For the News-Gazette
Celebration resident and oil painter Rob Kaz is among the few artists who were hand selected to share their artwork in Disney’s Inaugural International Festival of the Arts at Epcot.
His collection “Friends Along the Way” — which features a tiny green frog who meets many other
original characters through his adventures — will be showcased in the James Coleman Studios display near the German pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase.
“This is a really wonderful festival that highlights the arts,” said Kaz. “Being a local, this is really exciting for me. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of… Walking around the Food and Wine Festival, seeing the artists, wishing I could be part of it.”
Kaz, a criminal justice graduate from the University of Central Florida who plans to go into law enforcement, said art was always just a hobby as a child. He never intended to make it a career.
“You can say fate, you can say luck,” said Kaz. “It was the same day I got a rejection letter from a job that I had applied for, that I was hired on the spot to become an artist at an animation studio.”
Kaz decided to take the leap and completely change his career path.
“It was a calculated risk,” said Kaz. “I had some money saved up and decided to take the chance.”
Kaz first worked in animation studios, before landing a spot at Electronic Arts (EA Games). His distinctive style is reflective of his background in animation and video game art.
Now, licensed to paint both Disney and Star Wars, Kaz is quickly gaining notoriety in the art world. Star Wars creator George Lucas recently acquired two of Kaz’s paintings, with the intention to display them in the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
The festival began Jan. 13 and will run every Friday – Monday until Feb. 20. Kaz will be painting live, signing prints and painting daily event-exclusive originals. Entrance to the festival requires entrance to Disney’s Epcot theme park.