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Interview: Disney D23 Expo and F&W Festival Artist Tim Rogerson

I’ve been excited about this interview for a few months, and I know that Disney foodies, historians, art-lovers, and fans of all types are going to love it.

Tim Rogerson With a Favorite Piece -- Over the Top

Tim Rogerson With a Favorite Piece -- Over the Top

Tim Rogerson is a Disney artist and the creator of the official artwork for both the Epcot Food & Wine Festival and Disney’s D23 Expo. You’ve seen him on the Disney Food Blog before, back in September, when I was reporting from the F&W Festival. I wanted to write a full post about his work, but figured you’d rather hear it directly from him, if possible!

Introducing…Tim Rogerson!
I think this is one of the best ways to introduce Tim — a super-speed video of him painting the official D23 artwork from the 2009 Expo (very cool music, by the way…):

Tim has been a Disney fan since birth — his father was an Entertainment Director at Walt Disney World and an avid Disney collector. After studying at the Ringling School of Art & Design, Tim worked with Disney, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. His many honors include being named Official Artist of the 2006 Winter Olympics, Official Artist of the Disney D23 Expo, and Official Artist of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival in 2009 and 2010. You can find his work at galleries all around the world, and purchase it through Collectors Editions and Disney Fine Art.

In His Own Words
In the interview, we discussed Tim’s artistic inspiration, his work for Disney, and what’s coming down the pike (including the official artwork for the 2010 Food & Wine Festival!). You can scroll down to the end of the post to find out where to learn more about Tim and see more of his amazing artwork. Enjoy!:

Disney Food Blog: You grew up as a Disney fan in a family of Disney fans; what are some shaping events in your life that led you to success generally as an artist, and particularly as a Disney artist?
Tim Rogerson: When my Father was a director at Disney he worked closely with Disney artist Don “Ducky” Williams, and Williams taught my father how to draw Mickey Mouse. As a child, watching my Dad draw Mickey Mouse was the greatest thing in the world. Nothing could top watching him turn this blank sheet of paper into my most favorite character. And when I was 4 years old, my father came with me to school for parent work day and taught the entire class how to draw Mickey Mouse. Never did it cross my mind that I could do something as cool as draw the mouse, and so for the next 5 minutes I studied my father’s every move. From circles to ovals, point to point, I drew my very first Mickey Mouse, and I was HOOKED!! Not one day has passed without me drawing or painting something. That first drawing was it for me, and I knew from then on that I was going to be a Disney artist.

Titled: Micasso -- from the Disney Fine Art Collection

Titled: Micasso -- from the Disney Fine Art Collection

DFB: What was your inspiration for the 2009 Epcot Food & Wine Festival signature piece?
TR: The official logo for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival came from the idea of a chef traveling around the world collecting the best ingredients and wine each country has to offer. I love the visual of a chef on a bike carrying wine and filling his baskets with food. For the background, I used Epcot’s World Showcase as my subject and created a jigsaw-like puzzle of the different countries. I spent a full day touring around Epcot, just drawing the countries in my sketchbook until I got it just right. All together, it made a great logo that summed up the entire festival in one image.

Official 2009 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Artwork

Official 2009 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Artwork

DFB: Food and Drink seems to play a particular role in your Night Out collection; how does food inspire your work and find its way into your subject matter?
TR: First of all, I love eating food and drinking wine. I enjoy going out with my wife and friends to new restaurants and trying the signature dishes. It’s a time of socializing, catching up, and being free from pressures of life. And during all these occasions, I would draw these moments and scenes in my sketchbook. This sketchbook was more like a diary in a way. Recording images, places I go, and people I see. So later on when it came to deciding what to paint as a fine art collection, I found all my inspiration in those sketchbook drawings.

Titled: Tres Chefs -- From the Night Out Collection

Titled: Tres Chefs -- From the Night Out Collection

DFB: What was the creative process like for your D23 Expo Official Artwork? How long did it take you to finalize that design?
TR: The official art for D23 expo, titled “In the Company of Legends,” was the biggest, most important piece I’d ever done. My basic task was to sum up the entire past, present, and future of the Walt Disney Company into one painting. Not an easy task. And the fact that this painting was going into the archives forever as a piece of Disney history to be seen by pretty much everyone, the pressure was on.

