Sunday, April 1, 2018

Just Deserts

This piece, for me, signified a true accomplishment.  Months prior to it's conception, a rather well known gallery in Los Angeles had an open call for artists.  I decided, rather last minute, to send in my submission and see if my work was a good fit for the location.  I was very excited to have the chance to submit, as I have been to the gallery a few times in the past for other events, and really enjoyed the themes they base most of their shows around.  A few months later, I had completely forgotten about the submission, and I received an email from the gallery as I eating breakfast with my parents at a local cafe (and I only use that term because I cannot for the life me spell the word restaurant!!! I literally had to look it up, just to clarify why I would cafe instead!).  I'm sure at this point the suspense is killing you, but yes, I managed to get accepted into the gallery!!!  I was over the moon!!! The email also included different group show that the gallery thought my work would be a good fit for.  The first was a show dedicated to the works and installments of Stephen King.

I set about doing research for the show, and it main component, the works of Stephen King.  At this point I had only ever actually read once novel by the well accomplished author, 'Gerald's Game', which I had borrowed in high school from my then (ex?) girlfriend.  The only other pieces of work I was familiar with were 'Carrie', 'Pet Cementary', 'It', 'Thinner', and 'The Shinning'...basically anything that's been made a major motion picture.  I typically like to remain true to the source material, which movies rarely do, when I'm depicting an image based on another artist's work.  I also didn't want to pick something that was going to be over-represented at the show, since King's works span several decades, I felt it would be rather insulting to not celebrate something a bit less mainstream.  At first I was going to choose 'Carrie', and even began listening to the audio book (as read by the iconic Sissy Spacek)on 'Audible' via their free trial.  It was then that I realized, King was a master of the horror genre, both viscerally, and psychologically.  I abandoned the concept I had, as I felt the image I was developing could be easily taken out context, or misinterpreted.  Still early on in the planning phase, I changed gears and decided to do a piece dedicated to King's (or should I say Richard Bachman's) 'Thinner'.  I was a huge fan of the film adaptation, and after doing some research on the interwebs, discovered that the film was pretty closely aligned with the novel.  Originally I had planned on reading the novel, but time was running short, and the book was over 300 pages (I'm a slow reader...#sorrynotsorry)!!!  Honestly though, the one common element in both the novel and the film that I felt most concisely represented the material  was the pie.  I almost immediately came up with a sketch that I was very, very, VERY happy with, and began to work on blocking out the rest of the layout. I used the description from the novel (a strawberry pie), and then decided the best layout and color scheme to use based on the sketch.  I placed the pie (with a not so subtle clue as to it's true nature), on a green contrasting plate, along with a fork and knife (all of which I used photo reference for...which I almost never do, but in retrospect...should probably do more of).  I had a hard time deciding on the surface that the plate was going to be sitting on, but ultimately decided on a high contrasting tile to offset the dark color (and nature), of the pie.  Finally, I wanted to further depict the maliciousness nature of the focal point, so I added some recently deceased fly corpses (once again thank you google).  After some final detail work, and test prints, the image was completed.  Originally I was going to have the image reproduced at 16" x 20", but the subtle nature of the pies for got lost in such a large piece.  It looked much better at 8" x 10", so it was decided, and framed.

The piece debuted exclusively at Gallery 1988's King show in April of 2017.
Prints are available through the gallery's website here if interested.

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