Antelope Valley Artist Nuri Amanatullah Wins the Disney D23 Expo Design Challenge

Exciting news from Anaheim folks: Nuri Amanatullah of Quartz Hill has been awarded winner of Disney’s annual Expo Design Challenge. You may know Nuri Amantullah from his work with the youth art program at the MOAH in Lancaster or from his Tumblr site or his gallery shows around town.

A digital artist with a big sense of fun, Amanatullah creates are that is all about POP. Well, maybe not all about pop, but laden densely with pop culture references and dedicated largely to exploring pop culture themes. If Nuri is not all POP, his is a lot of POP.

It’s no surprise to see him popping up in a contest that relies centrally on a reference to Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle – and totally winning it.

The D23 EXPO Design Challenge celebrates Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary by encouraging artists both young and young at heart to create art using the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle as inspiration.


Nuri’s work depicts a hybrid castle that evokes the imaginary skyline of a number of Disney icons. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Big Hero 6, the work represents the majority of Disney animated features through stained glass vignettes, themed towers, and hidden Easter eggs. Like Disneyland, where you always discover something new, Nuri hopes viewers see something different every time they look at the work. (qts taken from

Big congrats to Nuri Amanatullah for netting the cash award and for taking his art to a wider audience by entering and winning this contest.

You can read a bit more about Nuri Amanatullah at the AV Art Blog. We did an interview with him not too long ago…


Nuri Amanatullah – Antelope Valley Artist with a Pop Style (in such a good way)

New to Nuri? Check out his site.

His latest shares on his Tumblr page are sketches derived from Boardwalk Empire, further solidifying something we all already knew about Nuri. He loves TV.

I sketched a few characters from #boardwalkempire back in 2010 when the show first aired. Since the series is concluding tonight I figured it was about time to share these…

Take a look at his site to see more of what this Antelope Valley Artist is getting up to.

PopRocks – Art by Nuri Amanatullah Showing at Sagebrush Cafe

AV Arts Blog recently sent some interview Q’s to Nuri Amanatullah in anticipation of his show at Sagebrush Cafe in Quartz Hill. He wrote back.

He’s calling his show PopRocks and the show is comprised of bold and colorful digital drawings. We started out asking about Amanatullah’s inspiration for the work featured in the show.

The show goes up on Saturday April 12 with an opening reception at 2 pm at Sagebrush Cafe.

PopRocks – Nuri Amanatullah

Saturday – April 12 – 2pm


AV Arts: What are a few sources of inspiration for your art?


Nuri Amanatullah: Comics, video games and movies is usually where I start. Whether it’s my own creation or a fan favorite, I usually use my childhood nostalgia as a springboard and go from there. I am a fan at heart. I grew up playing NES and reading comic books, drawing whenever I could, so for me it’s more fun than anything else. 



AV Arts: Do you feel any specific affinities with art or artists working in outside the visual arts – writers, film makers, musicians?


Nuri Amanatullah: I love film and am an avid movie-goer. Also, architecture. I have always been an architecture enthusiast. The idea of creating a user-specific experience through the presentation of certain vantage-points or line of sights is not too different from film, actually. Architecture can be very cinematic whether it’s your view from the window or looking down the hall, it is a intended scene that was designed specifically for the viewer. 


AV Arts: Can you name a muse or two, a couple of people who make you want to create and who might make you want to create the particular work that you do?


Nuri Amanatullah: I am in awe of Mondo’s film poster releases. They assemble the Avenger’s of illustration to pump out licensed, alternative movie-posters. Anytime I see the work of Kevin Tong, Mark Englert, Mike Mitchell, Laurent Durieux, Tom Whalen, Ken Taylor and Olly Moss, I instantly want to create.

AV Arts: Where did you draw inspiration for the characters in your PopRocks gallery show?


Nuri Amanatullah: Pop-culture is a such a huge realm now. For me, it starts with comics and branched outwards to video games and movies. All of the above mediums have undergone such a transformative change in the way we consume them. They persist far beyond the interfaces we used just a few years back. I feel this kind of permeable membrane that exists between these mediums opens the door for a visual smorgasbord that nerds like me can really geek out on. I can make a Bioshock themed print that is like the cover of a Little Golden Book I read growing up. We love to see different spins on existing characters. Who doesn’t love Steampunk or rockabilly Batman? It breathes new life into them and adds to their mythos. 

AV Arts: What has been your personal experience with shows (gallery spaces, museum shows, etc.) in the Antelope Valley?

Nuri Amanatullah: I’ve been to a few and have met a number of extremely talented individuals. I see it as tinder-box of talent ready to ignite any moment. MOAH is helping with that. Places like Sagebrush help with that. Once people realize that there are venues, no matter how small, the potential to create rises because it can be seen, shared and talked about. 


AV Arts: Has the Antelope Valley influenced your art in any way?


Nuri Amanatullah: Absolutely. The AV has definitely put a spin on my work. At the very least in terms of subject matter. It’s hard for me not to be influenced by my environment. The AV isn’t really on anyone’s radar in terms of design so it’s been fun to do some design-based work using my setting as a template. It has showed me what not to do and opened my eyes to what hasn’t been done here before. 


AV Arts: Has your time teaching art workshops to kids shaped your art, shaped your view of what art can do, or helped to define for you the role of creative expression in social life..?


Nuri Amanatullah: It has and I think always will. I mentioned earlier I grew up drawing so getting exposed to art at a young age can be life changing. You never know what it will spark. Does everyone I teach end up becoming an artist? Far from it, but that’s also far from the point. If I can help a number of people approach their everyday lives just a little differently by thinking visually and critically about their experiences, I have perhaps at least stirredup something. If I haven’t opened a door then maybe I’ve cracked it a bit or at least unlocked it. And if one student does go on to continue creating art, that makes it all worthwhile.


AV Arts: How does the work showing in your PopRocks gallery show at Sagebrush Café compare to your other artwork? Is PopRocks representative of your work in general?

Pretty much. I’ve struggled a lot as an artist because my mind wanders. I am interested in so many mediums and artists it has been difficult for me to gain focus. I’ve done drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, writing, film—you name it, I’ve probably done it… all in the hopes of finding something I can sink my teeth into. The problem is that I love it all. Drawing has always been my bread and butter, but I am comfortable and feel proficient in most art forms to where if I get bored with one thing I can move to another. Sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none situation. I’m starting to get better at honing in on what I want to focus on, but in the meantime I’m going to continue doing work that I love. 



Art by Nuri Amanatullah

at Sagebrush Cafe

from April to July, 2014

Opening Reception

Saturday – April 12 – 2pm

An Antelope Valley Art Snapshot

Artwork from: Nuri Amanatullah, Joanne McCubrey, Alan Radecki, Cervates,  Donal O’Sullivan, Julie O’Sullivan, and Eric Martin (ps. that’s me).

You can find links to the websites of all these artists on our sidebar. We are rich in art, artists and artistry here in the AV. It’s not always easy to see (though it is always there/here).

And it’s not always easy to put this richness into a coherent shape or statement. But, then again, who says there should be a coherent shape or statement in the first place?

Art is.

And that is one of its great lessons. Isn’t it?

Anyway, here is some of it.


Donal O’Sullivan




MojaveWest Media Works: tehachapi wind farms &emdash;
Alan Radecki


If you would like to see your artwork featured on the Antelope Valley Arts blog, just send us a link, a photo, or an email and we will help spread the word about your creative work. That is what we are here to do!

Julie O’Sullivan
beach reader
Eric Martin



Nuri Amanatullah
Joanne McCubrey