Welcome to our first edition in a new series called ‘Spotlight on Disney Fine Artist.’ Our first featured artist is Amrita Kang of Imaginear Disney.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a 24 year old Master’s of Public Health student at the University of Arizona! Currently, I am studying while balancing three jobs. I work for an online test grading company, as well as Michael’s as a part time framer and florist, while running my small arts and crafts business on the side.
Why do you do what you do?
I grew up closer to Disney World, and when I was about 12 years old we moved over to Arizona. Disney has been an integral part of my life growing up, and is the reason why I am where I am today. I’ve always loved various forms of art growing up, but I enjoyed painting in particular. Eventually, I began combining my love for art with Disney magic, and that’s how I got to where I am today! For the most part, I have received an overwhelming positive response for my ideas and creations, which motivates me even more to do what I love.
How do you work?
In my apartment, I set up a little “art corner” where I organize and keep all of my art supplies. I usually paint in the afternoons and evenings, while watching Disney movies or playing some Disney background music!
What’s your background?
My parents are from India, and I was born in New York. I grew up in a very vibrant and colorful culture, where wedding celebrations are weeks long, and our culture prides itself in throwing a celebration for nearly everything! I was fortunate enough to be exposed to all of our customs and traditions. We celebrate life and happiness, and it is very beautiful to witness if you every get a chance to join an Indian celebration. Our family is from Punjab, India and I am a Sikh by faith.
Favorite Disneyland Memory?
I had visited the parks for Christmas one year, and it was my last evening. Christmas is my favorite time to visit Disneyland. There is a feeling you get when the entire park is decorated for the holidays that I could never put in to words. The park at night, when it is all lit up with soft Christmas music playing in the background, is my favorite. I bought some hot chocolate and found a bench directly facing the castle. I sat there and looked at the castle while thinking about my life, my privileges, how lucky I am to be where I am today, while taking in the twinkling lights and how beautiful the castle looked. I don’t get to visit the parks often so when I do, I make sure to take in everything I can. I can’t wait to visit during Christmas again and relive that memory.
How has your practice change over time?
When I first started painting, I didn’t like to take any risks. I used basic paints, two or three standard paint brushes, and my technique wasn’t very strong. I am constantly still learning and slowly getting better at what I do, but it has taken years of practice. Eventually, I began watching YouTube tutorials (especially Bob Ross who I loved watching as a child) and experimenting with various mediums and techniques. It took a lot of self-learning to understand and get to where I am today!
What art do you most identify with?
Abstract art. Art is open to multiple interpretations, but abstract to me resonates with feelings and emotions the most. A painting can look angry, or sad, or happy to me, when to another person it just looks like someone squirted paint all over the canvas and rubbed it all together. To me, abstract art is open to the most artistic expression. I love interpreting how the artist was feeling when they were creating their masterpiece.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
I love making people smile. For the past few years I’ve volunteered and work in health care, and worked closely with patients and their families. Those are the most rewarding experiences, and why I chose professionally to pursue a Master’s in Public Health. Keeping communities healthy and aware of disease prevention is very important. Public health surrounds us every single day and is a field that is constantly evolving and changing. I am excited to be a part of it! Of course, I thoroughly enjoy painting as well, and have found a very happy balance between the two.
What’s your strongest memory of your childhood that relates to Disney?
Odd enough, Alien Encounter from Walt Disney World. That attraction was traumatizing for children! But, I’m that weird 6 year old kid that requested to go on that attraction multiple times. Sadly, it no longer exists, but I remember it very vividly like it was yesterday.
What themes do you pursue?
I love looking at photos of Disneyland and Disney World, then coming up with my own design. I like to keep it simple but bold when it comes to artwork, so its noticeable but there isn’t so much going on it can get confusing. I like to take iconic scenes from Disney movies as well, then come up with a design that I can re-create on multiple surfaces! I choose one or two colors as the background, then slowly build on it. I love painting night scenes though, I think they are particularly magical.
What’s your favorite art work?
My personal favorite has been my Lion King painting I’ve done. I visited Africa a little over a year ago, so while I painted it, I spent a lot of time thinking about the community service I was very lucky to be able to do there. The background and trees are based off of the scenery from Africa, while the center is the silhouettes from Lion King. Visiting Africa was a very powerful experience for me, so creating this particular piece was a little emotional.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
Ultimately, I’d love to be able to work for Disney in creative design. Like many others, I always have so many ideas! I love Disneyland merchandise and go a little overboard every time I visit, but I have always felt that they slightly lacking in this department as well. I find myself wishing they made or had certain products that don’t exist, and i’m sure others feel the same way. I also want to utilize my Master’s degree, and be able to contribute to the wellness and health for park visitors. When I was younger, I wanted to be an Imagineer. Hopefully, one day, my dreams will come true!