Lots of things are happening at the Leatherby Libraries during interterm. One of these is the installation of a new exhibition, “Character References: The Art of the Animation Drawing” and “A New Hope: The Star Wars Art of Robert Bailey.” Presented in partnership with the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, this exhibit celebrates the third anniversary of the founding of the Hilbert Museum and the fourth anniversary of the first collaboration between the Hilbert Collection and the Leatherby Libraries. The first time the Hilbert Collection of California Art was shown on the Chapman campus, before the founding of the Museum, was also in the Leatherby Libraries. This exhibit can be found on the walls of the Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room, a popular study area on the second floor of the library. Several familiar faces are there – an early character sketch of Aladdin and Jasmine, and graphite drawings of Obi-Wan Kenobi, among others. The exhibit will be available to view until Friday, April 5th, 2019.
The exhibit was curated by Mary Platt, Director of the Hilbert Museum, who also provided insightful wall text about each portion of the exhibit. About “A New Hope: The Star Wars Art of Robert Bailey,” she writes: “Robert Bailey is an Artist Fellow with the American Society of Aviation Artists (A.S.A.A.) and a member of the Canadian Aerospace Artists Association. He was born and raised in Staffordshire, England. Bailey attended Longton College of Art and for years was in television as a photographer and show host, then in newspapers as a designer, photographer and writer.
“He has been drawing and painting warplanes since he was four years of age. His detailed World War II aviation battle paintings brought him to the attention of Star Wars creator George Lucas, an avid amateur historian and collector of aerial combat art.
“Lucas introduced the artist to Star Wars, and Lucasfilm asked him to create some artwork based on the movies. Bailey hesitated, as he was unfamiliar with the Star Wars universe at the time, and Lucas told him, ‘It’s like Word War II, but with different-looking ships.’
“Now fully immersed in that universe far, far away, Bailey is a fixture at fan conventions and in galleries with his Star Wars work, as well as his paintings and drawings of Spider-Man, The Avengers, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Indiana Jones, Frozen, Harry Potter and many other popular hits.
“Pieces by the Lucasfilm-, Disney- and Marvel-licensed artist, who now lives in Alberta, Canada, have also been collected by his many admirers in Hollywood, including George Lucas, Stan Lee, William Shatner, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hamilton, David Prowse, Anthony Daniels, and the late Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.”
About the other portion of the exhibit, “Character References: The Art of the Animation Drawing,” Mary Platt writes the following: “In the days of hand-drawn animated films, the animator’s vision was first doodled, drawn and re-drawn in pencil or pen on sheets of paper. (Even today, in the age of digital animation, artists will often envision and draw their characters by hand first, as their concept comes together.) Some drawings were ‘model’ images used as reference guides during the production, showing a particular side of a character or how the character appears in motion. Others were drawn to show artists on the creative team how a scene might be animated, while others may be production art, conceptual art or story sketches. These lively drawings – which were often discarded after (or even as) the film was created – are highly valued today by collectors for their nimble, inventive, impressionistic qualities, and for their sense of an artistic vision captured in the very process of creating.”
A reception will be held to honor this exhibit, and the partnership between Leatherby Libraries and the Hilbert Museum, on Saturday, March 30th, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Please join us in the Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room for a speaker panel, refreshments, and a chance to experience the whole exhibit.