We all know Disney’s version of Snow White, but the classic fairy tale that inspired the 1937 animated feature film is much more grim — literally. As recorded by the Brothers Grimm, the original story involves a bloody boar’s heart, an apple-induced coma, and other nightmarish tidbits, all promising generations of children around the world many, many sleepless nights. Naturally, Disney edited some of those details for Depression-era kids, whose real-life challenges were horrible enough. We’ve had countless adaptations since, from the likes of the Three Stooges and the Hallmark channel to the porn, music, and video-game industries. Nowadays, there’s Mirror, Mirror, the 3D film starring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, and Snow White and the Huntsman, featuring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Bob Hoskins, and Eddie Izzard.
While the Walt Disney Company’s application for the name “Snow White” is pending in the US Patent and Trademark Office, artists continue to interpret the beloved piece of 17th century European folklore, including Camille Rose Garcia. Her new watercolor series is a visual narrative that recalls Disney’s eponymous heroine, while also remaining true to the Brothers Grimm.
Michael Kohn Gallery exhibits Camille Rose Garcia’s original paintings in Snow White: The Complete Works on Paper. But you don’t have to live in Los Angeles to check out the show, because HarperCollins has come out with a related publication, featuring art by Camille Rose Garcia and text by the Brothers Grimm. We’ve also got a few images right here, with commentary by the artist herself.
“In this scene, the hunter is supposed to kill Snow White, but he can’t bear it, so he releases her into the forest. For inspiration, I always look to old cartoons, and for this project, I, of course, watched the Disney animated Snow White. I love how the watercolored backgrounds in that film are sort of muted, and the characters really pop in the scenes. I wanted to emulate that feeling here.” — Camille Rose Garcia
“The dwarves were the hardest characters to design, as I subconsciously wanted to draw Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful, Doc, etc. I looked at a lot of different versions of how the dwarves have been drawn over time; they usually look like creepy wrinkled dirty hobos. As much as I liked that, I went for more of a 1920s cartoony version. I did give the one dwarf a beer, though.” — Camille Rose Garcia
“In this scene, the Witch tries to suffocate Snow White by pulling her corset laces too tight, and she passes out. I loved creating this interaction of the horrible murderous Witch/Queen and the innocent Snow White; I think this painting captures that contrast perfectly.” — Camille Rose Garcia
“Well, I love a good villain, and if they can have a dungeon with a wide assortment of poisons, then I am truly in heaven. Again, I like to do the backgrounds more suggestively, so the focus is on the action of the characters. The idea for the queen’s hairdo came from looking at pictures of insect bodies.” — Camille Rose Garcia
“In this scene, Snow White is about to eat the poisoned apple the queen made in her dungeon. She then dresses up like an old witchy crone and tricks Snow White into accepting the apple. I used the blue and green on the witch here, as I wanted her to feel very cold and moldy, like she just crawled out of a drippy black lagoon.” — Camille Rose Garcia
“In most depictions of this scene, the prince arrives on a white horse and rescues Snow White, but I wanted to have him riding giant swans instead of a horse. Why, you must ask? Well, I based the look of the prince off of Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was called the “Swan King”, as he built the most extravagant fairy tale castle, Neuschwanstein, aka “New Stone Swan.” Not only is it in the Black Forest, but the Disneyland castle is based on this famous German castle, and its image reappears in many Disney films, including the end of Snow White.” — Camille Rose Garcia
(All photos courtesy Camille Rose Garcia and Michael Kohn Gallery)