Fans of animation and movies like “UP” and the “Toy Story” trilogy gathered for a hero’s homecoming July 31 to recognize Pixar and celebrate the unveiling of the animation studio’s retrospective exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California.
“Pixar: 25 Years of Animation,” is a major collection of more than 500 works by artists at the Pixar Animation Studios – from its earlier pioneering short films to its popular feature movies, including “Toy Story 3.”
Oakland Museum officials said the exhibit is a perfect fit for the museum.
“It was an ideal match,” said Lori Fogarty, executive director of the Oakland Museum of California. “Pixar is the quintessential creative enterprise of California.”
The Emeryville-based animation studio – about 10 miles from the Oakland Museum – considers itself very much a part of the fabric that makes up the East Bay. For starters, about half of Pixar’s 1,100 employees live in the East Bay. Also, the East Bay gets regular shout outs in Pixar movies (see list below).
“I firmly believe that Pixar is a byproduct of the East Bay,” said Rene de Guzman, curator of art at the museum. “The origins are Lucas films (sic), but its first building was in Point Richmond, before it moved to Emeryville.”
Pixar officials said they very much see the Oakland Museum of California – OMCA – as their hometown space.
“Pixar filmmakers are very rooted in living here in Northern California and the East Bay,” said Pixar University director Elyse Klaidman. “As opposed to Los Angeles and Hollywood, it’s very much home.”
De Guzman said Pixar has always been a company different from the mainstream that may be popular and reflects the alternatives of a culture.
“Pixar is Pepsi, not Coke,” he said. “Pixar is Apple, not Microsoft.”
This local love is evident in its famous feature films and also with the artists, designers, writers and directors who work at Pixar.
Working closely with Pixar Animation Studios, the Oakland Museum also will host a series of public educational programs for families, youth, schools and adults. Programs will not only highlight the Pixar exhibition itself, but will link the concepts of creating worlds and stories with exhibits in the newly reinstalled Art and History galleries.
“Because of the proximity of the studio to the museum, many of our artists and technical artists are able to make time to share talks about their work on our films,” Klaidman said. “We are thrilled to be able to give Oakland and the Bay Area community the opportunity to hear from our artists and filmmakers about our process.”
Don't miss the Bay Area references in Pixar films
Toy Story 3
-Above Andy’s closet is a street sign for W. Cutting Blvd., the street on which Pixar’s original headquarters were based.
-The Fenton's ice cream parlor in the movie is based on the real Fenton's restaurant in Oakland.
-Carl’s court summons features the number 94070, which is the zip code for San Carlos – a city in Northern California not far from Pixar. Brad Lewis, who produced Pixar’s “Ratatouille,” was a former mayor of the city.
-One of Russell’s “Wilderness Explorer” badges features a burger with a candle in it, which can be attributed to the “hamburger cake” from Lake Merritt Cafe in Oakland.
-When Carl’s house first lifts off, a street sign indicates he’s going down San Pablo Avenue, the main thoroughfare in Emeryville, California, where Pixar is located.
-Toward the end of the film, there is a sign for Emeryville. You can also spot the Pixar campus.
-The map that can be seen when Mr. Incredible is in the Incredmobile is of Emeryville.
-In the opening chase sequence of the film, Mr. Incredible is chasing the robbers down San Pablo Avenue.
-The cafe in Monstropolis – Hidden City Café – is a real cafe located in Richmond, California.
Related story here.