Christophe Vacher is a French artist who has provided Backgrounds, Visual Development and Art Direction for Disney, Dreamworks, Universal Studios and the animation industry since 1989. He worked in many small animation studios before joining Disney's Paris-based animation unit for three years, where he painted backgrounds for such animated films as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "Runaway Brain" and served as head of background for the 1995 feature, "A Goofy Movie". Relocating to California in 1996, he continued his association with Disney, where his credits have included painting backgrounds and concept artwork for "Dinosaur", "Hercules," "Tarzan", the Stravinsky Firebird finale for "Fantasia 2000" and "Treasure Planet". He also worked on Dreamworks' "Shark Tale" doing concept Artwork and paintings.
In 2004, Vacher became Art Director, first on a CG animated short movie for Studio Arts in Los Angeles, then for the animated segment of Disney's live action movie "Enchanted", and eventually for the CG feature film "9", produced by Tim Burton and directed by Shane Acker, for which he got a 2010 Annie Awards Nomination (the equivalent of the Academy Awards for Animation) in the category "Best Production Design for a Feature Production". He worked for a few months as production designer on the upcoming movie "Heroes and Monsters" and as a visual development artist for Universal Studios on "Despicable Me".
Christophe Vacher on his personal work:
"It is hard for me to discuss my own work; like your own handwriting, it is something that, at this point, is simply a part of me. People often ask me: 'What inspires you to paint?' or 'What's the meaning of your paintings?' Well, my work is mostly inspired by music, travel and personal experiences. Each painting can either put you in another world, in the middle of a book story or simply be the expression in symbols of my inner feelings. "The Messengers", for instance, was painted after my first trip to Ireland in 1995.
"The Rebirth" was partly inspired by my moving to the USA in 1996. Pieces like "The Canyon" or "The Legacy" are more abstract in their meaning and express more personal reflections. In terms of technique, I generally work on canvas prepared with two coats of gesso. I do a pencil sketch on paper, then on the canvas before I start painting with oils and alkyds or acrylic. But I also like to try other mediums, like ink or mixed media and watercolors.
Even though animation has helped me a lot in practicing my skills, my personal style is influenced by old schools like the Hudson River School, The Romantics and the European Symbolists for their grandiose, theatrical scenery; my style has also been shaped by contemporary artists like Sandorfi, Beksinski, Ugarte and The Visionaries (Les Visionnaires) in France. All of these I credit for their striking visions."
Christophe Vacher is currently working at Hasbro studios on the CG animated TV series 'Transformers Prime' for The Hub channel, and just won an Emmy Award for his color and lighting design on the show. In parallel to his work in Animation, he has been developing his own paintings for Art Galleries. His inventory has almost entirely sold. He now shares his time between doing artwork and instructing Martial Arts and Fitness (Christophe has been in Martial Arts and Sports since the age of 13). He lives in Toluca Lake, California and frequently travels all over the world.