This past weekend’s D23 Expo 2015 encouraged lots of participaton from fans, including all forms of cosplay, an official Mousquerade costume contest, and a Trading Card Quest that took attendees out into the event show floor and into contact with one another. The “all things Disney” fan event also held its Design Challenge, asking fans to create art themed around a particular topic for the opportunity to be showcased at the event.
The theme of this year’s D23 Expo Design Challenge was inspired by the 60th anniversary of Disneyland. All submissions were asked to represent Sleeping Beauty Castle, the iconic “Happiest Place on Earth” landmark.
Twenty-three works of art were selected as finalists in the Design Challenge from among hundreds of entries. Sleeping Beauty Castle was rendered into various aesthetic styles using a variety of media in both 2-D and 3-D forms, including paintings (acrylic, oil, watercolor), fabric, a plexiglass sculpture and paper – one even carved from the pages of a book. The castles themselves drew on a number of inspirations, from the style of Mary Blair to park attractions to Disney characters and movies.
The entries included Design Challenge entries were located on the Expo Show Floor near the Walt Disney Archives and StagePass distribution areas. The high-traffic location provided maximum exposure for the art, allowing guests to linger at the exhibit and to take photos.
The art of the contest’s winner, Nuri A of Quartz Hill, Calif, was reproduced on a postcard for D23 Expo attendees to take home. It described his entry as such:
“This works uses the original Sleeping Beauty Castle as as starting point to create a hybrid castle that evokes the imaginary skyline of a number of Disney icons. From ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ to ‘Big Hero 6,’ the work represents the majority of Disney animated features through stained class vignettes, themed towers, and hidden Easter eggs. Like Disneyland, where you always discover something new, Nuri hopes viewers see something different every time they look at the work.”
The Design Challenge winner and finalists were determined by a panel of judges that included Marty Muller, senior vice president, Global Creative, Yellow Shoes; Don Hahn, artist, film producer, and director; Adam Sanderson, Head of D23; and Steven Lavine, president, California Institute of the Arts. Submissions were evaluated from preliminary sketches based on creativity, originality, and artistic expression, and the winner was chosen before the start of D23 Expo.
As the D23 Expo 2015 Design Challenge winner, Nuri received a Grand Prize of $2,300, the amount a nod to “The Official Disney Fan Club” and its D23 name. All finalists in the contest received complimentary tickets to event.