Disney characters seem to be the source of inspiration for many contemporary artists recently. We’ve seen the beloved heroines reimagined in a variety of alternative scenarios and styles, from eerie Tim Burton-style princesses to tough girl femme fatales. The latest Disney makeover to catch our eye is the work of Portland-based artist Heather Theurer. The talented painter creates incredible fairytale-inspired oil portraits that look like classic masterpieces from the 19th century Pre-Raphaelites movement.
Theurer describes her work as “a gateway into the reality of your imagination,” which is certainly the case when looking through her impressive portfolio. Each painting not only physically resembles a real-life version of each character, but it also captures the narratives from the books and films they star in. In one piece, titled Elegant Warrior, Disney’s Mulan is beautifully depicted with her sword in hand and posed, ready to fight. In Sewn in his Shadow, Wendy can be seen mending Peter Pan’s shoe, while Tinker Bell sulks nearby. And in We’re all Mad Here, Theurer has painted her own interpretation of Alice “falling down the rabbit hole,” complete with the story’s surreal elements and other characters spinning around her. No matter the character or subject, each piece is perfectly painted and packed full of details.
Just like classical works of art, Theurer’s work has the ability to convey more than just images, and allows for individual interpretations. “I don’t necessarily want the viewer to have the same response to my painting as I have,” she reveals. “Instead, my hope is that the expression I paint on the board through hours of observation and execution of detail will speak to them in a way that ignites thoughts and feelings unique to them.”