Inspiration: Mary Blair

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When it comes to inspiring artists, for me, few come close to Mary Blair. You may not have heard Mrs. Blair’s name before, but it is very likely that you have seen lots of her work. She created concept art for many of Disney’s great midcentury animated features, like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and two of my personal favorites, The Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos. Blair also had a hand in designing many Disney attractions, most notably “it’s a small world” for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, now a beloved attraction at Disneyland. Many of today’s great illustrators cite Mary Blair as an influence. This wonderful blog post on Fishink, Mary Blair: Disney’s early inspiration traces Mary’s artistic evolution starting from the early work she did in her twenties, to her work with Disney, as well as her commercial projects. There are a lot of beautiful images to be seen in the post and also some great links. Last year, I was able to view a special exhibit of Mary Blair’s art on display at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. Sadly, the exhibit is no longer there, but there is a great post about it packed with photos on Hello Bardot. I also found a really cool animated tribute video to Mary Blair. It’s fantastic to see so much interest in Mary Blair and her wonderful art.

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Mary Blair Peter Pan mermaid concept art from Peter Brown Studio. Mermaid pin photo is my own.