The parking lot at Pixar Animation Studios is first-come-first-served — this means there are no reserved parking spaces based on title or tenure. Most days, Beth Sullivan (Administration Manager in the Studio Mastering Department) pulls her Jeep into spot number two and heads in to start her day bright and early inside the studio. As employees and visitors come to the studio they walk past Beth’s vehicle and often smile or stop to take a photo. So, what is so eye-catching?
Affixed to the back of her Jeep is some of the most unique Pixar fan-art (or “tail-art”) we’ve seen. Along with her husband, Kevin Sullivan (carpenter & metal worker) and Todd D’Amario (model maker & artist), the trio work to create metal masterpieces of many of our favorite Pixar characters.
As each new film hits theaters, the characters get refreshed with Beth selecting the character, Kevin crafting the aluminum sculpts and Todd meticulously painting the characters to make them truly eye-popping.
The artwork, the smiles, and the background were just a few of the points that inspired us to chat with Beth as part of our 50th episode of the Pixar Post Podcast.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
It all started when Kevin had the idea to craft a version of Remy from Ratatouille which he could attach to her Jeep. Beth wasn’t sure at first — she was concerned about the attention it may garner and boy was she right.
Children have stopped to mimic the character’s pose, people chat with her in parking lots and gas stations (relieved when they finally catch her to chat and hear her stories) and even told us of a semi-truck driver that got a little too close as he was trying to snap a photo.
To date, the trio has created artwork for ten feature films, including Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, and Finding Dory. UPDATED – as additional films have been released, we will continue to add images to this post.
We’re thrilled that Beth was willing to share photos of the complete line of characters as well as some progression photos of the characters during their development.
50th PODCAST EPISODE
Be sure to listen to episode 50 of the Pixar Post Podcast as we chat with Beth about the most difficult creations (Mater and Merida), how she kept Bing Bong a secret from her husband, and what happened when she recently got a flat tire.
Additionally, you’ll also learn more about the Studio Mastering Department and the important role it plays in the pipeline of a Pixar film.
Which character is your favorite — Leave a comment below! Julie likes Merida the best for her design complexity and perfect styling, while I am torn between Mater (love his tow-hook) and WALL-E (including the brilliant detail of Hal the cockroach).