Orville WilsonShop Now
Title: Hallmark Production Artist
Date started at Hallmark: 1996
Date started at Keepsakes: 2006
Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas
Ever since Orville was in grade school, he wanted to be an artist. Because his mother liked to draw, she encouraged him to pursue a career in art. While in high school, he always participated in art fairs with his drawings and paintings.
After college, he held a variety of design jobs ranging from working for a screen print company to one that produced sports trading cards—all of which prepared him for a job at Hallmark. He started his career at Hallmark in season cards, but was always interested in Keepsake 3-D designing and was happy to be selected to work with this group.
Outside of work, he enjoys travel, martial arts (Kung Fu) and video gaming. Not surprisingly, one of his favorite ornaments that he has worked on was based on the Pac-Man® arcade game which he always loved playing!
Family Truckster Takes Flight
Whenever Orville Wilson starts working on an ornament that celebrates an iconic pop-culture moment, he always goes back to the source.
“I have to get back to that scene to make sure I’m remembering it correctly. And it was really fun just to go back through and watch the actual movie again,” Orville says. “I’m a big fan of the whole series.”
He saw the original Vacation with his mom back in 1983, when it first came out. He and his mom loved going to movies together at the historic theater in downtown Kansas City, Mo., that used to be called the Empire (now the Alamo). It’s where they saw Jaws, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.
Since becoming a Keepsake artist, Orville has worked on a number of ornaments representing legendary scenes from movie history. For the Vacation series, Orville also created A Bright and Merry Christmas, which shows Clark Griswold lighting up his entire house.
To capture the sense of motion when the Griswold family Truckster goes through the barricade in the middle of the desert, Orville used an animation program. He put a specific filter over the image of the barricade to show the wood splintering. “That gave it more of a real feel, with the parts and pieces broken up. It looks the way it would look if it were cracked open in real life.”
The ornament also features the sounds from that memorable scene.
THE WIZARD OF OZ™
Orville’s not just interested in recent cinema. He remembers seeing THE WIZARD OF OZ™ as an 8-year-old, visiting his grandparents’ house. He thinks he’s seen it 20 more times since then. “They play it every year,” Orville says. “It’s a classic.”
He describes this ornament as a memorable snapshot. The YELLOW BRICK ROAD™ winds toward the city, which lights up and plays a portion of “We’re Off to See the Wizard.” LED lights shine through the green-tinted, glittery structure to create the city’s inner glow.
To create a prototype, Orville used a combination of techniques. For the main part of EMERALD CITY™, he used a graphics program called MODO. For the more detail-oriented foreground, with the YELLOW BRICK ROAD™, the poppies and grass, he paired MODO with a program called ZBrush. He wanted to make sure the field looked as if it were full of flowers, just like in that sleepy scene with Dorothy and her friends. “It gets you as close as possible to a hand sculptor,” Orville says. “It’s like digital clay.”
2013 Keepsake Ornaments
“Everything I do, even sculpting, is on the computer. I do some animation here and there, so I got to create the animation for the light up effects on this ornament. I had to watch Disney’s opening scene with the fireworks display over and over again and I got to look at some of the old Walt Disney cartoons, too. It brought back some good memories from when I was a little kid. This ornament was especially fun to show off during signing event sneak peeks. I asked, ‘any Disney fans out there?’ The Keepsake fans got all excited, I hit the button and when I played it you could just see their jaws drop! The fireworks display goes off with the sound, so it’s really cool.”
Wagon Queen Family Truckster
National Lampoon’s Vacation
“This ornament shows one of the funniest scenes of National Lampoon’s Vacation, but I can’t believe that I was allowed to keep the aunt on the top of the station wagon! There’s a guy here in town that has a replica of the car from the movie, so I actually went out and took pictures of his car for reference. Some of the actors from the film had signed the glove box, so it was pretty cool to get to see that in person. I looked at those photographs for all the little details of the car. I’ve done all the National Lampoon ornaments from the past few years. This year’s plays ‘Holiday Road,’ the theme song from the movie. I have all the National Lampoon movies and I’m a big fan.”
THE WIZARD OF OZ and all related characters and elements © & ™ Turner Entertainment Co. Judy Garland as Dorothy from THE WIZARD OF OZ. (s16)
HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s16)