Review by C.J. Bunce
Last year CBS Consumer Products reached out to fifty artists of varying backgrounds and media across ten countries and commissioned works for an art exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek series. The result was featured at Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts gallery in San Diego’s gaslight district during San Diego Comic-Con this year, followed by a stint in Las Vegas for the annual Star Trek convention. It then heads to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto from mid-August to early September before heading to the England for the Destination Star Trek Europe convention in October and continuing its worldwide tour through August 2017.
Next week Titan Books is releasing an oversized coffee table edition to accompany the exhibition, featuring all fifty artists and their Star Trek contribution. Similar in design to the successful Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz, reviewed here at borg.com, Star Trek: 50 Artists/50 Years, is a colorful, beautifully illustrated guide for the Star Trek fan that appreciates artists interpreting the franchise. The hardcover exhibition catalog showcases some artists known for their Star Trek work and others who have never dabbled in the Trek universe before. Media used in these interpretations include paper, sculpture, metal, ceramics, and textiles, some hand-created and others via computer. The book includes a foreword by Star Trek film director Nicholas Meyer, and interviews with the artists.
Not surprisingly, the work of successful comic book cover artists Joe Corroney and J.K. Woodward is featured, Corroney with two vibrant retro style posters, and Woodward with a painting showing key Klingons throughout all the Star Trek series and films. A photograph incorporating the Vulcan salute by Leonard Nimoy was also included in the show. As with any non-juried exhibition, a few works don’t quite seem to stir the senses as the others, but those that do are of high-quality and well-conceived. Comic book artist and animator Dusty Abell’s poster thoughtfully includes an element of each of the 79 original episodes if the original series. It would be no surprise to find Viennese children’s illustrator Amir Abou-Roumié’s whimsical look at Star Trek characters in a future San Francisco, titled “Homestead,” at the Met. Disney, Hasbro, and DreamWorks freelance artist Sue Beatrice’s metal sculpture “On the Edge of Forever” is an exquisitely detailed timepiece featuring the starship Enterprise.
Poster artists Joshua Budich, Patrick Connan, Matt Ferguson, Dave Perillo, Gary Pullin, and catalog cover artist Tom Whalen provided contributions that could warrant their own Mondo poster releases. Hallmark ornament sculptor Lynn A. Norton spent 435 hours on his work, taking the opportunity after re-creating so many well-known Star Trek ships to design his own, the USS Bellwether. One interesting note is that no Ships of the Line type renderings were included in the exhibition, somewhat of an omission considering the popularity of the recurring calendar series over the years.
The best works of the show include two rogues’ galleries of sorts, one featuring 50 aliens by comic book artist Derek Charm, and the other featuring 33 antagonists from the five series and movies by Lucasfilm and Star Wars: Rebels animation artist Amy Beth Christenson. Juan Ortiz mocked up a superb cereal box with free cut-out trading cards on the reverse for a fake cereal called Galile-Os, and digital illustrator Mark Reihill focused on a single episode, “What Are Little Girls Made Of” for his contribution. Also focusing on a single episode, poster artist Paul Shipper’s “Star Trek Inception: The Cage” is simply stunning–a painting on par with the best sci-fi movie posters of John Alvin, Bob Peak, and Drew Struzan.
Pick up a copy of Star Trek: 50 Years/50 Artists and select your own favorite from the exhibition. Pre-order the book here now from Amazon. It is scheduled for release September 3, 2016.