Gallery work has been a developing interest of mine for the past year or so, in an attempt to branch out in my artistic endeavors. So during one of my visits to www.illustrationmundo.com last December a post from The Uppercase Gallery caught my eye. The gallery, located in Calgary, Alberta Canada, was seeking artists to join The Shatner Show, an event that would feature 76 artists and illustrators depicting William Shatner in his various roles and personalities. The gallery owner, Janine Vangool, asked those artists interested to submit samples of their work for consideration, which I did. A few days later I received a reply from Janine saying she liked my work and welcomed me into the show.
What strikes me about gallery work is that in some instances, such as the case here, the galleries really don?t know what the final images will be. This is a leap of faith on the gallery’s part, especially dealing with unknown or emerging artist such as myself. From my perspective there was mixture of excitement and anxiety to do the best possible work.
The only criteria were that the image pertains to William Shatner. Whether the work was based on one of his films, television series or other pursuits was left to the creative freedom of the artist. I knew I wanted to depict something a little different or offbeat, as a way to stand out from the crowd. After enthusiastically telling a friend of mine about the show, he told me about Shatner?s performance of Elton John’s Rocketman at the 1978 Sci-Fi Awards show. After viewing the footage on YouTube I was sold.
I especially enjoyed the low-budget effect depicting multiple Shatners performing the song, and decided to portray that in my painting. I changed the setting from a stage to outer space to reflect the psychedelic nature of the song, and also as a nod to Shatner’s space-faring alter ego. I further emphasized this by replacing the stool he is sitting on with the Enterprise.
Recently I have been trying to push some of the characteristics of my work to a more graphic quality. With the Rock-et-man! painting, I included some spatial gasses in the form of flat color. As with the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind painting, I am again striving for a balance between the more photo-realistically rendered and the more graphic elements in my work.
The painting was completed in February, in time for the March 1st deadline. The gallery asked for electronic copies at that time, which would later be used in a book produced for the show, with the physical work due at the gallery by May 1st. The painting was framed and shipped via FedEx around mid April, arriving at The Uppercase Gallery about a week later.
For me The Shatner Show was a tremendous opportunity to show my work alongside many other great artists. I enjoyed every part of the process, from working on the painting to attending the opening party at the gallery on June 15th. For those interested, The Shatner Show runs until August 31st and may also be viewed online at www.theshatnershow.com.
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