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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Animators the Draw at City’s New Gallery

The resurgence of animation over the last few decades has made household names out of characters such as Buzz Lightyear, Simba the lion and Manfred “Manny” the woolly mammoth. Now, a former Walt Disney Co. animator is trying to thrust the artists behind those animated characters into the spotlight by opening an art gallery in Burbank highlighting their personal work. Tina Price opened Center Stage Gallery this month nestled in what Price likes to call the “animation hub of the world,” with creative workshops by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Nickelodeon Animation Studios close by. “We’re all holding hands to put them center stage,” said Price, who in 2004 founded the Creative Talent Network, an online community that links animation artists from around the world and showcases their talent. Two years later she left Disney after 23 years at the studio. For its first exhibition, the 1,640 square-foot gallery at 847 Hollywood Way has turned to Peter Clarke, whose film credits include “Treasure Planet,” “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and two of the “Ice Age” films where “Manny” the mammoth takes a star turn. Clarke’s exhibition is called “Past, Pencil, Future” and displays pieces created throughout the artist’s life, including paintings, sketches and drawings of mythical characters set in fantastical scenes. He said this was his first show and it has been nothing short of amazing. “It’s about highlighting and focusing on what we do in our own time and in our own world. This show is really about my personal stuff,” said Clarke, whose pieces, on display through June 30, cost from several hundred dollars to more than $1,000. Center Stage takes a commission. Price has enlisted Torrance bookseller Stuart Ng Books to stock the gallery’s shelves with books on animation, illustration and comic art. In addition, she has partnered with Wacom Co. Ltd., a Japanese graphics tablet manufacturer, to allow visitors a first-hand look at the technology used in the animation studio. The gallery also will host drawing classes, book signings and other special events. – Megan Diskin

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