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Kim's Corner
Page 4 of 18

K & R - Did you think you’d have a problem coming up with 100 Mickeys?

Eric - "After I talked to Tony… I paint down in the West Indies, I go down there twice a year, I have a studio there. I packed up all my paints, canvases, some of the imagery that I got. Went there and I cranked out 21 just like that (snaps his fingers) and came back a couple of weeks later, said ‘This is going to be a piece of cake.’ I can do this. It’s fun work… and it’s fine art so it doesn’t have to be such a painstaking thing. Then all of a sudden, I got to like 48, and I was like ‘Uh Oh! Wait a minute!’… All the reference that I’ve looked at and all the inspiration I’d gotten from different places was slowly being faded away."

"So it was like, ‘OK Eric, start thinking about different mediums.’ Charcoal, oil stick, acrylic, wash, watercolor, pastels, gesso, scratchboard - anything - you know? - sticks. Try to do something different in medium as well as different poses in the history of Mickey. So, if you look at it, it’s not just a hundred Mickeys… It’s the history of Mickey through the years, because you can see different styles of him. But, also it’s, as far as art goes, it’s a lot of different things to look at as far as the art world in medium and exploration."

"After that, it was like "OK, so now I’ve got a new gig. Now I understand it’s not just get the Mickey images done for the sake of it. But, let’s make them special in the art world and in the history of Mickey.’ It was tough, ya know? I got to 85 and it was like, ’15 more to go? Hmmmmm.’ I did three digitals after that, because I’m pretty good in PhotoShop. And they only picked one… So I used the computer as well. But, they really wanted the raw energy on the canvas."

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During the LE Lithograph signing on February 23, 2002, Eric enjoys meeting the people who what to meet him and have their pieces signed.
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K & R - So you had pretty much carte blanche with Mickey? You could do just about anything you wanted to do with him?

Eric - "Yeah, I’m a very lucky guy, very lucky… I could do just about anything. In fact, one of them, I’d dismembered him. It was called Dismembered Mickey before they named it properly. It was a sketch I did, I ripped it up, I didn’t like it and I threw it in the trash and I was working on another one. And I looked down, and just the way that the pieces had landed on the floor and in the trash were kind of interesting. So I picked them back up and I glued them on another piece of board, gessoed over it, and they picked it. They love it. It’s one of the favorite ones. It’s pretty interesting… It’s called Celebration Mickey, because he’s kind of exploding… It’s a nice accident."

K & R - The last time I remember you painting a Mickey was during the 45th Anniversary on the gallery verandah in the rain…

Eric - "OK, yeah… that’s in here too… See the 45? People are going to ask that, ‘why is there a 45 on that one?’… They’re not going to get it, so that’s a little cool piece of trivia… And that tells the story of how this thing all happened, that was one of the 45… That’s called Angie’s Mouse, it’s my wife’s favorite mouse, it used to hang in my living room for a while, a couple months."

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Eric's wife’s favorite - MM057 "Angie's Mouse" - he was working on this canvas on February 9, 2000, as he was doing interviews during Disneyland's 45th Anniversary media event.
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K & R - So, do you run them by her? Is she your audience?

Eric - "I work at home, my studio is there… with this amount of work, I didn’t say, ‘Hey honey what do ya think of that one?, what do ya think of that one?’ It’s too much. But when I had one that was in question for me, I always asked my wife. She’s a French Caribbean girl. She has good taste, interesting taste. So I’d say ‘What do ya think of that?’ and she’d say, (Eric went into a French accent for this) "Oh, I love this one, this is a beautiful one. The other one - I don’t know.’ And if it was an ‘I don’t know’, then I’d go hmmmmm, let me go ask my kids. If I ask the kids… Ok I’m happy with it."

Eric added that you could see the reflections of his wife’s island in some of the images, "A lot of these were done on her island, and you can see the spirit of the Caribbean… like a carnival, the colors of the carnival." This is especially true in some of the large canvases. Angie even gave up one of the paintings that Eric had done for her as an anniversary gift. Take a look at the background of MM080 "In the Garden", it’s a beautiful rose garden set against a vibrant blue sky - and is the most popular images in the exhibit thus far. Eric was getting down to the last few to go, and was looking for any idea on any canvas, so he painted a Mickey in the foreground and added it to the collection. "I promised her that I’d do her another one." Eric mentioned that some of the 100 Mickeys are painted over old canvases gessoed over and that you can still see some of the texture of the originals underneath the current work.

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Mouseketeers Bobby Burgess and Shari Alberoni pose with MM088 "Bonne Fete" - one of the exhibits largest and most vibrant canvases.
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