Harry Potter Art at Nucleus Gallery
J. Shea: Thestral
If you couldn't handle waiting in line for two hours to get into Nucleus Gallery's recent extremely packed Harry Potter-themed art show, this is the sort of thing you missed. That's a hanging sculpture of a thestral in the photo above. Awesome, right? The rest of the art was also pretty amazing.
Caroline Hadilaksono: Hogwarts at Night
This piece by Caroline Hadilaksono was also available as a print reproduction. The original sold for $700. The style is reminiscent of vintage Disney posters.
"That was one of the biggest shows we've had in a long time," said Nucleus Gallery owner Ben Zhu a few days afterwards. "We knew there was going to be a lot of people, but not that many. When you see a thousand people in a queue? It's crazy." Some 1,300 people converged on the gallery that evening. Yeah. That's a lot of Pottermania for one small space.
These little sculptures, by the way, were made by the company Gentle Giant. They also made a giant Voldemort (or half a Voldemort) for the show. Gentle Giant makes large size replicas for the movie industry. They are known for 3D scanning "of actors faces and stuff," said Zhu.
The one on the right is yours for $150,000. Why so expensive? Well, it's an original painting by Drew Struzan. He's the guy who painted the iconic E.T. film poster...and Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Goonies, Back to the Future, and on and on.
He's one of the last of the old school movie poster artists who still use actual, physical paint (shocking!) instead of Photoshop. Also, the painting, which was supposed to be for the second Harry Potter film, was never used (they went with a Photoshopped version instead). Struzan apparently went to the Nucleus' show opening night. He did not wear a Hogwarts costume. Zhu doesn't know if he bought any artwork.
Andrea Rossi: The Grim
On the other end of the spectrum is stuff like this painting entitled The Grim, by Andrea Rossi.
Seb Mesnard's Forbidden Forest
Whimsic Alley did a pop-up shop. There were, at last check, still some chocolate frogs leftover for sale. And some potion jars, wands, ties, scarves.
Michelle Romo: Dark Arts Defence
This piece by Michelle Romo was done in cut paper.
Josie Portillo: The Staircase
Kind of a Haunted Mansion feel to this one above, no?
Zhu (who created the show's flyer) went to Art Center, which is an incubator for artists in the advertising, animation and commercial illustration industries. So a lot of the art in this exhibit has that sensibility.
If you're wondering where all the artwork came from, Zhu invited most of the artists to contribute. But this was also Nucleus' first open submission show. Open submission means random strangers were asked to submit art for consideration.
The gallery managed that process through their website and blog. Zhu's co-curator Linda "SnuggleMuggle" Chi handled that special madness. The staff then voted on the submitted art, both to prevent curatorial bias, and to diffuse the blame when angry Harry Potter artists failed to make the cut.
A few more works for you, to give you a taste:
John Hendrix's Expecto Patronum
I Open At The Close by Shannon Bonatakis
Tony Lombardo: Dementor 1
Creepy, dark and beautiful. Just as a Dementor should be.
Nucleus' Harry Potter tribute art show was a year and a half in the making. Before that, Zhu thought about it for three years. A selection of works will be available via online auction, which closes on July 15, the night the final movie hits the theaters and a million, billion Potter fans commence collective weeping.
To view the complete set of works, visit Nucleus Gallery's site. Much of it has already sold, but some great pieces remain, including a couple by Mary Grandpre, who did the Potter book covers. The show will remain up until August 1. It's definitely worth a trip out to Alhambra.
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