Pop culture always thirsts for Stephen King, whether it's books, films, television series, or even an animated adaptation of his short sci-fi story, Beachworld. With the new exhibition, King, now on at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles, add fan artwork inspired by King's fruitfully dreamlike and macabre imagination to that pop-cultural landscape. The works number in the dozens, ranging from paintings and patches to watercolors, illustrations, and digital prints, and cover a wide variety of King's decades-long career in storytelling.
Gallery 1988, which Jensen Karp and Katie Cromwell founded 15 years ago, is just the place for a King-themed show, as they always wanted to find a place for pop culture art that traditional galleries had no interest in. The gallery quickly became a place where first-time artists and buyers could find common ground; and since the art often referenced cinematic history, Cromwell and Karp soon started collaborating with film studios on exhibitions. King came about in this way, when The Dark Tower's Jeff Pinkner asked Cromwell and Karp if they would organize a Stephen King art show.
"Weirdly, we've been wanting to do this show for years, but Jeff Pinkner, one of the producers on the new Dark Tower series, was actually pushing us to do it, saying that Stephen would love it," Karp tells Creators.
To create the show, Cromwell and Karp leaned on their large network of artists to create new, original works. So, it's not so much a fan art show as it is a professional art show where the artists just happen to be fans of Stephen King.
Artist Steven Holliday, for instance, painted a portrait of a kid from It holding a red balloon reflecting the face of Pennywise, the deadly clown. Highly disturbing but also funny, it looks like the movie poster that fans deserve, but which Hollywood would dare not commission. Another notable work is Nan Lawson's creepy-cute portrait of the bloodied, telekinetic, vengeful prop queen, Carrie. But this isn't the only Carrie-themed work: Kiersten Essenpreiss' They're All Gonna Laugh At You, Bucket of Blood, a necklace featuring a bucket from which red beads are spilling out, is simultaneously new and referential.
Another standout work is Andrew DeGraff's detailed and vibrantly-hued watercolor illustration of Shardik, the giant cyborg bear from The Wastelands, the third entry in The Dark Tower series. Already sold out is eleni's awesome cartoonish shadow box, You Guys Wanna Go See A Dead Body?, which shows the four boys from Stand By Me standing on forced-perspective railroad tracks.
"People love it, and it's a great show by the artists," says Karp. "I mean, where else are you going to get Misery art? There is no other place in the world to really get anything [like this] if you're hugely influenced by these things. So, it's another example of us being the only place that has it, so if you're a fan we kind of speak directly to you."
Click here to see past and upcoming exhibitions at Gallery 1988.