Disney collectables ever produced have been created by Blaine Gibson, former head of Disneys sculpture department and one of the studios most versatile artists. His work in animation can be seen in such classics as Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty. His work for Disneyland, Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland ranges from the whimsical dancing dolls in "Its a Small World" to the sophisticated Audio-Animatronic figure of Mr. Lincoln, as well as many of the other Chief Executives in the Walt Disney World Hall of Presidents in Florida. Although he officially retired in 1983, Blaine continues to paint and sculpt. At the present time he is putting the finishing touches on a larger than life size bronze statue of Walt Disney.
As I enter Blaine Gibson's studio my first impression is of light. Gibson designed this studio himself, and clean north light fills it from skylights and side windows. The walls are lined with pictures and shelves are filled with sculptures. A marvelous three-foot fiberglass statue of Will Rogers occupies a corner. "This was my design for an Audio Animatronic figure for EPCOTs American Adventure but they decided not to use him. However, they did develop Mark Twain, says Blaine as he points to a similar figure that evolved into a magical moving actor in the same Disney World show. The life-size head of President Bush, John Wayne and other notables are perched on table tops. Blaine lobs James Cagneys vinyl plastic head to me as if it were a basketball. It looks so real that I un- I consciously expect it to be soft. "When I do a head, I dont stop until I see that the character looks alive," he tells me. If there is one unifying factor in all of Blaine Gibsons work it is the unmistakable feeling of vitality.