OCEANSIDE — The Rolly Crump exhibit at the Oceanside Museum of Art is sure to put a smile on your face. Crump is a local Carlsbad resident who worked as a graphic artist and animator for Walt Disney for 40 years.
Exhibit curator Bob Self said Crump’s goal is to bring joy and a sense of wonder to people through his art.
The first room of the exhibit showcases Crump’s Disneyland creations. On display is the development process of It’s a Small World’s spinning and whirling building facade and endearing dolls. Also exhibited are sketches of The Haunted Mansion animated ghouls and photos of The Enchanted Tiki Room magical carvings.
Robin Douglas, museum board member and art instructor, said Crump always wanted to work for Disney. When offered the opportunity to be part of the Disneyland design team Crump stretched his skills and created in mediums he had not previously explored.
Douglas said a tip Disney gave Crump was to step back and look at the big picture. This helped Crump move past temporary obstacles, develop self-taught skills and complete projects.
The broad range of mediums Crump worked in is reflected throughout the exhibit.
The second room, which branches off into smaller niches, looks at the whimsy and humor Crump displayed in posters, paintings, dolls and papier mache works inspired by a broad range of subjects. Crump’s work outside of his employment with Disney is described as hip, cool, ingenious and “weird.”
A beaded curtain leads viewers into a display of more subversive subject matter that Crump also addresses with a fresh sense of humor.
Works on display are from Crump’s own collection.
Self met Crump, urged him to show his work and curated the exhibit.
“Rolly was a big influence on me personally, and on a lot of people, Disneyland is so well-attended,” Self said.
Self’s advice to exhibit visitors is to look at the strangest thing in the room, and consider how Crump explores ideas with a sense of humor.
“He is a humorist who found humor and joy in anything,” Self said.
Examples of “strange” subject matter addressed with humor that came to mind for Self are playful beatnik posters with drug themes, and unexpected Haunted House ghouls that look nothing like typical ghosts or monsters.
Self said Crump likes to show people something they have not seen before.
“What’s different about his art is viewers feel a real sense of joy, it creates that happy spark
inside the soul (regardless of the subject matter),” Self said. “He has a real sense of what it is that makes people happy.”
Works on display range from pieces created in the 1950s to recent works completed in 2000. Throughout the exhibit old and new works are cohesively hung side by side. Self said Crump always stayed true to himself throughout his career and brought his gift of humor to everything he did.
The exhibit “Rolly Crump: It’s Kind of a Cute Story” will be on display through February.
Oceanside Museum of Art is located at 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside. For more information on museum events and hours go to oma-online.org.