Adrian H. Gorton – Biography
After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the History of Art and Architecture, my professional career began by preparing construction documents for custom homes in Palos Verdes Estates, California. Studying structural engineering prepared me for my next phase, taking the Architectural Registration exams while working at R. Duell Associates, drawing elements of MAGIC MOUNTAIN. Ride buildings, retail facilities, and entrance features were themed components studied, designed, and construction documentation provided.
The oil embargo caused the shift to filmed entertainment, beginning at Universal Studios with television shows such as INVISIBLE MAN, 6 Million DOLLAR MAN, and other popular series. Fortunately, I was able to work with Mr. Herman Blumenthal, my first mentor. Winner of two Academy Awards (CLEOPATRA, HELLO, DOLLY) for his design work, we worked together for 5 years on feature films for 20th Century Fox and MGM Studios.
Beginning my own film design with the television series BLACK SHEEP SQUADRON, and later, MAGNUM, P.I. in Hawaii, I quickly moved again to feature films, preparing projects in the Phillipines, South America, and Europe. The occasional themed entertainment opportunity came along including DISNEY/MGM Studios Europe, and Universal Studios Florida, UNIVERAL’S ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE, for which I was a member of the design team, supervising drawing preparation and subsequently, overseeing construction, painting and aging, and props and set decoration.
After working with Henry Bumstead, my second mentor (two Academy Awards, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE STING), I alternated set design with art direction and theme park projects.
39 years of designing for film, television, and themed entertainment attractions has exposed me to design challenges ranging from old American West, to science fiction, historic battle epics, period environments from many cultures, architectural expressions, vehicles, costumes, props, set decoration, special effects, lighting design…
When I applied for membership in the Set Design local (local #847) after working 30 days in 1975, my drawings were reviewed by a jury of 5 art directors, then interviewed by a oral review board, then assigned a classification. I was awarded Senior Set Designer, I believe the only person to have been accepted to this level upon application in the history of the local.
Since my days in college, drawing has been a love and a refuge for me. Regardless of language spoken, a drawing communicates ideas…a vision of what can be accomplished with sufficient time and money!
Unique traits: Concept design, hand and digital drawing, 3D modeling, construction document production, construction supervision.