This month, SAFEWALLS has teamed up with three new artists— Ron English, Travis Louis and Tara McPherson—who drew their inspiration from the world of Zarkana to create three original, alternate posters for the SAFEWALLS collection. We are very excited and impatient to unveil these three brand new prints! Be sure to subscribe to the SAFEWALLS newsletter or join us on Facebook to know when each poster will go on sale.
One of the most prolific and recognizable artists alive today, Ron English has bombed the global landscape with unforgettable images, on the street, in museums, in movies, books and television. English coined the term POPaganda to describe his signature mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, from superhero mythology to totems of art history, populated with his vast and constantly growing arsenal of original characters, including MC Supersized, the obese fast-food mascot featured in the hit movie “Supersize Me,” and Abraham Obama, the fusion of America’s 16th and 44th Presidents, an image widely discussed in the media as directly impacting the 2008 election. Other characters carousing through English’s art, in paintings, billboards, and sculpture include three-eyed rabbits, udderly delicious cowgirls and grinning skulls, blending stunning visuals with the bitingly humorous undertones of America’s Premier Pop Iconoclast.
Tara McPherson is an artist based out of New York City. Creating art about people and their odd ways, her characters seem to exude an idealized innocence with a glimpse of hard earned wisdom in their eyes. Recalling many issues from childhood and good old life experience, she creates images that are thought provoking and seductive. People and their relationships are a central theme throughout her work.
Tara exhibits her paintings and serigraphs in fine art galleries all over the world. Named the crown princess of poster art by ELLE Magazine, she has created numerous gig posters for rock bands such as Beck, Modest Mouse, and Melvins. Her array of art also includes creating toys with companies like Kidrobot, Dark Horse, and Toy2R, painted comics and covers for DC Vertigo, advertising and editorial illustrations for companies such as Wyden+Kennedy and Spin Magazine, and teaching a class at Parsons in NYC.
Tara was born in San Francisco in 1976 and raised in Los Angeles. She received her BFA from Art Center in Pasadena, CA in August 2001 with honors in Illustration and a minor in Fine Art. She interned at Rough Draft Studios, working on Matt Groening’s “Futurama” during college.
Travis Louie was born in Queens, New York, about a mile from the site of the 1964 World’s Fair. His early childhood was spent making drawings and watching “Atomic Age” Sci-Fi and Horror movies. There were many Saturday afternoon trips to the local comics shop and noon matinees at the RKO Keith’s cinema on Northern Blvd. , where he marveled at the 1950’s memorabilia: the rocket ships, the superheroes, the giant monsters, and old pulp art covers. He did thousands of sketches of genre characters like Godzilla, King Kong, and a host of creatures from Ray Harryhausen movies.
The visual style of his work is mostly influenced by the lighting and atmosphere of German Expressionist and Film Noir motion pictures from the Silent Era to the late 1950’s. Films from directors like F W Murnau, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Robert Siodmak, Robert Aldrich, Jacque Tourneur, and cinematographer, Greg Toland, had a great effect on the way he wanted his paintings to look.
To achieve the dramatic “mood” in his paintings, they are produced primarily in black and white or limited color. He uses acrylic paints over tight graphite drawings on smooth grounds, like “plate” finish illustration board or finely sanded, primed wood panels. When he is not painting, his time is spent writing in his notebooks and journals. Many little drawings and sketches are made from those writings, most of which are less than 10 centimeters square.
The influences for his work are many; the genre films, his fascination with human oddities, circus sideshows, old Vaudeville magic acts, Victorian portraits, and things otherworldly, are all blended together to enable him to bring life to the characters and stories he writes in his journals.