A Lehigh Carbon Community College alumnus’ interest in cartoons and animation recently led to the opportunity to be one of 90 artists featured in an exhibit dedicated to Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday.
“This is my take on the iconic scene in pop culture of King Kong climbing the Empire State Building, but applied to the world of Disney,” said Corey Reifinger, referring to his piece that depicts a larger-than-life Mickey Mouse scaling the castle at Disneyland, a trapped Minnie Mouse clutched in his hand. “I wanted to come up with something that was quirky but still captured the nature of the brand. Mickey is the king of the Disney brand, so my idea was to have him crawl up the castle.”
The Mickey Mouse Arthouse exhibit is on display in Melbourne, Australia. Artists were invited to reimagine the world’s most famous mouse, and the result is a bright, upbeat, diverse tribute to the iconic character.
“I was looking at everything and really saturating myself in all these images of Mickey Mouse,” the Philadelphia-based graphic artist said. “My inspiration for the piece came from my attraction to classic horror cinema posters crossed with the bright, playful nature of Disney animation. I was referencing the dynamic layouts and character treatment in posters like ‘The Invisible Man,’ ‘Mothra,’ ‘The Blob,’ ‘King Kong,’ and ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon.’ The way the prints painted such a vibrant depiction of the character was on my mind as I created the illustration.”
Reifinger earned an associate degree in studio art from LCCC, spending much of his time at the Baum School of Art in Allentown. He then transferred to Kutztown University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication design. After graduation, Reifinger worked at an advertising agency in Connecticut and then at Johnny Cupcakes, a clothing brand based in Boston, until he decided to launch his own business.
The Mickey Mouse exhibit was by invitation only, and Reifinger got involved when a fan of Johnny Cupcakes reached out to him about the exhibit. Reifinger’s illustrative style, which is heavily influenced by cartoons and animation, made him a good fit.
“I grew up watching ‘The Simpsons’ and reading ‘Garfield,’ so that stuck with me. Later on, I started paying more attention to movie posters and album covers and studying things like typography on the cover art and liner notes.”
The Mickey Mouse Arthouse Exhibition runs until February 28, 2019. For more information on Reifinger’s work, visit coreyreifinger.com.