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Ty Wong Paintings on Display

Ty Wong
Ty Wong standing in front of his illustrations for The Wild Bunch at the opening of the show a couple weeks ago. (Matt Petit/©A.M.P.A.S.)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences recently opened a new show at their LA headquarters called “The Art of the Motion Picture Illustrator.” The show recognizes the work of three illustrators who worked in the art departments of live-action film studios: William B. Major, Harold Michelson and Tyrus Wong.

To animation fans, Wong is best known as the artist who devised the lyrical watercolor art direction of Disney’s Bambi, but this exhibit examines his film career following his brief stint at Disney. For twenty-five years afterwards, Wong worked at Warner Bros. creating storyboards and illustrated key sets for live-action films such as The Sands of Iwo Jima, Calamity Jane, Rebel Without a Cause, Around the World in 80 Days, Auntie Mame, Harper, and The Wild Bunch. The exhibition runs through December 16 and admission is FREE. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday (10am-5pm) and weekends (noon-6pm). The Academy is at 8949 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA.

Ty Wong Painting
Set design painting by Wong for an unidentified Warner Bros. musical

  • Ju-osh

    Mr. Wong just doesn’t seem to know when he’s done enough brilliant stuff to last one lifetime, does he? After retiring from the studios, he went on to design/decorate pottery, and now designs and makes his own kites! And these aren’t just your everyday, ordinary triangle/diamond/square kites, either. He makes kites that look like flocks of birds and swarms of dragonflies and rainbow colored centipedes and, well, look for yourselves:


    FYI: Mr. Wong takes his kites out to the Santa Monica Pier on the last Saturday of every month. He’s very kind and very approachable.

  • He also did a stint in the Disney Studio Model Department in the late 30s. A friend conducted an interview with him on the topic quite awhile ago.

  • Chuck R.

    Another good reason to live in LA —I’d love to tell Mr. Wong in person how much I love his work.
    Eyvind Earl and Mary Blair get more attention on the Brew (understandably), but Ty Wong is my favorite Disney production-artist. I can’t imagine an exhibit without at least one Bambi pastel, but I’m glad he’s getting the exposure. Anyone who doesn’t have John Canemaker’s book Before the Animation Begins should get it immediately. It’s worth it for the Ty Wong work alone.

  • Hank

    Love Ty Wong’s work, but where is an appreciation of the great Tom Codrick?

  • Spock Foolish

    Haven’t you heard that Ty Wongs Don’t Make a Kite? :D

  • Rick

    I have 5 signed pencil sketches (leaves and branches) numbered and dated..12/15/38
    Does anyone have any input on these ?? Are they worth anything ?
    Please let me know… thanks