For the past 37 years, Downtown Disney in Florida has been transformed into an artist lover’s paradise during the annual Festival of the Masters, and this year will be no exception. The prestigious open-air fine arts festival celebrates the creativity and ingenuity of painting, photography, glass, and more by hosting over 300 artists from around the globe. Known for his unique take on Disney-inspired sculpture and prints, Dave Avanzino is just one of the individuals who is sure to delight guests during this year’s festival.
A native Californian, Dave Avanzino is a fine artist, scenic designer, and production designer who will be featured at the 38th Festival of the Masters. His passion for art began when he was a child and eventually led to his earning a degree in it from California State University. Avanzino’s artwork can be found across the country in various forms including murals, giclees, and 3-D style mixed-media sculptures, the latter of which he is best known for by Disney enthusiasts. Using materials such as paper, wood, metal, and wire, Avanzino presents familiar phrases, words, or even characters in a unique, dimensional style incorporating different depths to make the images “pop” off the canvas.
At this year’s Festival, Avanzino will be showcasing some of his work including new Fantasyland and Haunted Mansion deluxe prints. The first focuses on Walt Disney World’s enhancements to Fantasyland which now divide the area into Storybook Circus and the Enchanted Forest. Avanzino’s deluxe print represents these additions. “When I create these pieces I take elements from the area and kind of mash them all together into a scene. [The new Fantasyland is] a little more spread out than this. All of the elements shown here are pretty much how they look in the park,” he explained. The piece was originally a paper sculpture and later changed to a deluxe matted print. Similarly, the new Haunted Mansion print is matted in black and red and features an impressive view of the mansion itself. I love how the infamous hitchhiking ghosts make an appearance! Both items are limited in quantity and will be available for purchase at the Festival for $39.95. A third print focusing on Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room will also be sold.
In addition to his prints, Avanzino will make available new additions to his other forms of art at the Festival. This includes the never-before-sold “Believe, Create, Dream, and Imagine” display box prints. Each piece features a print of custom themed letters spelling out one of four Disney-inspired sayings that has been mounted onto a handmade wooden box. They are designed to sit on a bookshelf, desk, or other area needing a little pixie dust. These can be purchased as a complete set or individually and start at $45.
One might recognize the letters in the box prints from Avanzino’s “Your Name” offering which first began at the D23 Expo in 2011. The program allows guests to spell out their names in favorite Disney attractions and icons. The custom letter plaques are matted and framed and can include up to 20 letters each. This makes for such a special gift to those who love Disney theme parks. Avanzino will be taking limited orders during the Festival on a first come, first serve basis. Prices range depending upon the number of letters requested, but begin at $495 for 1-4 letters.
For those looking for a combination of print and sculpture, Avanzino will also have original framed artwork for sale. My personal favorite is this Tinker Bell piece which is hand-painted and hand-cut. The art is assembled into a dimensional scene and framed in a mat that was painted by the artist. I love how the background features the map leading to Neverland. Another original framed item celebrates the world of Fantasia while the third features a scene from Alice in Wonderland. All of these pieces are one of a kind, signed, and include certificates of authenticity.
Dave Avanzino’s work is bold, daring, and unique. I love how he incorporates multiple mediums into his pieces and am excited to see what he creates in the future. If you happen to be around for this year’s Festival of the Masters, be sure to stop by The Art of Disney store in Downtown Disney to see Avanzino and his collection. He will be there from 10 am to 5 pm on November 8-10. Enjoy, art lovers!
Members of the DIS Unplugged podcast team had the pleasure of interviewing Dave Avanzino in April. Check out the video below!