CABOODLE Questions and Answers- with Blaise Gauba
Q: What sculpture are you most proud of? (Stacey, USA)
A. Buzz Lightyear was the very first figure that I sculpted for Walt Disney Classics Collection, he was also probably the most difficult to sculpt because he needed to look like he was in a spacesuit. Everything had to be perfectly symmetrical. But, I am almost equally proud of all of the sculptures that I created for WDCC. Buzz is at the top though.
Q. If you could choose any character/scene from a movie made "after" the collection was closed, what would you most want to sculpt? (Clarisse, USA)
That really isn't a fair question Clarisse! How DARE you! (laughing) To be honest, I felt like I was just getting started with WDCC and had only done those few sculpts that I did when they shut everything down. I was in shock actually. I was in dreamland being lucky enough to have been asked if I was interested in the first place if I wanted to sculpt figurines for Walt Disney Classics Collection. If I had it my way, I would sculpt every character I could get my sculpting tools on. There are SO many great characters! Right? Now to answer the second part of your question... which by the way, I am going to sort of throw you all off here I think... but I would have LOVED to sculpt all of the characters from TRON and their vehicles, motorcycles, etc. I mean, I could go on all day telling you which characters I would most want to sculpt.
Q: Oh also, how was it decided which pieces would be limited and which would be open edition? And how many pieces approximately were made if they were open edition?? (Kimberly - UK)
A: Oh boy. That's a couple of questions that I definitely don't know the answers to. I was NEVER allowed into meetings like that. That's a corporate management related situation. I was just a lowly sculptor. Hahahaha!
Q: Do you, as a sculptor, realize how important and loved the WDCC collection still is to so many people? (Esther, Netherlands)
A: Why yes Esther... yes, I do. And thank you for asking me that question. I am very happy that there are so many wonderful people out there in the world who love all of these Disney movies and all the wonderful, funny, amazing, scary, (and weird) characters that were created from the minds of Walt Disney and his writers and story developers.
Q: Which Disney artists did you most enjoy working with while collaborating on the sculpts? (Pam, USA)
A: Well, I never really collaborated on any sculpts to tell you the truth. That is, I never worked with any sculptors while I was freelancing for WDCC. I think that most of us were all mostly working from our home studios. I worked at the Walt Disney Art Classics offices in Burbank very briefly while I was working on Rex for the Toy Story collection, as I had told Dave Pacheco that Rex was a difficult character to get his face right, so Dave gave me an office down the hall from him for a few weeks while he guided me on Rex's facial features. Other than that, when it comes to WDCC, I worked alone. When I worked at Walt Disney Imagineering, I collaborated on a lot of projects with other sculptors, designers, illustrators, production designers, art directors and anyone else whose team I might have been on at any given time during my five years there.
Q: What is your favorite WDCC piece you did not sculpt and do you own it? (Bill - USA)
A: Oh gosh... that's sort of a difficult question to answer because, to be honest, I don't think I have even SEEN all of the WDCC collectibles... there are so many of them. I can say this though, two at the top of my list that I do NOT own, but would like to someday, would be Scrooge McDuck sitting in that pile of gold coins... and the other one is the purple character Randal (Randy) Boggs from Monsters Inc. I LOVE that character! I love monsters, aliens, weird creatures, zombies, ghouls, beasts, fantasy characters, etc.
Q: Why in the WDCC line are the male characters often missing? Naveen, John Smith, Phebus, Flynn Rider etc. etc? (Christian, Italy)
A: Another good question that I do not know the specific answer to. I would guess that female characters are more collectible because they are female which means they are generally a lot nicer to look at and admire than male characters... and most collectors, believe it or not, tend to be female. And, from what I HAVE heard in the sales world (not necessarily at Disney... but like I said, I am guessing for the most part) women relate to female characters more than they do to male characters. I hope that helped.
Q: How did you get into sculpting for Disney? What advice would you offer to young people who are passionate about art and interested in working for Disney? (Faye, USA))
A: In answer to the first question... I've literally been sculpting since I was a small child. My mother threw some oil clay in front of me (arts and crafts supplies apparently are a lot cheaper than a babysitter back in those days... late 1960's'early 70's) when I was about seven years of age and I have been going at it ever since. So my advice to any aspiring artist is to practice, practice, PRACTICE! Be passionate about your art... whatever type of art it is that you are passionate about doing. Stay inspired. Which is why practicing every day, even when you're not interested in doing so, is so important. Because making yourself create when you're NOT feeling "creative" will one day make you a real professional, because when the time comes, and it will come... trust me, when you need to pull a rabbit out of your hat, you'll be able to do it, because you spent so many years (and hours) of your life learning to be able to "turn it on" at a moment's notice. That doesn't mean however that you're always going to enjoy it, but you'll still be able to create at your highest level and ability because it'll be second nature to you. In answer to your second question... How might you find your way into a job at a place such as Disney? Well, definitely focus on getting as much time as you can in art classes, design classes, and whatever sorts of classes that will help you get the kind of education you're going to need to get a good job at a place like Disney. Visualize your dream, do affirmations on it, create a dream board to help you SEE yourself in the job of your DREAMS. Because seriously, dreams DO come true! Believe in yourself. Stay focused. Be kind to yourself. Don't let anyone discourage you from your dreams, and if there is anyone doing that, then they're probably too toxic for you, so get away from them if you can. Surround yourself with people who love you and who encourage you to pursue your goals and your dreams.
Q: What was the last sculpt you did for WDCC that was produced? (Pam, USA)
A. I believe it was Herbie the Lovebug... but I'm not totally sure on that one. It's been a really long time since I worked for WDCC. I know that the last three that I worked on but not sure in what order were Herbie the Lovebug, Scrooge McDuck for Mickey's Christmas Carol, and Grumpy for the Fantasyland Ride piece, which I believe involved three characters, one of which I believe Chris Peterson sculpted, and another character that either Bruce Lao or Patrick Romandy Simmons sculpted. But I'm not sure who did what. But I'm pretty sure that Chris sculpted one of those characters.-
Q: Why did some films have no corresponding WDCC pieces made …i.e. Meet the Robinsons, Treasure Planet, Oliver and Company? (Kimberly, USA)
A: Time? Money? Interest? To be honest... I have no idea. Although, a very good question.
Q: Which sculpture, of the ones you made obviously, took the most time in creating and which one was really easy and fast work? (Rudi, Belgium)
A: Buzz Lightyear took five weeks to sculpt! He was SO complicated because he had to look tight and clean and literally machined. That was a very difficult sculpt. And Hamm was probably the "easiest" one I did for them. But saying that it was the "easiest" is also slightly misleading, as there were complications involved like sculpting the cork in his belly was crazy difficult, because I had to sculpt that character on a base which was on a base. Right? So getting my sculpting tools down under his belly had to be done like a surgeon doing fine and delicate surgery. But still, technically speaking, he WAS the "easiest" to do.
Q: How much input did you have in choosing the scene and or characters from a said scene?... did you complete a project but it was never created for collectors? If so what? (Kathryn, USA)
A: Ah, a two-parter! O.K., question #1. I can't speak for any of the other sculptors, but I had little to NO input in choosing a scene or characters. Mostly, I was contacted and I was asked if I was interested in sculpting a specific character that either I assume they thought was a good fit for me, or perhaps it was just a sculpture that they had lined up on their schedule and they called me because maybe I was the only person available for that time/scheduled slot. The answer to question #2. No. It appears that everything that I ever sculpted for WDCC actually made it to the catalog.