Hipster Mickey’s New Look and Character Evolutions: Talking with Jerrod Maruyama

Jerrod Maruyama is a renowned Disney freelance artist whose works you’ve probably seen on cups and mugs and pins and shirts and other items at Disney theme parks on both coasts. Perhaps Jerrod is best known for his rendition of Hipster Mickey, usually seen carrying a beverage of some kind and wearing a hat and glasses. Whatever he is doing, Mickey has been seen in a variety of backgrounds – Alice’s Tea Cups, Haunted Mansion, and Tiki Room just to name a few.

Jerrod has also done some great “World of Cute” work featuring heroes, villains, It’s A Small World, and even Star Wars. He is a regular at WonderGround Gallery and has been very gracious in allowing us to interview him in the past. It’s been almost a year since we last checked in with Jerrod and we thought it would be a good time to see how he has been since he has some new pieces coming out February 6th at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney, Anaheim.

Hi, Jerrod! It’s been a while since we caught up with you and it looks like things have been going really well. With so many things going on last year can you pick out maybe one or two highlights for you with your career?

Working on the Box of Mixed Emotions for Pixar’s INSIDE OUT was definitely a highlight. Though most of the work was done the previous year, to finally see it on store shelves was very satisfying. The response has been just wonderful.

“Cafe Hipster” is the newest Hipster Mickey piece by Jerrod Maruyama

“Café Hipster,” the new Hipster Mickey piece coming out February 6th seems to be the next evolution in the Hipster Mickey line of art. Mickey looks to be more 3D than in your previous pieces and this time there doesn’t seem to be a particular location Mickey is situated in. Can you talk a bit about that?

I’ve been working on Hipster Mickey art since 2012. We’ve done quite a few images since then and I am always looking for ways to keep it interesting. Mickey has more of a rendered appearance in this latest piece, which is in contrast to the more graphic approach on the other images. I don’t know that it’s the next evolution of the series but it was certainly a lot of fun to work on. We’ll see what comes next.

“Rags to Wishes” Cinderella character portrait by Jerrod Maruyama

I love the two other new pieces – “Rags to Wishes” and “Honorable Daughter.” In “Rags to Wishes” we see Cinderella in 5 distinct images. Can you talk about those images? In particular I was curious about the 2nd image of Cinderella in pink.

I wanted to capture the main story points of the film but show it through her costumes. The pink dress is the one the mice fixed up for her. It’s such a turning point in the film and one of its many surprises. It’s difficult to imagine being surprised by this movie as we’ve all seen it so many times. This Disney version of the story has become the standard. But I remember seeing this film for the first time as a child and feeling completely horrified when the stepsisters tore apart her dress.

“Honorable Daughter” reveals the roles Mulan plays to the different people in her life.

In “Honorable Daughter” you pair Mulan with a different person in each image and a different icon underneath. How did you pick those particular pairings?

Mulan spends the entire film being someone else for different people. She tried to be the perfect bride for her mother, a dutiful son for her father, etc. That’s how those pairings came about. Those relationships are the backbone of the story and drive the action. It’s such a fantastic tale and one I think we can all relate to in some way.

Will these character evolution pieces be something we will continue to see more of throughout the year? And can you share with us what exciting things we can look forward to from you in 2016?

I have a few ideas that might work in this format. It’s a nice way to show a character and tell a story. I’m always looking for ways to express a story in a single image – that’s what Illustrators do. This approach allows me to show many sides of a single character and express their transformation.

As always, I really appreciate you taking the time to share about your work with all of us and wish you the best in the New Year!

Thank you for your questions and continued support. I appreciate your interest in what I do.

Jerrod Maruyama will be appearing at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney, Anaheim on February 6th – the day these three pieces are released. He will be signing from 11am to 1pm with a limit of 2 items signed per person – no personal items allowed.

All images were used courtesy of Disney with great appreciation!

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