Gabriel. Copyright 2009 Suspended Animation Gallery
All images protected by copyright

Another 10 artists & animators are expected to sign on with Suspended Animation shortly. Which is why you should probably make a point of regularly circling back on this online art gallery. To see what new paintings & sculptures are now on display.

“That’s what we’re trying to do here,” Chonin concluded. “Create something that’s as memorable and dynamic as the 1300 corridor at Feature Animation is.”

Of course, the best part about SuspendedAnimationGallery.com is that you don’t have to sneak past the guards on the Burbank lot in order to see all of these paintings. All you have to do is stop, point & clink.

Crossing Main by Christopher Greco
"Crossing Main" by Christopher Greco.
Copyright 2009 Suspended Animation
Gallery All images protected by copyright

Speaking of which … If you’d like to see some of the sculpture & artwork that Suspended Animation currently has on display / available for purchase, please click on this link.

FYI: If you'd like to meet Ms. Chonin in person, she'll be moderating a roundtable at the first annual CTN Animation Expo. Tenny will be sitting down with industry vets like Eric Goldberg & Chris Williams to discuss how they approached working on some of this year's biggest productions. Hosted by Animation Mentor, this sure-to-be-lively discussion -- entitled "An Animation Career Snapshot" -- will be held in Room 2 at the Burbank Convention Center on Sunday, November 22nd beginning at 12 noon.

For further information on the first CTN Animation Expo, please click on this link.

And speaking of clicking on things ... If you'd like to show your appreciation for all the great stories that you've read at this website over the years ... Well, you can do so by clicking on the banner above before you begin your next Amazon.com shopping spree. That way, JHM gets a teeny tiny chunk of whatever you spend.

Happy Holidays!

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