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Will the Pain Ever End? 2016 Died and Took the Creator of Bambi With it

Tyrus Wong in 2015 (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong in 2015 (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Even if the actual ball drop is kinda hazy, as long as you’re reading this, you’ve made it to 2017. Congratulations. Seriously though, 2016 was the worst. Case in point: by the time Friday rolled around, it might have seemed like we were in the clear, but 2016 dropped a final insult on top of relentless injury on its way out the door: the death of Tyrus Wong, the artist responsible for Disney’s “Bambi.” You heard right, 2016 killed the dude who created mother-freaking Bambi. 

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Tyrus Wong, Visionary Behind Disney’s Bambi, Peeped His Solo Exhibit at MOCA

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b. 1910). <em>Bambi</em>, 1942 Visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Mike Glad. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b. 1910). Bambi, 1942 Visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Mike Glad. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Wong looks at a photo of himself and his wife Ruth taken at their home in Southern California in the 1950s. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Wong looks at a photo of himself and his wife Ruth taken at their home in Southern California in the 1950s. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong, <em>Bambi</em> (visual development), 1942. Watercolor on paper; 10 x 11.5 in. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family, ©Disney. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong, Bambi (visual development), 1942. Watercolor on paper; 10 x 11.5 in. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family, ©Disney. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Wong with Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of Museum of Chinese in America (far left) and Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President (center). (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Wong with Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of Museum of Chinese in America (far left) and Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President (center). (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b.1910). <em>Bambi</em>, 1942 visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b.1910). Bambi, 1942 visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b.1910). <em>Bambi</em>, 1942 visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b.1910). Bambi, 1942 visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

If you’ve seen the Disney animated classic Bambi, you’ve experienced the art of Tyrus Wong. An exhibition of his work opened Wednesday night at the Museum of Chinese in America. It’s titled Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong. Wong, who is 104 years old, attended the Chinatown event. We walked with him during his first look at the collection of his life’s work.

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