Monday, October 4, 2010


French Market!
unused sweat shirt design.

30.48 x 30.48 cm (12.0 inch x 12.0 inch)

Color pencil, marker and gauche on illustration board.

c. 1992

In the summer of 1992, the night time spectacular, Fantasmic!, erupted on the Rivers of America in Frontierland, Disneyland, CA. I was a cast-member working in The French Market restaurant in New Orleans Square, whose outdoor patio overlooks the Rivers of America (and yet, by the way, because of the area foliage and incidental pedestrian traffic, is NOT a good place to view the show).

Up until then, the whole west side of the park had a predictable tapering off of business from day to evening in the summers. With a huge outdoor attraction like Fantasmic! with colored lights, video clips projected on water screens shooting fifty feet in the air and pyrotechnics, and nearly every square centimeter filled in with guests in the cycle of arriving, waiting, watching and trying to exit - well, things changed in a big way.

As for this unpublished image, I had by then gotten in to the pattern of designing and selling printed tee-shirts and sweat shirts to commemorate that year’s crew. This time around, I transformed the Fantasmic! logo into the restaurant’s name, and transformed the rest of the marketing artwork, swapping Mickey for three of my characters from the comic “BackStage” and the Maleficent dragon for a gigantic, hungry sheep. This being a full-color mixed media piece on board, I had ambitions of some how reproducing it on tee-shirts, that is until I learned how difficult and expensive the process would be.

The bears (a nod to “Bear Country,” the land which was re-named “Critter Country” with the opening of “Splash Mountain”) by their costumes represent the three basic zones of the restaurant. Fran (?) in the French Market blue dress and white apron is the hostess providing counter service in the buffeteria style restaurant. She apparently is entrusting the group’s safety to some sort of magic straining spoon. Herb is wearing a French Market blue vest and is hoisting what’s probably a fifty pound buss tub on his shoulder. Bus tubs aren’t much good in a fight, not even overloaded ones like that. Miles is wearing chef’s whites for those cast members who cook, prepare and run the food to the front counters. Miles has an empty fry basket in a batter’s stance - could that have been a bad visual pun? “Fry/batter?”.

Of course, I put in a hidden Mickey.

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