Past Speaker

Ken Spirduso: Disney Artist and Classical Teacher

Art in a Classical School

art class classical school

Covenant Academy, Houston, TX

Ken Spirduso has numerous credits for feature animated films and video games. He has created concept art and murals for theme parks around the world, and has painted book covers, illustrations, and fine art.

As a painter, Ken has focused on commissioned portraits, historical painting, and equestrian art. As a layout animation artist, Ken designed environments, camera movement, and lighting for films such as Thumbelina, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Tarzan, Lilo and Stitch, John Henry, Trail Mixup, and Brother Bear. Ken has painted backgrounds for films such as Brother Bear, My Peoples, Curious George, Henry and Me, and Princess and the Frog.

​DS Video game credits include Call of Duty World at War, Star Wars Battlefront Elite Squadron, Tron, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, and Toy Story 3.

​Ken has built and taught online courses for the Academy of Art University, Veritas Press Scholars Academy and Schola Artium Classical Art Academy. In addition, he has taught in the classroom with the Orlando Museum of Art, The Lynchburg Academy and the Huntsville Museum of Art. He is currently teaching Visual Development, and Painting at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Ken and his wife, Caroline, have two children, Ian and Katherine.

The Art of Seeing: Through the eyes of a Disney artist & classical teacher

I now understand that worldview influences artwork. One of my favorite books is “State of the Arts” by Gene Edward Veith in which he explains the philosophical movements that guided the visual arts. As a student, I merely studied schools of art as a means to understanding technique. I never asked the important and interesting questions, “Why did Monet paint differently than Rembrandt?” “Why does the Renaissance wing of a museum look different than the Baroque wing?” Understanding that the look of art is driven not only by technical innovations but by the worldviews behind it is fundamental to an art education.
–Ken Spirduso