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SUSAN MC KINSEY GOLDBERG is a renowned animation Art Director and Designer whose work has graced numerous feature films and theme park attractions in the United States, England, and Hong Kong. Her interest in the medium of animation reflects her encyclopedic knowledge of many other artistic disciplines, including Japanese art and textile design, children’s book illustration, costume design, wildlife painting and drawing, and graphic design for film and print.
In school, Susan won many local painting awards and competitions. Her interest in the animal kingdom (both artistic and conservation-oriented) led her to the Florida chapter of the National Audubon Society, where she served as Editor of their magazine. During her college years she received a scholarship and attended the fledgling Character Animation program at California Institute of the Arts. There she was taught first-hand by several of the great Disney animation artists, including director Jack Hannah, designer and story artist T. Hee, layout artist Ken O’ Connor, concept artist Elmer Plummer, and designer Bill Moore, who was among the first to notice Susan’s flair for design and color. This was followed soon by a stint in New York, working as a Background Artist for legendary MGM animator Jack Zander at his popular commercial production house, Zander’s Animation Parlour. It was during this time that she met her future husband Eric, on holiday from working in London, and since their marriage they have often had the enjoyable opportunity to work as a team on a variety of animation projects.
Susan’s many animation credits include Background Painting and Book Design for the Emmy Award-winning “Ziggy’s Gift” and subsequent vignettes, Background Design and rendering techniques for London commercial houses Pizazz Pictures and Klactovesedsteen, and Assistant Animation on the feature films American Tail II, FernGully: the Last Rainforest, and Disney’s Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules. Susan also provided Art Direction and Clean-up Supervision for master director Chuck Jones for the animation sequence in the live-action Mrs. Doubtfire, as well as working on Chuck’s last shorts featuring Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Bugs Bunny, and Michigan J. Frog.
It was during her time at Walt Disney Feature Animation that Susan’s flair for Art Direction made a splash on several high-profile projects. On Fantasia / 2000 (as Feature Animation’s first female Art Director), she created the watercolor style for the “Carnival of the Animals” sequence for which she and her crew provided hand-painted watercolor art not just for the backgrounds, but for every animation drawing of the yo-yo aficionado flamingo and his pals. Her background design included radical color shifts that matched and amplified both the music and the storytelling. For the “Rhapsody in Blue” sequence, based on the art of Al Hirschfeld, Susan researched his book illustration work and adapted his use of large color blocks in simple shapes for the big screen, as well as providing period Costume Design for Manhattan’s denizens of the 1930’s. Utilizing a palette almost entirely of blues or blue-inflected colors, Susan created a unique look for Depression Era New York City, which garnered her the animation industry’s highest honor, the Annie Award, for Production Design.
Other Disney projects included Art Direction for “Magic Lamp Theater”, a 3-D stereoscopic attraction for Tokyo Disney Seas featuring Aladdin’s irrepressible Genie, Pre-production Art Direction and Story work for Enchanted and The Frog Prince, Color Design for the façade of the Animation Pavilion at Disney’s California Adventure, and Concept Art for Walt Disney Imagineering, including renderings of beloved icons Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto in the styles of Peter Max, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, and David Hockney.
More recently, Susan provided the Art Direction for two major attractions: For a Buddhist cultural center in Hong Kong, she Art Directed the 12-minute high-definition cartoon “A Monkey’s Tale”, a whimsical parable about greed featuring three knucklehead monkeys and an impossible-to-attain peach. For Disney’s EPCOT center in Florida, Susan’s Art Direction enlivens the new attraction at the Mexico Pavilion, the Gran Fiesta Tour, featuring boisterous brand-new animation of Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito, A.K A. The Three Caballeros.
Susan continues to work on a variety of film, video, and concept art projects that benefit from her unerring eye for color and design.