I didn’t know there was a word like ‘disneyfication’ just a day ago. But it has evidently been used by sociologists since 1959 to define the commercial transformation of a culture focused on rapid Western-style globalisation and consumerist lifestyles resembling Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
However, the Dutch illustrator Isa Bredt gave it a different meaning. In Bredt’s vocabulary, ‘disneyfication’ is a mode of transportation. One that gets the animals into the world of animation. Through her project Pet Disneyfication, the 22-year-old artist transforms people’s pet photos into Disney-style illustrations, and they’re spot-on. The facial features, the expressions; the stars of the next Walt Disney movie look like all the critters in Bredt’s series!
Bredt’s been in love with drawing since she was very young, but she really began to think of it as a profession at the end of high school. These ideas led her to study illustration and animation, but during the third year, Bredt left her programme to pursue pet portrait work.
“Pet disneyfications is something I did very sporadically in my free time for about 5 years,” Bredt said. “I started because I was and still am a big fan of both the drawing of animals and the old Disney style.
The Tilburg-based artist, however, pointed out that she was by no means an employee of Disney. “I am just a very big fan. The Lion King is my all time favourite movie, I used to watch it daily as a child. I adore the old animal movies; Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians, the Aristocats.”
The pet disneyfications began on Reddit. “There was a subreddit where you could offer free art to people. I wanted to practise the Disney style, so I offered free drawings for people who would send me pictures of their pets.”
That was when Bredt was 16, back in 2014. “I did this a few times and people really enjoyed it, though I wasn’t very good yet,” she explained. “Then, last summer, I decided to take on commissions as a summer job because I didn’t want to work in the food service industry again, and it went well enough that I decided to create an Instagram and do the commissions as a side job.”
The project grew pretty fast after that. Bredt finally began attracting shelter dogs, too. She hopes that her portraits will help the animals find their homes forever, and she’s grateful that she can make good use of her platform for something.