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Good grief, it's 'Peanuts' art

Display of materials from beloved comic strip will go on display Wednesday at LCAD.

January 17, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • A hand-painted background from the 1979 film, "Charlie Brown Clears the Air."
A hand-painted background from the 1979 film, "Charlie… (Coastline Pilot )

It's the art world, Charlie Brown.

When Scott Minerd began compiling "Peanuts" memorabilia a decade ago, he did it on a small scale. By the time he prepared his collection for its first-ever public showing, which will open Wednesday at the Laguna College of Art + Design, an appropriate response to it might have been, "Good grief!"

The Marina del Rey resident, who works for a financial services firm, had packed his guest room so tightly with artifacts of Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, et al that he had to move the bed out to gain more space. His office had turned into a similar shrine, and the house had run out of wall space.

"I never started out with the plan that I was going to acquire all this much stuff," Minerd said. "But then you see something from 'The Great Pumpkin' and you think, 'Oh, I don't have anything from 'The Great Pumpkin.'"

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Original cels and drawings from that 1966 animated classic — formally titled "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" — will be on display in Laguna, along with story boards from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and other artifacts. "The Art of Charles Schulz and Peanuts — The Minerd Collection" will run through Feb. 14 in the campus gallery and has a reception scheduled during First Thursdays Art Walk on Feb. 7.

And if anyone craves a followup show, there's plenty of material left; Minerd estimates that the items on display comprise less than a fifth of his ownings.

That collection started modestly shortly after Schulz died in 2000, when Minerd was reading Barron's magazine and found an ad for a Florida-based company that had "Peanuts" artwork for sale. A lifelong fan of the strip, Minerd called the company and negotiated a price over the phone for 20 pieces.

Over the next decade, those 20 grew to 50, then 100, then 200 and beyond, as Minerd's fame as a "Peanuts" collector spread and friends contacted him to let him know of available works. Finally, Dave Pruiksma, the co-chair of LCAD's animation department, met Minerd through a mutual friend and invited him to compile an exhibit.

The eclectic offerings had a particular resonance for LCAD, which teaches many of the disciplines — drawing, animation, advertising — in which Schulz worked. And it helped that Pruiksma is a huge "Peanuts" fan himself; one of his prized photos is a shot of himself on his 12th birthday, reading the comics on his bed while surrounded by character memorabilia.

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