Arts & Culture

Colossal Characters: Live Plein Air Painting with James Gurney & Friends

  • Friday, Oct 27th, 2023, 10:00am - 12:00pm

To kick off LightBox Expo 2023, artist and author James Gurney (Dinotopia) and friends present a live 'plein air' painting event in front of the iconic Pasadena City Hall and throughout downtown Pasadena. As animators, concept artists, and illustrators arrive in Pasadena for the imagination celebration that is LightBox Expo 2023, a dozen mentors and guides have joined together to put on Colossal Characters.

Equipped with their sketchbooks, 12 professional artists wearing orange caps will lead the art event, where artists will draw or paint on location while imagining a giant character visiting Pasadena. The character can come from animation, movies, video games, or comics. The interaction between the character and Pasadena can be anything from playful to apocalyptic.

Open to the public, all ages and skill levels are invited to create their own Colossal Characters as they experience the collision of fantasy and reality. Any additional artist can join the fun and sketch their concept. Participating artists don't have to be part of Lightbox Expo. They can be any age or any level of skill or experience. Kids are welcome and encouraged. Each participant should bring their own materials, including a toy or figurine for reference. Each participant receives an official sticker or button. Members of the general public can just come to see art being made.

Online: Other artists participating online will be sketching colossal characters in their town or city. Their work will appear in a Facebook group page called "Colossal Characters." There will be another Facebook group for artists working digitally, in CGI, animation, or A.I.

The mentors include James Gurney, Marco Bucci, Gary Geraths, Angela Sung, Michelle Lin, and four concept artists from Blizzard.

Mentors include:

James Gurney
Gary Geraths
Marco Bucci
Angela Sung
Michelle Lim

"This is in part a positive, creative response to the looming threat of computer systems that can visualize anything. We're gonna just do what humans do best: grab our paints or markers and a blank sheet of paper and have fun using our imaginations to do some 'plein-air surrealism,'" said James Gurney.

The event was inspired by James Gurney's live demonstration pop-up at LightBox Expo 2022 in front of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, as shown in the event images. (Photo credit: Keith Acedera)

City Hall

Historic Civic Building . The exquisite 1927 landmark exhibits Italian Renaissance and Spanish influences with its...

Venue Information

  • Pasadena City Hall
  • 100 Garfield Ave.
    Pasadena, California 91101

Event Information