Tia Kratter has been a part of the artistry of Pixar films since the very first one, “Toy Story,” released in 1995. Before that, she contributed work to such Disney classics as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid.”

The stories she can share are quite colorful – literally.

Kratter will visit UNCG’s campus on Wednesday, Oct. 4. She will give a free, public lecture at 6 p.m. in the Bryan Building, Room 160, and in the morning she will speak to UNCG art students in Dr. Heather Holian’s “Art of Disney and Pixar” class.

After working at Disney Feature Animation for five years as a background painter, and later as a Disney freelance artist, Kratter joined the “Toy Story” art team at Pixar in 1993. Since her arrival at Pixar, Kratter has served as an art director on many of the studio’s films including “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Cars” and “Brave.”

Today, she is manager of art and film education at Pixar University, the studio’s internal education program. She also has authored the illustrated new book “The Color of Pixar,” showcasing many film stills from the Pixar archives.

“She has a tremendous amount of experience in the animation industry and at two of the medium’s most important studios,” said Holian. “She has been at these studios during a seismic shift in the industry, from 2D animation to 3D or digital animation. This change has impacted her own work over the years, from the kinds of work she makes to the materials she uses.”

This talk, sponsored by the UNCG School of Art, marks the sixth Pixar artist Holian has invited to speak at UNCG – a unique learning experience for her students and the public.

“Tia’s talk will be especially interesting because it will bear out the great importance of ideas, problem-solving and collaboration in animation, regardless of the technology making the film, or the media of her own pieces,” Holian said. “She also plans to talk about how she has adapted, grown and changed as an artist while at Pixar over the last 24 years.”

Holian emphasized Kratter’s breadth and talent as an artist.

“She is capable of working on the completely imagined world of ‘Monsters, Inc.,’ the racing world of ‘Cars’ and the lush, organic world of medieval Scotland. She often paints in watercolor when not at the studio, and for ‘Brave’ she made several watercolor studies of the Scottish landscape that are among some of the most evocative concept paintings made for that entire film.”

Kratter also is a gifted speaker. “She has a great sense of humor, which I imagine listeners will be treated to during her talk.”

Holian, associate professor of art history, is a specialist in Italian Renaissance art. Another key specialty is the art of the Pixar Animation Studios, and she is currently finishing a book on the topic.

Holian travels to Pixar regularly to interview artists and conduct research in the studio’s archives. Her essay “A Brave Collaboration: A Case Study of Collaborative Dynamics and Collective Imagination within the Pixar Art Department” is scheduled for publication next year, and her essay “New and Inherited Aesthetics: Designing for the ‘Toy Story’ Trilogy One Film at a Time” will appear in “‘Toy Story:’ Animation – Key Texts” this winter.

 

Story by Mike Harris, University Communications