'Stompin' at the Savoy'
the Art of
An Interview With Jim Tanaka
On March 17, 2002 I had the honor of interviewing
James U. Tanaka. Now
MK: Did you have an interest in art when you were
a child? Or did the art
JT: A little later, I guess, yes. Perhaps when I was in high school.
MK: When did you start working with Walt Disney?
JT: At Disney? Oh, that was
You know it was after Disney
MK: I recall a Donald Duck orange juice can. Was that one of your creations?
JT: It could have been. Its been so long ago
now, I cant remember too many
MK: What made you decide to leave Walt Disney?
JT: I retired actually. When I was 60 years old
I retired from
MK: I believe you had a jazz series at the Turning
Point in Piermont, New
JT: That was the first time I had a chance to meet
with people who were in
MK: I remember a collage that you created where
youre playing the
JT: No Im not. I did have a painting like that?
MK: It was a collage and in the middle of the collage youre holding a trumpet.
JT: I've always been interested in jazz since I
was in high school I guess. I didnt play any
MK:Stomping at the Savoy, was that a series that you painted?
Stomping at the
remind me of so many things. Stomping at
MK: Benny Goodman, it was a Benny Goodman piece.
JT: Yeah, right. Yes, I title, I guess, a lot of
my paintings from popular
MK: Whenever I ride my bicycle up Clausland
JT: Oh, you bring me back such memories. I vaguely remember that.
MK: You made this for a benefit.
JT: Oh yes. I know that I did some paintings for
a benefit and I forget who
MK: I think it was a project to preserve Clausland Mountain.
JT: Oh yeah, yeah. I remember that now, yes.
MK: A while back I recall watching a sitcom and finding one of your paintings in the set.
JT: Oh is that right? God! I remember
on I see my paintings in
MK: Have you had the opportunity to do any painting recently?
JT: No ... very little. You know Im 85 years
old now and I havent done very
MK: With oil or watercolor?
JT: With acrylic.
MK: Well thank you very much for calling.
JT: Well, it was nice talking to you.