Ever since Walt Disney himself turned his name into a company brand back in October of 1923, Disney has become something special, something magical, for millions of people around the world. These fans of Disney have gone above and beyond to prove how much they love the company in ways that may technically be considered obsessive yet are universally accepted as amazing simply because it has to do with Disney. Janet Esteves has over 2,500 collectibles of famous Disney characters. Jon Hale has ridden Radiator Springs Racers over 5,000 times. Finally, Clinton and Lynette Hamblin actually bought the house from the movie Up for $400,000.
The aforementioned Disney fans are the most extreme of the extreme within an entire ocean of them. Now we can add another extreme fan to the elite. Michael Dotson is a painter, and he has taken on the monumental art task of painting every animated Disney frame ever made.
Michael Dotson does not just paint an exact replica of every single Disney frame out there. He is putting his own twist on some of them, utilizing artistic freedom to a varying degree, as reported by the Huffington Post. As a result, Dotson has an archive of paintings that look like they’ve come straight off the film and some that have been stretched, squeezed, and artistically manipulated as if Salvador Dalí himself painted them.
Apparently, Michael Dotson started to paint Disney when he discovered a website featuring almost every frame of every Disney movie ever made, known as Disney Screencaps. The website welcomes users to create artistic masterpieces with the pictures they have on it. Dotson chooses the frames he feels have “room to grow.”
“All the characters are just big flat shapes in all these great colors, set atop beautifully painted backgrounds. You have two completely opposing styles working together in every frame.
“I guess it would be an image that hasn’t fully reached its potential. Like I see some stills that just look perfect already. But a lot were never meant to be looked at for very long, so they didn’t need to be considered in the same way as, say, a painting.”
Probably the paintings Michael Dotson has painted that stand out the most are the ones with electric colors and buzzing patterns incorporated, something like a flashing neon sign. Alex Ebstein probably said it best during his interview with Dotson, calling the painter’s work “movie theater and bowling alley carpets, bus seat upholstery, and allover print sweatshirts.” The end result is a new artistic masterpiece that combines two things that are surely opposite of each other, like watching a children’s cartoon in a theater down in the Red Light District with the scent of cigarette smoke and marijuana.
Ultimately, Michael Dotson’s decision to paint Disney frames comes from a feeling most people have when it comes to Disney, which is not too fanatical but hard to avoid. This is especially true when it comes to Disney’s ability to make people believe in “Happily Ever After.” Most people know such a belief is very rare and unrealistic, but many who admire Disney still strive for it.
“[It] represents everything good, magical, safe and ultimately unattainable. The world of Disney presents a particularly American vision where hard work and struggle pay off in a happy ending. I think to some degree my work has always been about presenting a fantasy-reality that is just outside our reach.”
Michael Dotson’s work is currently on view at Brand New Gallery in the group show Imagine. It will be on display until Saturday, April 2, 2016. Dotson will also have a solo exhibition at Zieher, Smith, & Horton in New York City from April 28, 2016, to May 21, 2016.
[Image via Michael Dotson]