One of the many things I like about doing the MBIP blog is that I get access to places I probably would never get to see if it wasn’t for the excuse of going there to do a blog post on that particular place. One such example of this is Steve Spain’s basement. Steve, as some of you know is the owner of one of my favorite businesses in Peoria, The Costume Trunk. I stop by there every now and again to do a post and one of them from the past included some information about a book he put out called, The Art of Disney’s ‘Golden Age’ Films and the Animation Process That Brought Them to Life—The Steve Spain Disney Art Collection. Wow, that’s a long title, but the book is really cool. Steve has been collecting pieces of Disney art for years now and this book chronicles his collection and the stories behind some of the art in it.
That’s Steve holding the book in his store (where you can purchase it) and here’s a link to that post. I really enjoyed reading the book and looking at the art in it but I have to be honest after I was done reading it, I put it away with my other books and kind of forgot about it until last week when I saw this post on facecrack:
I didn’t know that Steve had all of his Disney artwork on display at his house! I love looking at people’s collections of different things and I love Walt Disney art and memorabilia, so I called Steve up and asked if I could take some photos of his Disney Room and the art within it and he said I could. And so away we go!
Overview—The Disney Room In The Basement
Here we go down into the basement and there’s Steve in front of some of the framed Disney artwork down here. Steve said he first got into the art of Disney when he worked in local movie theaters around town as a projectionist and really started appreciating the artistry in the films he was showing. He started collecting Disney art in 1985.
Steve told me he has over 150 pieces of original Disney art in this basement collection. He buys from dealers, other collectors and at auctions. The internet has opened up the playing field and has allowed Steve to connect with Disney collectors and fans all over the world. He’s sold his Disney art book all over the U.S. and countries as far-flung as Singapore, Italy, Madrid and Paris. Animation
Animation for film begins with pencil drawings and as you can see, Steve has acquired a lot of these through the years. There’s Snow White, Pinocchio, Mickey Mouse and Pluto, all in the beginning stages of pencil animation art.
Steve also has Disney pencil art of some non-traditional characters including Laurel and Hardy and Groucho Marx. The bottom illustrations show where ink is going to be placed on these pencil drawings.
Animation Backgrounds, Story Boards and Cels
One thing that’s taken for granted by most of us are the intricate backgrounds that Disney put in their films. The top photo is a good example of that and there’s storyboard art for the 1953 short film, Ben and Me. These were drawn by sketch artist Bill Peet.
Here’s some full color animation cels placed on top of backgrounds for the films. These are really cool to see in person, because they have a 3-D effect to them. Steve said he’s offered to have a showing of this art at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, so hopefully they’ll take him up on this offer and you can see them in person too! Till then, well, you’re just going to have to take my word for it!
Walt Disney Autographed Art
Here’s two pieces of art autographed by Walt Disney himself! The top is a presentation piece of art that Walt Disney autographed. Below that is a piece of art from the movie Cinderella that Walt autographed and presented to Wally Boag, who was a regular on the original Mickey Mouse show in the ‘50’s.
Disney Marionettes, Models, Trinkets And Memorabilia
In addition to art, Steve has also collected Disney marionettes, models, dolls and various other memorabilia through the years that’s stored and on display in these cases at the end of the room.
Well now, that’s just plain Goofy! (Sorry, I had to do that!)
Movie Posters And Books
Here’s some framed original movie posters. Steve told me these arrived at theaters folded, and these posters have been backed with cloth to hide the folds. I wish I could do that with my stomach.
Steve also has a nice collection of Disney books and coffee table books on display down here. One of the books features a photo of a piece of art in Steve’s collection hanging on the wall down here. Very cool!
Playing Favorites, Steve’s Most Treasured Piece Of Disney Art
Here’s Steve showing a book with a drawing on the back from the very first Mickey Mouse film, Plane Crazy which came out in 1928.
Steve acquired this piece of original hand-drawn art from the film from a collector in California who had it in his possession for 25 years. Steve said that it’s the finest example of a drawing from Mickey's very first film that he’s ever seen.
From The Basement Of Disney Wall To The (Somewhat) Big Screen
For the last stop of my tour Steve showed me a piece of art from the film, Cinderella. This piece of art has three components to it, the background, the full color animation cel and there’s a third cel that was created just for the doorknob! Disney was that particular to details in their films! Steve put the movie on his TV down here and cued up this scene so I could see it in the movie.
Thanks so much to Steve for letting me see his collection in his Basement of Disney in person! You can see all of this art and read the stories behind them by purchasing his book, The Steve Spain Art Collection at The Costume Trunk on Main Street, right here in Peoria! We’ll see you all tomorrow!