Artist’s Cinderella Empowerment Artwork Highlights 4,400 Pieces on Disney Cruise Ship Wish – Orlando Sentinel

With over 4,400 works of art aboard the new Disney Wish cruise ship, you’d think it would be hard to pinpoint the most stunning piece. For those who wandered the stairwells of the ship which sailed its christening cruise last week, a piece titled “Cindys”, however, caught the eye.

The print of what was originally a digital artwork by Nikkolas Smith, 37, of Los Angeles looks like an oil painting, and it shows 10 versions of the famous Disney princess helping each other to climb from the depths of darkness on a cliff with a shimmering castle behind.

“I just wanted to create something that was ambitious, but also representative of all women and the strength that women have,” he said.

The Houston native signs his art simply as “Nikkolas” and has been a full-time artist after spending more than a decade working as an architect for Disney Imagineering.

“It’s like every woman gets up after being knocked down, because it’s like that Cinderella story – just being at the bottom, like being pushed to the lowest point and then being able to get back up – rising from the ashes. And so I wanted to create this kind of darkness, this cave atmosphere and all these women helping each other.

It’s a gritty take on the traditional Disney take with the heights, national origins, and skin tones of these 10 versions of Cinderella evident in their break from the traditional mode.

“I wanted to show all these different variations of this kind of traditional Cinderella that we know – to show that every woman has Cinderella, to show that character, but in every possible way that you can imagine from every part of the world and every culture. “, did he declare. said.

He was happy to find that the crowd reaction to the article was so positive, as friends told him after the ship sailed with passengers for the first time last Wednesday, and he spoke about it on the networks socials with commentators remarking on how moved they were by the play.

“I just wanted to say that the strength of women is unparalleled, and maybe that’s why there is always such an intense effort to take the power away from women, but I don’t think it will work,” did he declare. “There is something about the strength and the will of a woman, always on the rise.”

He noted that even though he created the piece in the past, its significance with recent events is more important than ever.

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“With everything going on in terms of women’s rights, it’s pretty perfect to have the opportunity to talk about it now,” he said. “The parallels are there to say that we need to talk about women’s rights. We need to talk about the strength that women have.

People have asked for a copy of the play, but he hasn’t discussed it with Disney yet, he said. His other works are available at

He rose to prominence for a previous piece he produced for Disney called ‘King Chad’ which showed a small child undergoing cancer treatment wearing a Black Panther T’Challa mask returning a cross salute to the actor Chadwick Boseman. This was displayed at Downtown Disney in California, but is now on permanent display at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

As an Imagineer, he worked on the Avengers Campus at Disney’s California Adventure Park for many years, among other projects. While attending Hampton University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Hampton, Virginia, he was able to enter the Imaginations design competition started by Imagineer Marty Sklar, which led to an internship, then to a job as an architect from 2008 to 2019. .

“I was doing art evenings and weekends, and I was doing what I call my Sunday sketch series – it’s a work of art every Sunday, it was like making art while I was an architect and realizing at some point that I should be doing art full time,” he said.

Now that he’s left Disney, he continues to work with them, including a new project with Imagineering and a Marvel children’s book.

“I do a lot of Disney stuff now… It’s a great relationship,” he said. “There are all these moments where it’s kind of like a looping moment that reminds me of my Disney days.”

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