You have probably seen her work if you’ve ever walked into a Kid Robot, or are into collecting vinyl toys, been to any number of Los Angeles/California galleries, collected Disney merchandise, or are generally a cool person who knows about cool things. Of course, I’m talking about Amanda Visell.
I think the first time I saw her work was at Disneyland. It was the 40th anniversary of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and the gift shop had all kinds of sweet commemorative merch, including a fantastic ringer with an amazing pirate graphic. It instantly reminded me of mid-century Disney art and especially Mary Blair, who as I’ve talked about before, is basically my patron saint. (I realized that now if you google “Mary Blair Alice in Wonderland” this blog comes up on the first page, which makes me super happy.) The more I learned about this mystery artist, the more I loved her.
Amanda has a deep love for the same things I do, like Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle. She and her partner Michelle Valigura, who is also an amazing artist working in ceramics and 3D materials, originally came to LA to pursue a career in stop motion animation. You can see the influence from that time in the materials and techniques that she uses in her work, both painting and sculpting. She works with similar characters and themes throughout her work, like alligators and elephants, but what I really love is the figures are not just cute figures, they tell a story. She’s a natural storyteller and is drawn to things with narrative. In addition to limited edition toys and figures, she also does killer paintings and posters. Her current series of pop icon wood idols is particularly interesting; she’s attempting 100 one of a kind idols (55 are finished so far, and they are awesome). I love someone who can think in 2D and 3D, and have continuity between the two. Her work always looks like her, no matter what she’s attempting.
For her contribution to “Beautiful Scars,” we knew we wanted to give her a scene with Scars. I love how she takes an existing character and Amandafies it, so we knew she’d do something great. Scars is such a blocky character in our design, I really love how he gets a bit rounded in this piece. It’s a great moment between the Woodsman and Scars, showing off their now matching scars on their foreheads. How much do you love that five-o’clock shadow on the Woodsman’s face? He looks like he’s had quite a long day (and he totally has).
In book news, we have a new release date! Oh, the joys of customs and shipping. Now, all of our books are safely at the distributor’s warehouse and we can say with a defnite tone of voice that you can buy Beautiful Scars April 2nd at your local comic book store, and April 8th at your local bookstore! And, April 2 happens to be my birthday, so even better! And of course, you can buy it right here from from the BOOM! website.