This Sunday I was lucky enough to take my parents and my wife to the Oakland Museum of California to see PIXAR: 25 Years of Animation. I’ve been meaning to see the exhibit for months, but my parents visiting provided the impetus to go, since my mom is a huge Pixar fan. All four of us loved the exhibit – it was creative, fun, and engaging, and we learned a lot about Pixar’s movie-making process.
Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the exhibit, but I did snap a couple in the gift shop that provide a small taste of the artwork featured in the exhibit:
The exhibit featured artwork from each of Pixar’s films in many different forms – storyboards, sculptures, color stories, collages, sketches, paintings, and computer animation. It was especially fun to see the initial sketches and the ultimate development of some characters – Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story, Sully from Monster’s Inc., and Edna from The Incredibles. The sketches of Edna were particularly fun since she’s such an over the top character, and the eight or so versions of her all expressed her personality in different ways.
I knew the basics of the animation process before going into the exhibit but had no idea how many mediums they used along the way. The most surprising to me was the use of detailed collages, which left me wondering what kind of amazing stack of magazines they have to work with at Pixar. The exhibit also introduced me to color stories, which at first glance look a bit like storyboards – beautiful pastel depictions of scenes from a movie placed in sequential order. But color stories focus less on the story line and more on the colors and overall feel of the film, which are part of what makes Pixar films so magical.
At the end of the exhibit were two creations made especially for the exhibit. One was a 3D Toy Story zoetrope – a series of static statues that appear to be moving when spun around. It features a penguin bouncing, alien jumping into a hole, Woody riding a horse, army men parachuting, and more. I love zoetropes and was mesmerized by this one. Here’s a short video of it from YouTube:
There was also Artscape – a movie shown on a very wide screen in a room filled with benches and bean bag chairs. We sat down through the entire video, as original artwork from most of the Pixar movies was displayed in a way that made you feel as though you were moving through and with the artwork. The screen moved in such a way that it made me feel as if I was running behind Dash from The Incredibles through the forest or as if I was floating up with tons of balloons in Up.
The exhibit left me wanting to re-watch all the Pixar films and to see the only one I’ve yet to see (Toy Story 3). I couldn’t recommend this exhibit more highly – if you’re a fan of Pixar, you really must go.
Unfortunately, the exhibit is ending on Sunday, January 9th so you only have a few more days to go. And as you may have heard, you must get tickets ahead of time as they sell out quickly. I looked into it, and there are still tickets available January 5-9, but several of the time slots have sold out (the rest of December is entirely sold out unless you’re a member). So if you want to see the exhibit, look at your calendar and buy your tickets online now. I promise you won’t regret it.