Thursday, October 15, 2009

DARK VISIONS This Saturday!!!

The Artistree Gallery presents the frightful creations of

The Artistree Gallery in Atlantic Beach celebrates the Halloween season with the most unique, most outrageous and most creative art exhibit ever to be seen on the First Coast – DARK VISIONS. The show will feature 90 “Portraits of Horror” by local artist Jerrod Brown, as well as “ODDITOPIA! The Midway of Marvels”, a customized G-Gauge scale sideshow train by local artist Drew Edward Hunter.

“We wanted to present something very unusual in the spirit of the haunting season,” explains Artistree Gallery owner William Meyer, “so we are showcasing the imaginative and macabre work of these two remarkable local artists. I guarantee you have never been to an art exhibit such as Dark Visions will be!”

DARK VISIONS will open on Thursday, October 15. The Artistree Gallery will remain open that evening for the North Beaches Art Walk.

A special “Shocktail Party” Artists Reception will be held the following Saturday, October 17 from 6 – 9 PM. This Halloween-themed event will allow guests to meet and greet the artists and discuss their work. There will be a few haunted surprises in store as well. It’s to be a most macabre but very entertaining evening, sure to be talked about for quite some time to come!

Artist Jerrod Brown has always been fascinated by fantasy and horror movies. His “Portraits of Horror” are inspired by the many colorful and evocative paintings created by Basil Gogos, illustrator of dozens of covers of the most notable movie monster magazine of the ‘50s and ‘60s, the iconic “Famous Monsters of Filmland”. Brown met Gogos at a convention in 2007 and was encouraged by the older artist to paint what he really loved – monsters, creatures, horror and fantasy.

Jerrod will be exhibiting nearly 100 “Portraits of Horror” he has done over the past two years. Many of the paintings are on 24” x 30” stretched canvas, and his medium of choice is acrylic. Most of the subject matter is based upon horror movies, and each painting usually features a performer from the film in a pivotal or symbolic scene or pose.

Although Jerrod recognizes the value of computer aided art, all his paintings are quite traditional. “I want to produce uniquely crafted pieces of art,” he says, “so people can see the brushstrokes, feel the textures and even smell the paints. I want them to see the many layers of labor which are involved in each painting, aside from just the image itself.”

Jerrod also is an illustrator of book covers for the science fiction and horror realm, having had dozens of covers published. In 2008 he also received an Honorable Mention as “Artist of the Year” at the 7th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards ceremony.

Aside from his nightmarish paintings, Jerrod has been professionally involved for many years in the creative side of the theme park industry. He has painted murals, scenery and props in theme and amusement parks, museums, resorts, restaurants and more.

Drew Edward Hunter also grew up with a tremendous fondness for fantasy and horror. With his birthday being a few days before Halloween, it just seemed natural for Drew to gravitate toward the macabre and the unusual in many of his creative endeavors. From first viewing the “Night On Bald Mountain” sequence of Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” as a young child, and from the first issue of “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine his dad bought him in 1959, Drew was hooked on horror and all things weird.

The DARK VISIONS exhibit will showcase Drew’s one-of-a-kind, amazing attraction, a static display of his customized G-Gauge (large scale) model sideshow train. “Professor Phobetor’s ODDITOPIA! Midway of Marvels – The World’s Greatest Sideshow on Rails!” consists of 13 intricately detailed and customized train cars. The entire train is over 19 feet in length, and will be shown in a specially designed and themed display created by Drew.

Inspired by his fascination with the culture of the traveling American sideshow, the train is a tribute to the sideshow’s history, legacy, attractions and performers. Some of the cars are based upon actual shows and performers, while others are inspired by actual attractions, and some are totally the products of Drew’s curious imagination. As a child Drew met many legendary “very special people” at various fairs and expositions, and saw many of the shows similar to the ones depicted in the train. He has become an amateur authority on the artistic style, lingo and culture of the sideshow.

Drew explains about “ODDITOPIA! The Midway of Marvels”: “This customized G-Gauge model train represents an imaginary touring sideshow train as it may have appeared in 1932. According to my back story, the mysterious and foreboding Professor Phobetor began assembling the incredible attractions and performers in 1902, and toured the shows via his train across the country for almost 34 seasons. His career and the touring ended with a disastrous train wreck in 1936, but he and the legacy of his sideshows lives on. The model train as displayed has definitely experienced better days – it’s worn, grimy and travel-weary. But it still boasts by far the widest variety of spectacular sideshow attractions ever to tour the nation!”

Accompanying the train model will be “vintage” flyers, articles, ads and posters from the heyday of the “ODDITOPIA!” sideshows, plus some recently discovered “rare” film footage of Professor Phobetor and a few of the performers in the attractions.

In addition, other frightful original works of art by Drew will be on display at the Artistree Gallery along with the train.

Aside from being a fine artist, Drew is also a versatile writer, designer, performer and director. He is currently the Vice President of Creative Design for Sally Corporation in Jacksonville, a world leader in the design and manufacture of lifelike animatronic figures and interactive dark rides for amusement and theme parks.

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