Maybe her name isn't familiar to you, but if you grew up watching Disney movies or if you have ever visited Disneyland, you know Mary Blair's work.
It's funny because I've loved her since I was a little girl, but I only matched her name to her work tonight after reading one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess. I wonder how many people go through life loving a person's artwork without ever learning the artist's name or their story? How sad.
It's A Small World has always been one of my favorite rides at Disneyland. Mary designed the artwork for the ride. She also designed two Tomorrowland murals featuring similar characters, which were covered up in 1987 and 1998 by Star Tours murals. She also designed a 90 ft mural at Walt Disney World in Orlando. If you'd like to see photos of her murals, Yesterland has some good ones. (Note: if you are a Disneyland fanatic, you must visit Yesterland. They have stories and photos of every single retired Disneyland attraction. As a child raised on all things Disney and Disneyland, this makes me incredibly happy.)
Mary was an illustrator and animator before she started working on It's A Small World. She is credited with the color styling on Song of the South, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, as well as several animated shorts of that period. She also did quite a few print ads and she illustrated several children's books including I Can Fly and The New Little Golden Songbook. I'm going to be on the hunt for every book she illustrated. They are beautiful.
Mary was recognized with a posthumous Disney Legend award in 1991. Her style has inspired hundreds of animators, illustrators and graphic designers. It has certainly inspired me.
I'm so glad I finally know her story.