michelle valigura's peter pan trinket box (2008)
It's really great to see Disney merchandising moving beyond the model sheets and allowing contemporary artists to interpret their characters! It's an inspired idea that feeds still another generation of fans and collectors.
Michelle Valigura has been producing adorable plush and sculptural work for quite some time now. It's easy to see why she was chosen to design limited edition pieces for the studio - her work has a friendly, childlike quality similar to old-school Disney concept artist Mary Blair.
This trinket box is a great example of her work. The simple shapes and bold colors feel like inspirational art, yet clearly evoke the original characters. The materials and paint treatment give the box a homemade charm, but it doesn't feel flimsy or awkwardly made. It's clearly a dimensional piece, but a strong graphic design, too!
The only somewhat disappointing aspect of this item would be the packaging - I don't have it any longer, but if memory serves it was a glossy black cardboard box. While this approach gets points for restraint, it strikes me as a missed opportunity for showcasing more of Ms. Valigura's artwork.
Created to commemorate Peter Pan's 55th birthday, this box is part of a run of three hundred pieces, and was only sold at Disneyland. Originally it cost $65, but I have seen the odd piece at Disney outlet sales for $30 or $40. These sales are pretty common in California, but I doubt they happen anywhere out of state (though Florida is a possibility).
Happily for collectors, this piece still isn't tough to find on the secondary market - you can buy one right now on eBay for $24.99 + shipping. Hop to it!