SMITHSONIAN ARTICLE: How Tyrus Wong's Christmas Cards Captivated the American Public
Journal of Asian American Studies | Ann Thuy-Ling Tran, UC Irvine
"Wong’s story reminds us that one can be excluded from the national terrain of culture even while being the literal hand in its very production. As much of the emphasis in Asian American cultural studies is on more contemporary popular culture, scholars who are interested in early twentieth-century Asian American popular culture will find this film to be an invaluable contribution to fields related to historic Asian American visual cultures."
"A fascinating and well-made documentary of interest to artists, art and film history enthusiasts, and students of Asian American and popular culture studies."
Andy Horbal, University of Maryland Libraries
Second, by detailing the specific consequences of the institutional and personal racism that Wong faced throughout his career and life, Tyrus reveals just how far-reaching the costs of such behavior can be to an entire society. To again focus on Wong’s career in the movies, the film conclusively establishes that racism was responsible for his being fired from Disney with a year to go in the production of Bambi and subsequently improperly credited as being merely one of many “background artists” who worked on it. In addition to resulting in many decades passing before his true role was acknowledged (and therefore understood), this incident also presumably figured prominently in Wong’s decision to decline an invitation to work on the 1998 Disney production Mulan more than 50 years later. This story and others told by Wong, such as one about a Japanese-American contemporary who never painted again after being interned during World War II, helps the viewer realize how hard it is to measure what is lost when an entire group of people is denied the right to participate fully in the life of a country just because of what they look like or where they’re from. It’s not just the art that Wong or his contemporaries didn’t produce that you have to account for, it’s also the work of the countless other artists they never got a chance to inspire or mentor. [...]"
Nancy Beiman, Professor of Animation
Dr. Amy Davis, Lecturer, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education and author of Good Girls & Wicked Witches: Women in Disney's Feature Animation
University of Maryland, Baltimore County | Corrie Francis Parks, Assistant Professor, Animation
"I think students would get a lot out of the film and it would make a great interdisciplinary event on campus."
"He is such a magnificent artist. I lack the vocabulary to capture how much Mr. Wong's work moves me. His art, all of it, even the Hallmark cards, are so beautiful and powerful and profound. I just see this powerful artist trained in the Chinese brush coming to see and draw the world through the eyes of numerous great artists and traditions and then synthesizing them all in new and magnetic ways that are true to his own individual vision, life experience and personal inspiration. The film is a visual delight."
"While Tyrus is a film that puts a human face to our nation of immigrants, it is also a love story about family and art, from his father’s early encouragement to Wong’s own paternal instinct."
Otis College of Art and Design | Joan Takayama-Ogawa, Professor
"Tyrus is a beautiful film about resilience over racism, working hard, pursuing a dream, learning that we can't fix all things but can learn to carry them with us. Pam Tom and everyone related to the film did a wonderful job. I was completely engaged and transported. I am reminded that I need to bring more Asian American role models to Otis, as my Chinese and Korean students were deeply touched."