The Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts gallery in San Diego is the Comic-Con home to Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years., the art exhibit created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Showcasing original, Trek-inspired pieces by 50 artists from around the globe, the exhibit has drawn the attention of Trek fans and art fans both casual and professional. Even zombie killers are making their way into the exhibition, as evidenced by the unexpected, low-key visit on Friday by Andrew Lincoln, star of The Walking Dead.
Throughout the Comic-Con weekend, fans can visit the free exhibition and snag autographs from many of the artists featured in the exhibition.
StarTrek.com sat down with several of the artists to discuss their love of Trek, their individual pieces and/or what it means to them to be included amongst the 50 artists selected for the ambitious, years-in-the making exhibit.
Paul Shipper, whose piece is “Star Trek Inception: The Cage,” told StarTrek.com, “To be asked to be a part of the selected 50 artists is a great honor, and to celebrate the whole thing in its 50th year is incredible. Walking into the gallery here, and seeing the art on the wall for the first time was an experience. You could actually feel it. It was a visceral kind of feeling when I walked in and the first thing I saw was actually the piece by Leonard Nimoy on the wall there. The artwork here is phenomenal There are so many different styles and concepts, and everyone is coming from different places. It is a real celebration of Star Trek, and I’m really pleased to be a part of it.”
Amir Abou-Roumie, represented by the colorful, Easter egg-laden “Homestead,” explained, “What I wanted to convey was the kind of positivity that Star Trek has, in my opinion, that it is represented in the colors and in the figures on it. And I also wanted to capture key moments for me, which had a kind of meaning, like the waves from Star Trek IV, and First Contact which is in the background. So that is what I wanted to get. What I also wanted to get is kind of a look behind the scenes, you know? Of a real Star Trek world. When people go to work in the morning, they travel to the Enterprise with the shuttle bus and stuff like that. So I just wanted to take an ordinary look at Star Trek. A day in the life of Star Trek.”
“I am a pretty big Star Trek fan, said Gary Pullin, who contributed a star Dual Spock piece called “Mirror Mirror.” “I mean, I grew up on The Original Series, so I’m at that age where, when I was a kid, Star Trek was on TV, the repeats. So, TOS is what I gravitated towards when they asked me to do this piece. I just remember loving the theme song, and it had a real Twilight Zone vibe to some of the episodes, too. Some of them were kind of spooky, and I actually have a background as a horror illustrator. I’m sort of known for the horror genre, and so when they asked me to do this show, I thought, ‘Oh, well this is really great.’ As I say, I like to step out of the graveyard sometimes, and I am starting to do more stuff out of the horror genre. So to do something Star Trek related was a dream come true for me. “
JK Woodward’s piece gathers together many of Star Trek’s most memorable and fearsome “Klingons.” Actually, it’s every Klingon. Woodward explained how he crafted the piece on illustration board, which is basically compressed cardboard that’s treated. “And, it was done in gouache, which is a very difficult medium to master but it was kind of what they used in advertising a lot in the 60’s and 70’s, before we moved” on to computer generated stuff,” he said. “Basically, what I did was I did a sketch first, and then I projected that sketch with one of those opaque projectors on to that so I got all of the proportions down. And from there just one step at a time; I drew all the likenesses, went back and did all of the shadows and blacks, so it almost looked like a comic book at first It looked like an ink piece, and then you go back and you do the colors. I spent about a week on that, and about ten hours a day, so it was a big project.
Adam Nimoy, Leonard Nimoy’s son, also stopped by the gallery. Logically, it amazed him to see so much Spock imagery staring back at him from the walls. “I’m so glad that there’s something of his here to contribute to the 50 years and 50 pieces of artwork,” he told us as he looked at “Hand in Vulcan Gesture.”
“I mean, the stuff is just outstanding. And, seeing so much Spock imagery, well, I’m used to it. I love it, I’m still excited by it. When I was a kid I used to look up his name in the phonebook because I was just excited to see that we existed somewhere. The Nimoys were real, you know? And very early on, I was always looking at TV Guide trying to find the first ad for Star Trek before it aired. Waiting, waiting, waiting, and finally when they had a half page ad of dad and Bill, which was the illustration that they used for the first promo piece, I was so excited that I bought the TV Guide, and I ran home to show my mom and my sister.”
“I still feel the excitement; it just never leaves, it keeps resonating because it keeps coming back in all of these different ways, including these representations of Spock at the gallery here. It’s phenomenal.”
Joe Corroney, familiar to fans for his frequent Trek work for IDW’s comics, has the distinction of having two pieces in the exhibition, “Dance of the Orion Women” and “It’s Your Galaxy, too!” “I asked CBS if I could do two because I felt I had two really good ides,” Corroney noted. “I didn’t want to settle on just one and, luckily, they said OK, and I feel really honored in that regard. I wanted one piece geared toward the guy fans of Star Trek and then one geared toward the female fans. So the Orion piece has a retro, Vegas showgirl style poster feel. And it’s got a little tongue-in-cheek humor with the portraits of the male character reacting to her. Then, for the other piece, it says, ‘Hey, Star Trek isn’t just for the boys.” It’s something girls and women can enjoy. So this one is like an enlistment poster. It’s kind of pin-uppy, but not overly sexy like the Orion one. I wanted it to be more empowering and dynamic and adventurous.”
Next, we chatted with Fernando Reza, the graphic artist/illustrator known as FRO. His piece, “NCC-1701,” has a movie poster style. “At first I tried to do very specific stuff, things from episodes I loved,” he told us. “Then I realized, no, I was going too many places with it. So I just wanted something all-encompassing, kind of like what you’re saying about a movie poster approach. Then, it was just finding the right likenesses to go off of. So that was more my focus, just capturing the general spirit.”
Lastly, StarTrek.com spoke to Dusty Abell, whose oversized, super-colorful contribution is called “Star Trek: The Original Series.“ An homage to TOS, it boasts at least one creature, ship or character from all 79 episodes. “It’s a blast to be included in the exhibit,” Abell said. “I grew up with Star Trek and have a great passion for it. So it was an honor to be included with so many other great artists and pieces of art. It’s something I’ll always look back on with a lot of fond memories. With the 50th anniversary and all, it’s a big deal.”
The exhibition is open from 11:00am to 8:00pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday at 363 Fifth Avenue in San Diego’s Gaslamp District. See Star Trek Events for the latest touring schedule.
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