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Remembering Tyrus Wong

Paying Tribute to a Disney Legend

Alumnus Tyrus Wong, celebrated animator, ceramicist, painter, and kite maker passed away on Friday, December 30, 2016. Wong graduated from Otis College of Art and Design (then the Otis Art Institute) in the 1930s, and while exhibiting artworks around Los Angeles, he began working in the film industry as a production illustrator. It was his evocative concept art for Walt Disney's "Bambi" that would ultimately lead him down the path of becoming one of the most celebrated Chinese American artists of our time.

Wong "...brought a poetic quality to  “Bambi” that has helped it endure as a classic of animation," writes the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times describes him as "...a leading figure in the Modernist movement that flourished in California between the first and second World Wars." Additional accolades from Variety, CNN, USA Today, and more continue with the news of his passing.  

Prolific into his last years, Wong was an exceptional kite maker and a fixture at Otis College's Annual Kite Festival. In 2010, Wong was presented with the Otis Alumni Achievement Award at the Annual Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show and in 2015, "Tyrus", a documentary film on his art and life was released to critical acclaim. His work has been shown at the Museum of Chinese in America in Manhattan, The Walt Disney Family Museum, and at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences among others. Wong’s expressive visual style ensures that he will be an inspiration to contemporary artists for years to come.