Saskatoon-area painter, sculptor selected to make official Disney artwork — from Moana to Mulan

·3 min read
Denyse Klette is the first Canadian artist to join the elite Collectors Editions, the only independent company in the world with rights to produce and publish Disney Fine Art. (© Disney/Chelsea Klette - image credit)
Denyse Klette is the first Canadian artist to join the elite Collectors Editions, the only independent company in the world with rights to produce and publish Disney Fine Art. (© Disney/Chelsea Klette - image credit)

A Saskatchewan artist is joining the elite ranks of those who bring the magic of Disney to life.

Denyse Klette is the first Canadian to be signed by Collectors Editions as an officially published creator of Disney Fine Art.

"It's magical," Klette said. "My mom and dad had Sunday nights as a special evening where ... they'd make us hamburgers and french fries and we'd watch The Wonderful World of Disney. So I absolutely grew up on this."

Collectors Editions is not a Disney corporation, but it's the only independent company in the world with rights to produce and publish Disney Fine Art.

"They have a small group of artists from around the world that they've selected, and we get to design and create Disney art," Klette said. "The originals are sold in different Disney galleries and also they have reproductions done."

Klette is a painter and sculptor based on an acreage just outside of Saskatoon.
Klette is a painter and sculptor based on an acreage just outside of Saskatoon.

The painter and sculptor, who lives on an acreage just outside of Saskatoon, has a style that combines her mediums. Klette paints an image, then sculpts around the edges to give it a 3D aspect.

Klette said she is allowed to base pieces on almost any of Disney's animated works. She first produces a full-colour concept drawing on her iPad, then uploads it to the Collectors Editions team. The team sends it to the Walt Disney Company, which then reviews it and makes any corrections on proportions or colours. Disney then sends it back to Collectors Editions, which gives her the go-ahead.

Klette paints an image, then sculpts around the edges to give it a 3D aspect. She is allowed to base pieces on almost any of Disney's animated works. After producing a full-colour concept drawing on her iPad, she sends it off to the Collectors Editions team for approval.
Klette paints an image, then sculpts around the edges to give it a 3D aspect. She is allowed to base pieces on almost any of Disney's animated works. After producing a full-colour concept drawing on her iPad, she sends it off to the Collectors Editions team for approval.

So far Klette has created artwork inspired by the movies Beauty and the Beast, Moana, Tangled, Frozen, The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch and Mulan, as well as the characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Klette's work is mainly on display at the Disney art gallery, located at the Epcot Centre in Florida, but she's allowed to sell in Canada through her website. Her originals or reproductions can also be found at galleries authorized by Collectors Editions.

"It's so much fun. I get to walk into my studio and paint Mickey Mouse," Klette said. "I still do like my non-Disney, but to do Disney art, it's such a magical and close-to-the-heart experience."

Klette's work can be found in hotels, resorts, private collections, home decor products, bags, puzzles and more. She also signed a book deal in 2016 for a whimsical series of adult colouring books distributed worldwide.
Klette's work can be found in hotels, resorts, private collections, home decor products, bags, puzzles and more. She also signed a book deal in 2016 for a whimsical series of adult colouring books distributed worldwide.

Klette said she has an extensive library of Disney books that she collected over the course of almost 40 years.

"It really is a dream come true," she said.

Noka Aldoroty, the director of Disney Fine Art at Collectors Editions, said in a statement that Walt Disney's ability to inspire others to create was his greatest talent.

"It amazes me that even to this day, his legacy is still inspiring artists to invent new ways of reimagining and interpreting Disney stories through their own creative lens," Aldoroty said.

"We saw in Denyse a truly unique point of view artistically, and we could not be more excited to share her talents with Disney fans and art collectors around the world."

One of Klette's pieces is a Moana-inspired painting with a custom-sculpted frame.
One of Klette's pieces is a Moana-inspired painting with a custom-sculpted frame.

Klette's work can be found in hotels, resorts, private collections, home decor products, bags, puzzles and more. She also signed a book deal in 2016 with Macmillan Publishers for a whimsical series of adult colouring books distributed worldwide.

She is currently working on pieces inspired by Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmations and Ursula from The Little Mermaid.