Visual Arts

“Wish Upon a Star” at Insomnia Gallery’s Disney Fan Art Show

Insomnia Gallery celebrates 95 years of Disney at their "Wish Upon a Star" fan art show.
Insomnia Gallery celebrates 95 years of Disney at their "Wish Upon a Star" fan art show. Photo by Jordan Asinas
You may have missed International Fanworks Day last month, but it’s never too late to celebrate with Insomnia Gallery. Just throw on your Mickey Mouse ears, make your way to Houston’s East End and soak in the fan-made creations at “Wish Upon a Star: A Disney Fan Art Show.”

“I just wanted to do a fun fan art show and I was looking around, seeing [what] people have done, and I just didn’t recall ever seeing a Disney fan art show here in Houston,” says idea man and Insomnia Gallery owner Chris Unclebach. “And that’s massive – 95 years’ worth of material to cover and such a beloved part of so many people’s lives. [It] seemed kind of obvious and kind of weird that I hadn’t seen one take place before. I know Disney is super protective of their property, but we thought we’d just go for it.”

Unclebach says he expects to see a lot of princess art, but hopes to see some of the early cartoons and older classics represented, too, like Bambi and The Jungle Book. Regardless of content, however, what Unclebach really wants to see is a little extra creativity.

“When I see fan art, I love it when it’s a mashup or a clever concept, not just somebody redrawing the image in their own style,” says Unclebach. “I have a record store, too, and I always appreciate a good cover song, and there’re countless times where a cover becomes more respected or more liked than the original, and that’s usually when a band puts its own twist on it and really makes it their own.”

Forty-five artists, most giving two to four pieces each, will put their own stamp on Mouse House properties for the show, including Wizard of Barge, The Olive Knight, The Flying Velocipede, and Insomnia’s own Honeybones, to name a few. Unclebach says the response to the artists call was huge and there will be a lot of variety, but he won’t actually see much of the art until last call on the final drop-off day.

“It’s always cool on the final art drop-off day when I’m going, ‘man, I hope I’ve got enough pieces to show,’ and then, you know, you’ve got 30 artists showing up last minute – as they know they all do,” laughs Unclebach. “Then it’s like Christmas.”

The festive atmosphere will continue at the show with a live DJ and free booze for the adults (not to mention some fun, interactive activities Unclebach teases that are sure to entertain the youngsters), but Unclebach is clear: For him, putting on a show is a ton of work. In fact, it’s a 44-point checklist worth of work. “There are a lot of moving parts,” says Unclebach. “There’s a reason that most galleries don’t put on as many shows as I do.”

If you can’t make it out to appreciate Unclebach’s hard work at “Wish Upon a Star,” or its family-friendly source material just isn’t your thing, you may want to check out next month’s Easter show, “Total Blasphemy.” For that one, the kids will have to stay home.

“Wish Upon a Star: A Disney Fan Art Show” is scheduled for 7 to 11 p.m. March 9 at Insomnia Gallery, 708 Telephone. For more information, call 713-242-8145 or visit Free.
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Natalie de la Garza is a contributing writer who adores all things pop culture and longs to know everything there is to know about the Houston arts and culture scene.