Gwen Ballantyne was brought up in what was once ‘a sleepy small town of orchards, fields and creeks’ in her youth, and later evolved into what is now known as ‘Silicon Valley’ in Northern California. Always wanting to be an artist, she studied at the University of California at Santa Cruz and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art in 1991. She coupled this with a second degree in Anthropology to bring mythology, history and world culture into her artwork.
By learning visual storytelling, first as an Artist/Anthropologist and later, after she received an M.F.A. in Production Design from California Institute of the Arts in 1994, Gwen Ballantyne transitioned seamlessly from fine art into concept design for themed and location based entertainment.
As concept designer, art director, illustrator and sculptor, Gwen’s art and creativity has driven large-scale entertainment projects around the world for more than 22 years. She has leant her imagination and chameleon-like visual style to movies, theme parks, videogames, museum exhibits, resorts and theatrical experiences. Gwen has worked for such clients as Disney, Universal, Warner Bros. MGM, Paramount, Lionsgate, HBO, Nickelodeon, Sanrio, Cirque du Soleil, Thinkwell Group, The Hettema Group, BRC Imagination Arts and the World Expo Dubai 2020.
For Walt Disney Imagineering, Gwen Ballantyne served as an art director for four years on ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’—the centerpiece attraction of Tokyo DisneySea. This extraordinary park was awarded special achievement by the Themed Entertainment Association for its beautiful design and incredible entertainment.
Throughout her career Gwen has maintained her love of traditional painting and drawing as the backbone of her design work. She has continued throughout her entertainment career to oil paint, draw and sculpt, and at present she is transitioning back to her roots as a fine artist.