Tracy LarsenShop Now
Title: Hallmark Artist
Date started at Hallmark: 1987
Date started at Keepsakes: 1995
Hometown: North Ogden, Utah
Like most preschoolers, Tracy Larsen spent a lot of time with cartoons—but instead of just watching them, Tracy studied them! He spent his childhood hours drawing characters from The Flintstones™ and Peanuts®.He also copied newspaper comic strips, but at the mature age of eight, Tracy moved to the more sophisticated material on the editorial page. The 1968 Nixon vs. Humphrey presidential race became a favorite subject. While looking through newspapers and magazines, Tracy started noticing the differences among artists' styles—another aspect of his self-described "knack for art." He studied everything he found around his house, from European magazine illustrations to his own personal favorite of the day: Mad magazine. Tracy did his first sculpting with clay-like kneaded erasers, but through his schooling, moved on to higher-quality materials and projects. He produced his first serious sculpture, a bust of Muhammad Ali, while he was still a teenager. During junior high and high school, Tracy kept honing his skills in his art classes, his primary instructor/mentor being the noted fantasy artist, James Christensen. What a great program those schools must have had, since Tracy is one of several classmates now working as professional artists.
2015 Keepsake Ornaments
4th in the series
Before Tracy Larsen moved to Kansas City 30 years ago, he and his wife often drove past a Victorian home in Salem, Utah, near where they both grew up. The image of it really stayed with him, down to the slope of the eaves and the welcoming porch.
“We’d think about how cool it would be to live there,” Tracy said. “I’ve always liked the architecture of that era.”
When Tracy started designing the 2015 Holiday Lighthouse, he wanted to blend the tower with a house much like the charming one from his hometown.
“A lot of lighthouses were built in the 1800s,” Tracy said. “There are a number in California like this.” A light in the tower rises and falls in brightness to simulate the sweeping of a lighthouse beam. The house also lights from within.
On each of the ornaments in the series, the same characters appear. In this scene, Santa and his polar bear friend realize the lights weren’t put away properly. “It’s that moment when you pull them out and it’s just a giant tangle.”
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