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Today’s Animated Google Doodle Celebrates Tyrus Wong, the Chinese Artist Who Brought Us Bambi

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the birthday of artist Tyrus Wong. The full video is a wonderful testament to Wong’s inspiration from Song Dynasty art and the journey he went through to create beauty in the world.

The artist was born Wong Geo Yeo in southern China in 1910, and his family moved to California in 1920. The biography on the Google Doodle description details how Wong was the lead illustrator in Disney’s Bambi (though he was only credited as a background artist), and went on to draw and paint storyboards for films like The Wild Bunch, Sands of Iwo Jima, and Rebel Without A Cause. It wasn’t until 2001 that his contributions to Disney’s illustrations and legacy were fully recognized, and he was inducted as a “Disney Legend.”

The ending of the animation alludes to the artist’s love of kites, which he often flew on Santa Monica prior to his passing away at the age of 106. You can see them, and also learn more about his life story and contribution to Bambi in this CBS segment:

The Doodle celebrates Wong’s birthday, and was done in partnership with his family. His daughters, Kim, Tai-Ling, and Kay shared a touching statement about his creativity and impact:

“Our Dad was always creating art. Growing up, we benefited from his rich imagination and creativity— from his design of our family’s home and garden to the handmade holiday gifts he created for us even when he was in his 90s. One year he recycled a medicine bottle and made it into a whimsical pig; another year a Pringles container was transformed into a dachshund complete with pipe cleaner glasses and a peanut shell for a nose. Each gift contained foil-wrapped Kisses and a red envelope with Christmas money.

Dad and Mom always enjoyed spending time with family and friends. Our home was often filled with lots of laughter and kind-hearted camaraderie. We saw this as his way of sharing his sense of humor and love of life with others, all throughout his 106 years.

Through his work ethic, appreciation of nature’s beauty, and joy in creating art, Dad was a role model for us. We miss him very much and to this day, whenever we see something humorous, clever, or beautiful, we think of him and wish we could share it with him.

Thank you to the Google Doodle team for this celebration of our late father, Tyrus. He would have been honored and greatly appreciative to receive this tribute.”

The Doodle was created by Sophie Diao, who cites Wong’s use of both western and eastern styles as one of her inspirations. She writes about taking inspiration from his “atmospheric, blurry, and magical” paintings for forests. She adds:

“The more research I did on his life, the more impressed I was by the playful and curious way he lived. I feel like I really got to know him from all the videos and interviews in which he lit up when talking about his creative process. Now that the project is over, I’ll miss being immersed in his world, but I hope to carry forward the inspiration I found.”

Happy birthday Tyrus Wong!

(image: screencap)

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