Backstory: Tyrus Wong

Tyrus WongThis week's photo by Gary Leonard, as writer Rip Rense rightly suggests via email, might benefit from some background. Tyrus Wong, pictured celebrating his 100th birthday at the beach, is described by the Amoeba Music blog as "a Chinese-American artist who's most best-known work was as the background artist largely responsible for the look of Walt Disney's 1942 film Bambi.' He's also worked as a landscape painter, muralist, ceramicist, lithographer, designer and kite maker. Some of his well known paintings include Self Portrait, Fire, Reclining Nude, East and West. At 100 years old today and one of the earliest successful Chinese-American artists, he is a living legend."

Wong graduated from the Otis art school in 1930, when classes were still held in the former mansion of Gen. Harrison Gray Otis at Wilshire and Park View, beside what was then called Westlake Park. Rense wrote about Wong as the Kite Man of Sunland for the L.A. Times in 1989.

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