By Levi J Parsons
SYDNEY, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Although Sydney is famed for its sun, sand and surf, the success of Vivid festival now has visitors and locals looking forward to the chilly winter season as parts of the harbor city transform into a giant outdoor art gallery.
Established in 2009 as a way to boost visitor numbers during the lowest point in the tourism season, the Southern Hemisphere's largest festival of light, ideas and music has now morphed into one of Australia's largest events.
With over 2.25 million visitors attending the three-week extravaganza last year, 2019's showcase will feature 50 spectacular light art installations designed by over 100 artists from over a dozen countries.
This year, Vivid has also enlisted the help of a major Hollywood heavyweight.
"We are absolutely delighted to have Disney's Pixar as a key partners this year," Executive Producer of Vivid and CEO of Destination New South Wales, Sandra Chipchase, told Xinhua at the launch on Friday night.
"They are Emmy-award winning, Grammy-award winning, multi-award winning, and their installation on the roof of the Argo Cut, which is a curved surface, is incredible," Chipchase said.
"What they're showing us is 30 years of art and animation. So you can see some of the best loved characters from the original drawings right through to the fantastic movies and there's also a sneak peek of Toy story 4, so I think anybody that loves any of the Pixar movies, it's the place to be," Chipchase said.
Another highlight of this year's Vivid is a breathtaking design by renowned Chinese-American artist Andrew Thomas Huang.
His digital masterpiece titled Austral Flora ballet will be prominently displayed across the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House, depicting native Australian plants dancing.
"I had never been to Sydney before. I'm from Los Angeles," Huang told Xinhua.
"But I knew that I had to choose a concept that was unique to Australia, so naturally I looked at the plant life and there are so many beautiful flowers here and I just decided to make that the theme," Huang said.
"But I also wanted to bring humanity to them and make sure that if we're going to animate them along the side of the opera house, that they have life and movement," Huang said.
Working with a choreographer in the United States to pinpoint the site specific dimensions of the Opera House, Huang then used CG animation and motion-capture technology to bring the designs to life.
"I'm crazy impressed. It's quite an amazing production and I think the fact that Sydney has this beautiful bay, there are so many beautiful vantage points for art, so it's really something special," Huang said.
Catching on with international tourists across the world, Chipchase said the interest shown from Chinese visitors has played a big role in the growth of the event.
"We work with a lot of partners, airline partners and wholesalers and last year we measured 185,000 Vivid Sydney travel packages were sold to visitors from interstate and overseas. And in fact 23,000 of those visitors came from China alone," Chipchase said.
"Even visitors who think they know Sydney or are perhaps very familiar with Sydney, they see the city in a whole new light because it gives a new energy to landmarks like the Opera House or the Harbor Bridge," Chipchase said.
"So people get a chance to experience some of the buildings, some of the parks and gardens in a whole new way," Chipchase added.
Sydney's Vivid Festival will run from May 24 to June 15.