Disney reimagined: Wyethe Smallish
Wyethe Smallish ’23, currently studying Illustration and Communication Design, started re-drawing Disney characters with fuller and more proportional figures this August. The recordings she took of the process went viral on TikTok and resulted in a Buzzfeed feature in September of 2022.
The videos, available on Smallish’s TikTok, make slight alterations to the bodies of well-known characters like Cinderella, Belle and Adam from “Beauty and the Beast” and Jasmine from “Aladdin.” Her video reimagining Megara from “Hercules” as more curvy and proportional currently has 8.3 million views and over a million likes. “I have been using my art to learn to love my body just the way it is,” Smallish said in the Buzzfeed story. “I started with Cinderella, and once I had her drawn, I had an unexpected emotional response… It would have made a huge impact on me as a young girl to see Cinderella with a proportionate waist and fuller arms!”
Commenters have also experienced emotional responses to seeing common and relatable mid- and plus-size representation. One viewer commented on Smallish’s Cinderella video, “…honestly this is just an average size! Disney just makes us feel like medium is large.” Another expressed relief after seeing Aurora’s (“Sleeping Beauty”) transformation: “I feel like I could breathe easier watching this,” they said. “I believe art and creativity play an integral role in healing the world, because what we see in the media has an enormous impact on our own self image,” Smallish stated in an email interview with MIAD. “Expanding diversity and increasing representation through illustration is one way we can make a more inclusive world.”
Smallish appreciates the role the MIAD community has played in her development as an artist. “I have met some wonderful students and faculty that [helped] push my craft to a whole other level,” she says. “My typography 2 class this past semester was one of my favorite classes I have ever taken! I have fallen in love with typography and I am SO okay with it!” Smallish is not the first in her family to attend MIAD. In fact, both her parents as well as her grandmother attended the college. “…it’s just always been the place I have wanted to be!” she says.
In the 50th anniversary year at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), the college presents “Growing Resistance: Untold Stories of Milwaukee’s Community Guardians,” an exhibition in the Brooks Stevens Gallery running January 8 – March 2, 2024. Related programs include zine making, a book club, student-guided tours and a story circle with community partners.
Eye-opening and awe-inspiring: this is how Nirmal Raja ’08 (Painting) describes learning to work with liquid metal. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) alum recently completed the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Arts/Industry Residency in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Dale Shidler, Professor of Communication Design, received the January 2024 MIAD Values Recognition Award at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). Dale’s nominations highlighted his embodiment of MIAD’s Core Values, especially Integrity, Kindness and Community.
Four Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) community members will contribute to the first floor of the new ThriveOn King community hub on North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. They make up part of the 20 Milwaukee artists who will convey the history and heritage of Bronzeville in this collaborative space.
The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) Board of Trustees welcomed two new members at their January 2024 meeting. Dr. Daniel A. Schroeder, co-founder and president/CEO of Organization Development Consultants, Inc. (ODC), and Noah Stone, reference librarian and circulation assistant at North Shore Public Library, joined MIAD’s Board.