I always want my work to tell a story, and so I decided to tell the story based on Walt Disney’s quote, “…it was all started by a mouse.” Because of the success of Mickey, all these other elements of Disney became possible. So in the middle of the art we have a big classic Mickey, and intertwined with it are all the other characters, films, and elements that make up the past, present, and future of Disney.

It took 100 drawings to get the composition just right and 3 full weeks of painting with no sleep to complete the finished piece.

Titled: In the Company of Legends -- Official D23 Expo Art

Titled: In the Company of Legends -- Official D23 Expo Art

DFB: I’ve read that your work has been inspired by Degas, Klimt, and Picasso; who are some of your favorite up-and-coming contemporary artists?
TR: I’ve been really inspired by all the current concept artists in the animation industry.
There’s a movement happening at Disney/Pixar and other major animation studios where artists are creating new images inspired by 1950′s animation design — where you had artists like Mary Blair. It’s an incredible style and very much resembles the work of Picasso and other cubist artists. To me, these are the contemporary artists to watch out for, and it’s just a matter of time before the world catches on. You’ll see their work in every gallery and museum around the world.

Titled: Winter Olympics 06 -- From the Gaming Collection

Titled: Winter Olympics 06 -- From the Gaming Collection

DFB: You’re currently working on the 2010 Epcot Food & Wine Festival official artwork; can you give us any glimpses of subject matter or what’s inspiring you in that piece?
TR: 2010 will be Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival 15th Anniversary. The hardest part is to create something bigger and better than the previous — especially when you put all your eggs into one basket with the first artwork. But I love a good challenge and focused on the idea of celebrating 15 years. After many drawings and different directions, I finally found the perfect concept. The artwork for 2010 will have eleven chefs, one representing each country, all raising their glasses and shouting, “Cheers, for 15 years!” as they march down the streets of World Showcase. The main chef in front will be carrying a birthday cake with 15 candles. And this piece also has a hidden Mickey.

DFB: What other projects are you excited about currently? Where will we be able to see you and your work in the future?
TR: I’m really excited about my Disney collection, which will take me 7 years to complete, where I’m painting each and every animated feature film in the order of release date, starting with Steamboat Willie and ending with The Princess and the Frog. Each painting consists of every character and important element that tells the story. These complex and elaborate paintings retell those classic stories but in a fresh new modern way.

Titled: Electric Mayhem -- From the Disney Fine Art Collection

Titled: Electric Mayhem -- From the Disney Fine Art Collection

Want To Learn More?
You can learn more about Tim Rogerson through his websites — his blog has the latest information on Tim’s current projects and upcoming appearances, and has links to his collections and bio. (Note: to jump right into his Fine Art representations, click here; this will lead you to Tim’s different collections — even his sketches are brilliant to page through). You can also follow Tim on twitter (@TDRogerson).

Thanks again to Tim for taking the time to speak with us! Be sure to stop by and see him at the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

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  1. Ryan says:

    What a fantastic article and a great interview! Tim seems like such a down to earth guy, and his artwork is amazing. Thank goodness I don’t have any money, or else I’d go broke buying up pieces of his!

  2. AJ says:

    Thanks, Ryan! I feel the same way about the danger of going broke; I have a favorite piece in every one of his collections.

  3. [ this is jerry ] says:

    I’m so glad I picked up one of the 2009 F&W prints; it now hangs prominently in my kitchen and is such an eye-catching and colorful piece. I knew nothing about the artist at the time we bought it, but his style is fantastic.

    Great post as usual, AJ.

  4. AJ says:

    Thanks, Jerry — I’m glad you got one of them as well, and the kitchen is the perfect place for it!

  5. StephenWWFC says:

    What a great artist! He is so down to earth and he makes his work look so easy to replicate and like Ryan said, thank god i got no money.

    Great post Aj really inspired me

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