And now for something completly different…

A little added extra weight to my workload is this project. I’ve designed a 14 x 200 ft mural that is being completed as a community wide art project on the walls of our neighborhood cinema. The same cinema I might add, where there will be a regional, gala premier of the Stardust movie with all proceeds going to various charities. So right now Pat Jessee, a local arts adminstrator, and her crack team of artists (young and old, short and tall, etc.) are transfering my drawing of various characters out of the past 100 or so years of (mostly) animated films up onto the exterior walls of the Abingdon CineMall. Due to the vagaries of the weather the work is going slower than any of us would want and I’m sure the owner, Steve Weston is wondering when this madness will be complete. But what’s there already is looking very lovely indeed. We WILL have the project completed in time for the movie’s release I’m sure.

Here are my drawings for the left side of the building. I’m presenting them as a series of details, as the actual art is rather too long to show in one piece, executed as it is on many sheets of art board.


Mixing and matching all these characters was a lot of fun. Pat and I about laughed ourselves silly in deciding who to pair with who.


Just think about it, maybe, just maybe Gollum is the bastard offspring of Cruella De Vil and Sher Khan…


There are, quite a few tributes to the work of Hayao Miyazaki, my favorite animation director, in my designs. His film, ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ is perhaps my favorite fantasy movie ever made.


We’ve turned the corner of the building now and the ‘dragon’ will be rippling up and down through handicapped parking signs.


And so we end with our friends from Pixar’s lovely ‘Toy Story’.

I’ll post the whole right side of the building drawing when its done and of course digital shots of the painting in progress and completion.



5 Responses to “And now for something completly different…”

  1. Malcolm says:

    out of interest, was there a copyright issue? artwork looks lovely!

  2. sue says:

    looks lovely and is great fun to discover the characters – Totoro is my favorite, with Spirited Away a close second, but of course there’s Kiki too….my husband works and lives most of the year near Charlottesville, perhaps when i’m visiting, we’ll come down that way to see the completed mural, sounds like it’s a vibrant and active art community there! my daughters and i are all anxious to see stardust as well, and are looking forward to its release (next year, correct?)

  3. Anna says:

    It looks fantastic! I love Fujur! The Neverending Story is -still- up to date one of my most beloved books, one of those which travel with me everywhere I go.
    Superb art, as always, Mr Vess

  4. Richard says:

    That looks great. And My Neighbor Totoro is probably my favorite fantasy movie as well. Followed by several other Studio Ghibli works (Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away…)

  5. segundus says:

    Indeed, Mr. Miyazaki is the most talented cell animators still in the business. Him and Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit). I also quite like Don Bluth’s work too. Totoro was the first Ghibli film I saw – back when I was a teenager. At the time I had no idea what the heck it was, and it was shown on television at an ungodly hour, but it stuck in my mind and it was only until 1999/2000 that I managed to figure out what it was and get the region 1 DVD.

    And here’s irony. During the time I went to the King Kong premiere in New York last December, my wife went off to Japan on business and was due to tour the Ghibli studios. I would have given pretty much anything to have done that (as I could have tagged along apparently), but sadly the tour was cancelled at the last moment. Mind you, I did get to meet Richard Taylor, master of modern creature effects. A small consulation.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.