STONE HARBOR - Abstract collages, pin-up girls, moody landscapes, and artwork that looked like it had been rescued from an abandoned movie theater adorn the walls of Ocean Galleries on Third Avenue.
Yet while these kinds of artwork might seem normal in a gallery, they may not seem like the typical outlets for such recognizable characters as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck.
That's the idea behind the Disney Fine Art exhibition at Ocean Galleries, which features more than 100 different works of art by 10 different artists all interpreting these cartoon characters in their own unique way. The gallery has its official opening on Saturday.
"Each (artist) has a different way of depicting Disney," said Kim Miller, who owns Ocean Galleries with her husband Josh.
Miller said the gallery hosted an exhibit years ago that had different artists interpreting the work of children's author Dr. Seuss, which she said went over well enough to warrant trying something similar with Disney.
Pop artists taking the creations of Walt Disney and the animation empire he developed and making their own interpretations is nothing new.
Noka Aldoroty, the director of Disney Fine Art, said that artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein made their own artwork using Disney characters, though Aldoroty said they did not do that with the blessing of Disney Studios.
However, in the past few years, Disney has decided to partner up with about 20 artists directly, allowing them to use Disney characters in their artwork any way they want.
"We really love these partnerships that we have developed," Aldoroty said.
While the exhibit officially opens on Saturday, students from Avalon and Stone Harbor Elementary Schools and Middle Township High School got to get an early look at the exhibit and even get the chance to see one of the artists at work on Thursday.
"It's good to get them appreciating when they're young," Miller said.
Dozens of students spread out throughout the gallery, taking in the artwork.
"It's cool to see different perspectives on Disney," said Tess Bright, 16, a junior at Middle Township High School from Cape May Court House.
The students also watched as artist Trevor Carlton took a canvas with nothing but an orange painted background and a pencil outline of Donald Duck and transformed it into a full-fledged painting within a span of 20 minutes.
Carlton began his partnership with Disney because he felt like it reflected the artwork he wanted to do in the first place.
"My focus is vintage Americana," Carlton said. "And what's more Americana than Mickey Mouse?"
Students watched mesmerized as Carlton darted and dashed to music and used blue, white, orange, and black to bring Donald to life. The mischievous duck was upside-down the whole time, until Carlton flipped the canvas over at the very end and revealed he was, in fact, falling.
Once he revealed what he was doing, the students and teachers asked Carlton if he typically painted upside-down.
"This is something different for me," Carlton admitted.
Contact Ben Leach:
If you go
The gallery of Disney paintings by 10 different artists is open to the public beginning this weekend.
What: Disney Fine Art and Disney Fine Art Live
Where: Ocean Galleries, 9618 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor
When: Saturday, October 9, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a live artwork creation by Trevor Carlton at 8 p.m. Sunday, October 10, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: The reception is open to the public and all pieces of art are for sale. Prices range from about $200 to about $9,000.
For more information, call 609-368-7777 or visit www.oceangalleries.com.