Orville Wilson

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Keepsake Artist Orville Wilson


Orville Wilson signature

Orville Wilson

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.


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.”

Ollivanders Wand Shop

Harry Potter™
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), Harry visits Diagon Alley to find a proper wand. Orville was more than happy to take on the challenge of paying tribute to that early scene in Ollivanders Wand Shop.

He gathered any image that showed the shop’s rich detail. Then he started by visually unfolding the main section of the shop as if he were taking apart a packaging box. He put the unfolded image through Photoshop and used individual bricks to create the pattern. As he moved those images back through MODO, it acquired the look of real, sculpted brick.

The shop lights up when the ornament is placed over a standard bulb on a light string. Through the windows, you see the wands stacked up on shelves. And if you look into the “magic” window viewer on the back of the ornament you can see the inside of the shop!

Orville, who has also designed a Hogwarts castle ornament, says he’s a fan of all the movies and enjoyed being able to capture the lighthearted sense of discovery early in the series.

Find Keepsakes at your local Hallmark Gold Crown store.


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NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION and all related characters and elements © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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)