Google Doodle, the search giant on 25 October 2018 is celebrating the 108th birth anniversary of Chinese-American artist and illustrator Tyrus Wong with a colourful doodle. The Google doodle also shows how Tyrus Wong’s love for art from an early age was recognized by his father.
Who is Tyrus Wong?
Wong, who is considered as one of the most influential Asian-American artists of the 20th Century, is best remembered for his work on ‘Bambi’, the 1942 Walt Disney film. Interestingly, Wong never met Walt Disney personally. However, his enchanting work which was heavily suffused with Eastern painting styles caught Walt’s eye and eventually became the inspiration for the animated feature Bambi, which changed the course of animation art, and continues to be an inspiration to contemporary artists
Born on October 25, 1910, in Taishan county in China’s Guangdong province, Wong and his father immigrated to the United States seeking a better life in 1920, where they eventually settled in Los Angeles.
Wong’s love for art was recognized by his father at an early age. Wong usually visited the Los Angeles Central Library where he was introduced to the paintings by Chinese artists of the Song Dynasty. The paintings largely remained as an inspiration for him throughout his career. While studying in junior high school and working as a waiter in Chinatown, Wong earned a scholarship in the Otis Art Institute. In 1932, Wong’s work was displayed at the Art Institue of Chicago along with the works of Picasso, Matisse, and Paul Klee.
He drew inspiration from Song dynasty’s bold art of classical Chinese paintings. Overcoming adversity, poverty, and racial discrimination, Wong used his interpretations of traditional oriental art along with his experiences of working as a Depression- era muralist, California watercolorist, and film production illustrator, to become one of the bohemian artists whose creativity shaped the cultural, artistic life of Los Angeles during the 1930s and 40s.
Upon graduating, Wong, who also became a talented animator, calligrapher, muralist, and set designer, set out on a impressive career in Hollywood during which he worked on and created some of Disney’s most iconic works, including Bambi.
He worked at the Warner Brothers Studios as a production assistant for 26 years. However, the effects of the Chinese Exclusion Act and racism followed throughout his career.
In 2001, Huang Qiyao was awarded the Disney “Legendary Award” for his contribution to “Bee Deer”.
His wife died in 1995 at the age of 1985 and he ensured he personally cared for her as she suffered from dementia. In 2001, in formal recognition of his influence on “Bambi,” and his outstanding contribution, Wong was named a Disney Legend — putting him in league with other recipients like Fred MacMurray, Julie Andrews, and Annette Funicello. When Wong died in 2016, his family included three daughters, Kay Fong, Tai-Ling Wong, and Kim Wong; and two grandchildren.
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