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Karen Connolly Armitage

Karen Connolly Armitage says her deep love for stories, was inherited from her father, the Historian. From her mother the Librarian, she acquired a love for research. Blessed with an innate ability to sketch, draw and illustrate, plus an intuitive sense of scale, space and construction, she began to create inspiring images for clients based solely on their words and phrases and continues to do so today.

Her career started as a scenic designer for operas, ballets, and dramatic theatre. Karen began to hone her drawing, illustrative and design skills as a collaborative artist, working with not only with actors, directors, and other artists, but developers, historians, and technical crews as well. This lead to four years with Larkins Associates in St. Louis Missouri, where she collaborated on the development of theming interiors and exteriors for two Anheuser Busch theme parks in Virginia and Florida.

Karen spent 26 years (1977-2003) as a Senior Concept Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, Ca. Assignment highlights:

  • Conceptual art direction for Hong Kong Disneyland Main Street
  • Overall interior art direction for Frontierland, Disneyland Paris as well as designing, concepting and producing many shops, restaurants, theatrical show spaces for all Disney theme parks including MGM Studio tour, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida, Disneyland, CA, Tokyo Disneyland and future projects including WESTCOT and Disney Seas

Now residing in Central California she continues to consult in the international theme park world as well as the residential world producing custom design packages for new and remodeled homes. She also supports several local developers in the Central California area. She brings over 30 years of experience from the theatre, theme park, hospitality, museum, dining and retail worlds to the conceptual and developmental design process of every project.

Frank Armitage A native Australian, Frank Armitage in his early career, became involved with the Mexican mural painting movement and, in 1949, after winning an international mural contest sponsored by David Alfaro Siquieros, world renowned Mexican muralist, he became his assistant on several murals in Public Buildings in Mexico. He moved to Los Angeles in 1952 and worked at the Walt Disney Studios on animation backgrounds and layout for such feature films as Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Man In Space, Mary Poppins, and The Jungle Book. Frank joined Disney Imagineering in 1977. His artwork of anatomical subject matter was a prime factor in paving the way for the Wonders of Life Pavilion at EPCOT Center in Florida.

Some of the most prominent work by Frank Armitage includes illustrating the function of the brain, a project for LIFE Magazine. In 1971, partnering with the extraordinary photographic work of Lennart Nilsson. Frank also did the production illustration for Academy Award winning film, Fantastic Voyage for 20th Century Fox. This body of work now resides in the permanent collection of the Department of Biomedical Information Services, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Since retiring from Disney in 1989, Frank completed a course in Oriental Medicine and pursued postgraduate work in Acupuncture in China. He volunteers in rural Mexico with the Flying Doctors.

At present time the artist has produced oil paintings and murals for private homes in Woodside, Saratoga, Los Angeles and Paso Robles, California. Mr. Armitage is available for commissioned work.