D23 fans are starting to see their "surprise" gift arrive in the mail.
And the big secret is... (drum roll please).... a very nice lithograph!
The following letter from Stephen Clark, head of D23, came with the lithograph:
"We are pleased to present you with this D23 member exclusive lithograph as your Charter Year gift from the new Walt Disney Archives Collection. Walt Disney Animation Studios Art Director Paul Felix created "Putting a Smile on the World" in celebration of Mickey's 80th anniversary last November, capturing Mickey's trademark charm, youthful exuberance and optimism."
"The entire D23 team hopes you'll enjoy and cherish this warm, wonderful addition to your collection and we once again thank you for being a part of D23 in its charter year."
Felix's print was selected as part of a portrait competition held among the different artists and animators at Disney. This tradition started with Walt Disney, himself, who held such a competition that was won by John Hench. He would continue to paint Mickey's official anniversary portraits until Hench died in 2004.
This is a very nice BIG print (original is oil on canvas). It measures 30" tall by 20" wide and is on archival #65 Cougar Natural Cover Stock with fade-resistant, oil-based process inks. A print of this size in the Art of Disney Store would run quite a pretty penny (like $50 or more!). Anyone waiting to see what the gift is before deciding to join D23 should give it serious consideration. The photo doesn't do it justice - it is a very nice print. For Disney art collectors, this is a nice piece (and it's helpful that it's a somewhat standard size so we can find pre-made frames).
If I had any doubts about becoming a D23 member, those doubts are gone. I'm quite glad and proud to say, yes I am 23!
If anyone from the D23 team is reading this: Thank you!