Why Bambi's Artist Tyrus Wong Went Unrecognized For Most Of His Life

Angel Island Profile: Tyrus Wong

Tyrus Wong, the historically unrenowned artist who created the lyrical, elegiac aesthetic for Walt Disney’s “Bambi,” got his artistic start in the 1920s by dipping a brush in newspaper ink because he couldn’t afford art supplies.

Wong, who died Friday, Dec. 30 at the age of 106, was a Chinese immigrant artist who unofficially served as the lead illustrator for “Bambi.” The muted hues and sparse forest imagery that critics praised in the 1942 film represent Wong’s invocation of Song (Sung) Dynasty in his work. Wong has said the golden era of Chinese painting and pottery ― which lasted from 960-1279 and features landscapes, birds and flowers created from short, minimal brushstrokes ― inspired his work on the film.

Why Bambi's Artist Tyrus Wong Went Unrecognized For Most Of His Life