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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 9:28 pm | Fair 52º


Disney Legend Floyd Norman at Elverhoj Museum 1/27/18 at 3 PM

January 27, 2018 from 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Disney Legend Floyd Norman at Elverhoj Museum 1/27/18 at 3 PM

If you've seen Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book or the Toy Story movies, you've seen the work of animator and Disney Legend Floyd Norman; for decades, he has helped bring Disney and Pixar classics to life.

On Saturday afternoon at 3 pm, Norman will talk at Elverhoj Museum of History and Art at a special presentation focused on animation. Hear stories about his life and career, and what it was like to work on the classic film Sleeping Beauty alongside Walt Disney and Eyvind Earle. Norman – writer, Disney animator, Pixar story artist, musician – continues to impact animation and stir up his own brand of “trouble.”

The talk takes place in the Museum Gallery where guests will be surrounded by the artwork of Eyvind Earle whose work is featured in the current exhibition, Winter. Included will be conversation with animator Margaret Nakamura Cooper. A Social Hour will immediately follow the talk.

Norman's love of art began long before his Disney job, as he revealed in the celebrated 2016 documentary about his career, An Animated Life. "Any empty surface was a blank canvas for me," he says. 

Born in Santa Barbara, Norman went on to work on a long list of notable animated feature films and been honored with numerous awards for excellence in animation. He still works for Disney, where he has plied his trade, on and off, since becoming the studio's first African-American animator in the 1950s. 

When Norman turned 65, he says Disney tried to force him to retire, but he wouldn’t have it. “I wanted to continue to work,” he says. “You see, creative people don’t hang it up. We don’t walk away, we don’t want to sit in a lawn chair, we don’t want to go out and play golf, we don’t want to travel the world. We want to continue to work."

And at 82 he’s still going strong: “There’s always some project on my drawing board …” Today, 61 years after he was first hired, Norman continues to work as a freelancer at Walt Disney Studios.

Cooper worked at Disney as an Inker for Sleeping Beauty where she met Eyvind Earle.  “I worked in a roomful of women who carefully traced the pencil lines of the animator's drawing onto celluloid (cells),” Cooper explained. “When Eyvind learned that I was interested in transferring to the background department, he let me use his room to practice making a background using his desk and supplies.”

Born in Mountain View, Cooper spent her early years there on a berry farm until Pearl Harbor launched the U.S. into World War II. Her family was sent to a Japanese Internment Camp, first at Santa Anita Racetrack and subsequently Heart Mountain in Wyoming. She returned to California and went to San Jose State where she met her future husband, Fred, in the art department. 

“I never finished the background illustration because Fred and I left Disney to travel throughout Europe in a VW bus in 1958 and 1959,” says Cooper. “We ended up in Oslo, Norway and where we joined a former Disney co-worker to start Norway's first animation studio.” 

Elverhoj Museum of History and Art, located at 1624 Elverhoy Way in Solvang, is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm. There is no charge for admission; suggested donation is $5. For more information, visit elverhoj.org.


Event Details

  • Organizer/Sponsor: Elverhoj Museum of History and Art
  • Starts: January 27, 2018 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Price: FREE
  • Location: Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, Solvang CA
  • Website: www.elverhoj.org
  • Sponsors: Elverhoj Museum of History and Art