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Santa Monica Emeritus College Gallery to Display Works by Legendary Chinese-American Artist


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By Lookout Staff

September 26, 2017 -- Watercolors and other visual works by legendary animation artist Milton Quon, who recently celebrated his 104th birthday, will be on display at the Santa Monica College Emeritus Art Gallery starting this week.

An opening reception will be held on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the gallery, which located on the first floor of the SMC Emeritus Campus, 1227 Second Street. The exhibit runs through November 8.

Artist Milton Quon poses with watercolor

The exhibit features a collection of watercolors painted on location that spans decades of work by the artist, a longtime student at Emeritus College.

“In painting and drawing, an artist hopes to share with you what he saw and felt at that time and place,” said Quon, who this month was honored by the Chinese American Museum at its prestigious 21st Annual HistoryMakers Dinner.

The exhibit also includes several of Quon’s hundreds of sketchbooks, as well as other materials that provide background on his career as an animator and illustrator, the exhibition's organizers said.

The son of Chinese immigrants, Quon was born in Los Angeles in 1913 and has lived and worked as an artist in the area all his life.

After attending Chouinard Art Institute, now CalArts, on a scholarship in 1936, he was hired by Walt Disney Animation Studios as an artist on the legendary 1940 film "Fantasia."

Quon worked on popular characters, including the goldfish in “Arabian Dance” and the dancing mushrooms in “Chinese Dance.”

Picture of Milton Quon as a young man
Portrait of the artist as a young man

He was quickly promoted to first assistant animator for the next Disney film, "Dumbo," which was released the following year.

After working on several other films for the studio, Quon joined the Douglas Aircraft Company as an illustrator during World War II before returning to Disney.

Quon later became a pioneering teacher and advertising executive, paving the way for other Chinese Americans. His work has been displayed at museums and galleries and is part of numerous private collections.

Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call (310) 434-4306.


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