As a lad, my parents would take my sisters and me to Disneyland. During these trips to The Happiest Place on Earth, I was terrified (but excited) to go on certain attractions. Pirates of the Caribbean was one of them. I would beg to go on the ride, but the moment it started, I would hide safely at the bottom of the boat, never looking beyond the familiar kneecaps of my family at the perilous journey which surrounded us. I could hear the music, sound effects, and voices in the attraction: but dared not to look for fear of what I might see. Little did I know at that time in my life that these outings to Disneyland were shaping the way I would look at the world, and years later these same attractions would become core ingredients in the shaping of my creative style.
Often I’m asked if Tim Burton is my inspiration. To be compared to someone so talented is a great compliment, but the reality is there was no Tim Burton when I was growing up and discovering my creativity. There was, however, a mix of many things, which imprinted my style. I guess if my style had a recipe it would read, “A dash of Pirates of the Caribbean, a smidgen of The Haunted Mansion, a pinch of It’s a Small World, combined with equal parts Funny Face Drink Mix, Freakies Cereal and Crazy Foam. Then add even amounts of Dr. Seuss, Edward Gorey, H.R. Pufnstuf, STAR WARS and every one of those stop motion animated television specials and bake. The results are something odd, strange, a little scary, but somehow funny and harmless. A style and take on things that are me to my core.
This site contains work from my past, present, and will contain work from the future, all of which carry an element of my childhood influences, along with a peek into the world that hides in the darkness behind my eyelids. The work of Jimmy Pickering. I hope you enjoy it.
Jimmy Pickering is a renowned and beloved artist and designer across the fields of fine art, illustration, and book publishing. He has also created dozens of projects for theme parks and resorts around the world as a creative leader at Walt Disney Imagineering and Universal Creative.
Pickering was accepted into the school of animation at California Institute of the Arts at the age of just seventeen, where he studied under legendary Disney animation talents Hal Ambro, Bob McCrae, Chris Buck, and Joe Ranft, among others; learning the art of animation and the skills of visual storytelling through design and color—two elements that remain fundamental to his style.
At Imagineering, Jimmy was mentored by the legendary Leota Toombs Thomas, who not only broadened his skills, but instilled important design philosophies set forth by Walt Disney for his original WED Imagineers. Jimmy later became an art director and production designer for Universal Creative, leading a design team that won two “Best Attraction” Themed Entertainment Association Awards.
Since then, Jimmy has struck out on his own, telling stories through fine art and publishing. As an author and illustrator, Jimmy’s work has graced more than forty children’s books, his illustrations have won prestigious awards (including Illustrator of the Year), and his fine art has been exhibited at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and The Canadian Center of Architecture in Montreal.