On Tyrus Wong's 108th anniversary, a Google Doodle pays tribute to the artistic legacy of the creator of Walt Disney's 1942 classic Bambi.
Wong was an animator, calligrapher, muralist and a kite maker along with being the lead illustrator of this much-loved Disney film but was credited as a background artist when Bambi hit the theatres. It was only in 2001 when he was celebrated as a Disney Legend that Wong's name came to the fore. Subsequently, the Walt Disney Family Museum also staged a career retrospective Water to Paper, Paint to Sky.
Born on 25 October, 1910 in Guangdong, China, he immigrated at the age of nine with his father to the United States in search of a better life. Wong's father recognised his artistic inclinations early on but could only afford to provide him water and newspapers to practice his calligraphy. Wong also studied Chinese at the Los Angeles Central Library and subsequently won a scholarship to the Otis Art Institute. Dropping out of high school to pursue art at Otis, he supported himself by working as a janitor and waited tables in Chinatown.
He was hired as an intern at Walt Disney Studios in 1938 to create 'inbetweener' sketches and later went on to work on Bambi, drawing inspiration from the Chinese artists of the Song Dynasty.
The Google Doodle marking his birthday today was created by Sophie Diao who says, "Today’s Doodle was heavily inspired by Tyrus’ paintings of forests which are atmospheric, blurry and magical. They feel like distant memories that have been committed to paper."
Wong also worked in the art department of several films such as The Music Man, Around the World in 80 Days and Rebel Without A Cause. He continued working on his art even as he was well into his 90s and spent much of his time designing kites.
He died in 2017 at the age of 106. During his last years, he could be seen along the beach in Santa Monica, California, on the fourth Saturday of every month, flying kites with his wife and three daughters.
Updated Date: Oct 25, 2018 10:22 AM