Home / Tyrus Wong, the illustrator who gave us Bambi celebrated in todays’ Google Doodle

Tyrus Wong, the illustrator who gave us Bambi celebrated in todays’ Google Doodle

Written by Baani Singh, CNN

Google celebrated the 108th anniversary of the birth of noted Chinese-American artist and illustrator Tyrus Wong Thursday by featuring him in the search engine’s daily Google Doodle.

Wong was born in China in 1910 and moved to the United States when he was around eight-years-old.

Though he was a prolific artist and painter, he is best known for working as an animator and illustrator on the 1942 Disney movie “Bambi.” The animated film influenced and shaped global opinion around the medium and led to hit Disney movies “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King.”

Wong’s lush painted backgrounds for “Bambi” were inspired by Song dynasty-era classical Chinese art.

In an interview with the Otis Art Institute, Wong said his love for art was heavily encouraged by his father who would make him practice calligraphy every night using water and newspaper as they could not afford a formal education. At the age of 16, he was offered a scholarship by the institute.

Wong was a lithographer, sketch artist, muralist, calligrapher, ceramist and kite maker. His paintings, typically watercolors splashed together on canvas, hang in numerous museums including the Art Institute of Chicago.

However, despite his reputation today, Wong’s influence on American art was not acknowledged until much later in life — an oversight some observers have put down to racial prejudices within the community at the time.

Wong was fired by Disney following an animators strike in 1941 that forced the staunchly anti-union Walt Disney to recognize worker organizations, and spent most of the rest of his career at Warner Bros.

In 2001 however, Wong was named a Disney Legend for outstanding achievement to animated media. In 2013, Disney released a retrospective “Water to Paper, Paint to Sky,” at the family museum in San Francisco, and two years later Wong was presented the San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) award for lifetime achievement.

Wong passed away in 2016, practicing his art until the day he died.

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