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Artist David Willardson

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A southern California boy, born and raised just down the road from Disneyland, in San Diego. As a matter of fact, he won an "Outstanding Paperboy" contest to visit Disneyland when it first opened in 1954.

A few years later, high school graduation presented another opportunity to go to Disneyland. This time as a cast member. Briefly, he worked on the Skyway ride and even ushered Walt Disney himself into one of the Skyway gondolas. A few weeks later, he transferred to the Matterhorn, due to its reputation for hiring cute female cast members.

After graduation from the Art Center College of Design, he enjoyed a successful career in design and illustration. Then a call from Jeffrey Katzenberg in the mid-80's chartered his course on the ship of Disney once again. Katzenberg had seen an illustration that Willardson had done of a Disney character, and asked if he would be interested in creating an entirely new look for the animated movie poster campaigns that featured the reissued classics and new movies. Then for the next 17 years, Willardson was the artist of choice for those Disney campaigns.

When computer graphics took over much of the former hand illustration work, Willardson decided to make a change and closed his design studio in 2003 to embark on a bold new venture as a Disney fine artist. - David Willardson