"I’m constantly and everlastingly overwhelmed at the stupendous infinity of Nature." -Eyvind Earle
Several weekends back we were (and still are) visiting open houses in what's become an exhaustive search for a home in L.A. Walking down a hallway in a hillside mid-century modern, I was stopped in my tracks by a small framed print on the wall. The open house was ending, we were already feeling rushed, yet I was compelled to stare at this print. Never mind the house—which the agent oddly quipped would slide down the hill within the next 100 years—I needed to learn more about the artist. I quickly snapped this sad photo on my phone for later research:
From the signature I Googled what appeared to be "E Earle" and came across the story of an highly accomplished artist whom everyone else seems to know about but me.
Eyvind Earle, who died in 2000 at the age of 84, was an esteemed Disney animator, perhaps best known for the incredible design of the original Sleeping Beauty. I must admit, I'm not a Disney buff, but a well-done serigraph will peel my eyelids back like a kid entranced by a movie screen.
A serigraph is a handmade art print using a time-consuming and meticulous process commonly referred to as silkscreening. It's a process often seen today in tour posters for bands (think Band of Horses, Phish, The Decemberists), like those of artist Justin Helton at Status Serigraph in Tennessee. Here is a video of another serigraph artist's fascinating process.
To understand the complexity of the process, just look at Eyvind Earle's Fire Magic- it required 200 individual screens:
Outside of his employment at Disney, Eyvind Earle amassed a stunning body of work using numerous styles and mediums. But it's the brilliant colors and mysterious fanciful layers in his serigraphs that captivate and transport the imagination. The serigraph collection, now available for viewing on his estate's website eyvindearle.com, is where I finally found the print from the open house, Still Valley, c. 1986:
I imagine floating in a hot air ballon above this idyllic valley. Just like how each of his prints take me to a special vantage point; where I want to share the secret with the world, yet keep it all to myself.
Gallery 21 and the Eyvind Earle Publishing LLC keep his legacy alive by making available serigraphs and notecards. I found the following in their online store:
Thank you to Ioan Szasz of Eyvind Earle Publishing for allowing these works to be shared.