Jason @MedicMayhew had the chance to visit Disney Fine Artist at his studio to talk about his past, present, and where Greg is going in the future! Jason also had the chance to view the new upcoming pieces of art Greg is working on including pieces for Star Wars Weekend and some pieces that are coming soon from the new hit movie Frozen!
Greg, When did you start drawling?
My mother acquired a 1964 (born 1962) Childcraft How & Why book set which included a crafts book. I understand that is all we did was create things such as carving a turtle out of the bar of soap. My grandparents and great grandparents also encouraged me doing crafts and artwork at a very early age and I still have some of the early drawings of spacecrafts. I remember teaching my fellow kindergartners how to draw a TeePee.
At 15, I was employed by Six Flags over Texas in 1978 to do caricatures for their guests. That continued for the next three years as a summer job and i continued to caricature at events and conventions up to 2010.
What was your first Disney sketch?
in 1988 I produced my first national illustration project. It was the Looney Tunes characters done for Tyson kids meals. Frito-Lay contracted me in 1994 to illustrate Buzz and Woody for Frito-Lay’s grocery store promotion which included the two characters being printed on their chip bags.
How did you get to draw for Disney?
My illustrations of Buzz and Woody got me additional work with Mattel doing their toy packaging for Toy Story II and A Bugs Life. That work continued to get me additional Disney related projects through ad agencies and corporations for their Disney tie-ins and promotions. Disney parks contacted me in 2007 to illustrate the 2009 dated logo for Disney World and Disneyland. This started a five year relationship between myself and the Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Lines, producing high profile logos and advertising pieces with a lot of them still seen today.
Did you ever work for Disney other than drawing?
With one exceptions (a gas station for 3mos @ 21) I have worked as an artist throughout my life. To date, I have never worked for Disney in any other capacity than to create art for them.
Favorite character to drawl?
By far my favorite character to work with is Donald. His attitude allows me to take him places that other characters do not get to go.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
As an artist with a passion for Disney, the inspiration is “endless” and often overwhelming. My challenge is narrowing down which paintings to create out of the multiple lifetimes of Disney images I want to paint!
Favorite attraction to ride?
My passion for the parks lie in it’s architecture, design and engineering more than the rides themselves. A couple of years back I was walking down Main Street taking photos when I noticed a few people following me with things in their ears. On the outskirts of Frontier Land I was stopped and questioned why I was taking so many photographs. Passion.
Favorite attraction to draw?
I’m considered a character driven artist however I love the architecture of the Disney parks and at some point I hope to produce a series of paintings celebrating the buildings of the Disney parks.
Most memorable Disney experience?
As Artifx (my studio, started in ’94) was finishing up the illustrations for the Toy Story II toy packaging with Mattel. I received an email from John Lasseter’s “people” asking for prints of all of our work for his private collection. To this day, I keep a copy of the email on my hard drive.
10. Favorite part of your job?
The chance to inspire others. As an advertising illustrator for over 25 years there is not a lot room for anything other than deadlines and revisions. Unexpectedly and happily the signing events get me in touch with guests, fellow creatives and young artist who have an appreciation and respect for the work I do which only increases my want of giving back of my experiences and talents.
In July 2013 I officially began my business as a resident, Disney Fine Artist for the Art of Disney galleries. Which means… “I have just begun”! There are over 25 concepts, approved pencils and paintings in the works including three paintings for Frozen. Very soon, I will be doing live painting during my Disney park signings. Beginning with limited edition, original portraits of 12 of the Disney Villians. An overdue blog, connected to the social media sites will house my signing schedule, thoughts/insights and sneak peeks will soon be available at gregmccullough.com.
Greg will be launching his website, as well as social media site soon! Please check back and see this amazing guy when your in the parks! He does a great job and is one of the nicest Disney artists I have ever met! If you do stop by and see him and his work make sure you tell him Jason from Chip and Co sent you!