Christophe Vacher is a multi-talented artist who has provided backgrounds and visual development for Walt Disney Feature Animation and the animation industry in general since 1989. A native of France, Vacher worked in different animation studios before joining Disney's Paris-based animation studio for three years, where he painted backgrounds for such animated films as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "Runaway Brain" and served as head of background for the 1995 feature, "A Goofy Movie".
Relocating to California in 1996, he continued his association with Disney, where his credits have included painting backgrounds for "Hercules," "Tarzan" and the Stravinsky Firebird finale for "Fantasia 2000". In addition, he has contributed visual development for the Studio's ambitious in-house computer-animated feature, "Dinosaur."
After working on visual development and backgrounds for "Treasure Planet", he left the Disney studios in February 2002 to share his time between his personal artwork for galleries and movie studios work, as well as books, cds and video game covers. He joined Dreamworks studios in 2004 to do concept Artwork and paintings for diverse movies, including "Shark Tale". He recently did the Art Direction of a CG animated short movie for Studio Arts in Los Angeles, and is now working again for the Disney Studios, doing Production Design/Visual Development on their live-action/animation next movie "Enchanted".
On his work:
"It is hard for me to discuss my own work; like your own handwriting, it is something that, at this point, is simply a part of me. People often ask me:"What inspires you to paint?" or "What's the meaning of your paintings?" Well, my work is mostly inspired by music, travel and personal experiences. Each painting can either put you in another world, in the middle of a story or simply be the expression in symbols of my inner feelings. "The Messengers", for instance, was painted after my first trip to Ireland in 1995. "The Rebirth" was partly inspired by my moving to the USA in 1996. Pieces like "The Canyon", "The Legacy" or "Mount of the Immortals" are more abstract in their meaning and express more personal reflections.
In terms of technique, I generally work on canvas prepared with two coats of gesso. I do a pencil sketch on paper, then on the canvas before painting with oils and alkyds or acrylic.
Even though animation has helped me a lot in practicing my skills, my actual style is influenced by old schools like the Hudson River, The Romantics and the European Symbolists for their grandiose, theatrical scenery; my style has also been shaped by contemporary artists like Sandorfi, Beksinski, Ugarte and The Visionaries (Les Visionnaires) in France. All of these I credit for their striking visions."
- Christophe Vacher