Two local artists and former Disney cast members have more than a dozen oil paintings on display at the Arts and Heritage Center this month.
The arts and heritage center in Oakland is hosting an exhibit of more than a dozen oil paintings by two former Walt Disney Imagineers.
Dave Minichiello and Joe Warren are featured in “Small Town Charm,” on display through June 11 at the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland.
All of their paintings are specific to Oakland, and many of their pieces express two different takes on the same subject. Their paintings originate in the field — usually working side by side — and are finished in the studio.
“One of the fun things to see in this exhibition is how two artists interpret in their own style the same location in their paintings,” Minichiello said.
The two share a passion for plein air painting, a type of landscape painting that is created outdoors — both mastering the style while working at Walt Disney Imagineering. Warren retired in 2013, and Minichiello recently retired, giving them more opportunities to paint together.
“Our reunion was a positive result of the COVID virus, oddly enough,” Warren said.
They chose to paint in the plein air style in Oakland because of the town’s traditional old-Florida character in the historical buildings and the large oak trees.
“And because of how wonderful and inviting the people who live and work in the town of Oakland were to us,” Minichiello added. “The people … we met were all very proud of their town, shared the history that they knew about the buildings we were painting with us and told us they were very happy to see us painting there.”
Painting on location allows the artists to “capture the true color, light and overall spirit of each subject,” Minichiello said. “Painting on location compared to from photos allows us to see and react to and capture the light, colors and feel of the location. This is what we strive for in our plein air paintings to truly capture the feel of the subject and location at the time and on the day we painted it.
“Our plein air paintings are a documentation of the location and environments that we paint of that exact day and time,” he said.
The artists said they are thrilled to have their paintings on display at the new arts center, which is a well-lit, attractive gallery space that provides a positive presentation of the paintings, Warren said.
“Because the Arts and Heritage Center is located in the town center of this beautiful community, it really is the ideal place for the community to enjoy experiences like our exhibition,” Minichiello said. “And the surround windows on two sides of the exhibition space from inside of the Arts & Heritage Center surrounds you and connects you with the beautiful environment of the town center.”
Minichiello is an alumnus of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. During his 41 years at Disney, he worked with teams as the executive creative director to design, art direct and build many themed experiences and attractions around the world. He has had a passion for painting his entire life. While traveling around the world both personally and professionally, he documented his journeys by creating plein air painting on location and in travel sketchbooks.
Warren was the creative lead producing art and illustration and managing a team of artists and designers at Disney for 23 years. He also assisted with an artist development program that included plein air painting locally and in Montana. Before working at Disney, he taught painting and was the head of the Art Department at Kenyatta University. He taught drawing at Wayne State University. He holds master art degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
For more information about the artists, visit warrenpaintings.com and daveminichiello.com.