We're just 3 days away from the Zombie in Love opening reception! Please note: only those who show up in costume (zombie AND/OR prom attire) on Saturday will be entered into a special hourly raffle giveaway! Get into it, zombies and prom-goers—we want to see you all in your best dressed!
8 PM Zombie Fair shirt
9 PM Zombie in Love book
10 PM Limited Edition print
Stop by at 6 pm on Saturday for a FREE Zombie in Love book reading & drawing demo with the one and only Scott C! Come listen to Mortimer’s search for love, learn how to draw Scott C’s charming characters, and stay for our opening reception beginning at 7 pm.
Opening night also includes free door prizes for the first 25 attendees, hourly raffle prizes for those who arrive in zombie and/or prom attire, a free photo booth op with Mortimer and friends, as well as zombie-inspired refreshments for everyone to enjoy.
We’ll reveal more details as the 3rd approaches—stay tuned!
Meet Scott C.!
Based in New York, Scott C's work spans a wide spectrum of media including paintings, children's book illustrations, and video games. He usually works in watercolor, applying the paint in a delicate yet splotched manner, such that there is a controlled and intuitive roughness to his pieces. In many ways, this particular roughness gives off the impression of intentional imperfection, a visual technique that lends itself towards Scott's interest in recreating childhood nostalgia.
A graduate of the Art Academy in San Francisco, Scott has since used his illustration degree to pursue a wide variety of projects. His most notable artistic achievements include his art direction in acclaimed video games, Psychonauts and Brutal Legend, as well as his Great Showdowns series and Double Fine Action Comics.
|Your work often draws on a wide spectrum of pop culture. Are you inspired by topics that are nostalgic to you? Can you share any more about this?
It is true! Pop culture is a big influence on my paintings. I am inspired by nostalgia and making fun of the things that have influenced my life since childhood. Well, maybe it's not making fun really. Or, maybe it is. We're laughing together, pop culture and I. I like to feel good and make people happy. Oftentimes people are pretty happy when they recognize things and discover things. I like to create paintings that give people those moments.
|Your work has also been present in many forms of media—video games, paintings, comic books, and children books. Can you talk about how working in all these forms of media has influenced your growth as an artist? Is there a media you hope to one day work in?
I've worked in video games for about 10 years or so, creating concept art and storyboards for Double Fine Productions. The biggest projects were probably Psychonauts and Brutal Legend. Working on those titles taught me about backstory and meaning behind the way things look and how environments and characters themselves can tell a story. While working at Double Fine, I made comics and watercolor paintings for galleries and made visits to comic conventions. Video games, comics, and galleries were all very different venues for creating stories and they all fueled my creativity differently. Each made an impact upon the other. Children's books are a rather new medium for me, but it's one that I have been excited about exploring since I was young. Kids create the craziest stories, so it is fun to try to think in that realm. The one media I would love to explore is film and also live performance...and puppets. I would like to try all three of those things actually.
|I’ve noticed you primarily work in watercolors, giving your artwork a particular lightness and brevity. You also make strong use of the residual effects of the watercolors, which also adds a dimension of roughness. How do these effects play a role in your art work?
It took me awhile to find comfort in my painting medium. I tried acrylic and gouache, but they all felt too dense for me. Watercolors have an awesome airiness to them that makes me feel super good. I like getting the texture and looseness as well. My style is pretty janky with a shaky line because I like imperfection. There is more character in a weird effed-up line than in a perfect line, I feel. I'd like to get into more textures actually, like collage. I've always wanted to go back and try oils again though, which was my absolute favorite long ago.
|There’s also a sense of innocence and child-like curiosity in your work. Can you discuss how you achieve this quality in your work or why it is consistent in your work?
I have always been fascinated by children's art and stories. I wonder where the heck they get these crazy ideas from. They create insane scenarios that adults struggle to come up with. I used to work with kids an awful lot and I enjoyed listening to their stories as they painted. I would like to think that some of that energy has crept into the narratives that I create in my paintings.
|What role does humor play in your artwork? Is the humor intentional or a layer to your artwork that comes naturally upon completion?
The most enjoyable reaction I could get from someone observing my paintings is laughter, a little pointing, and even smiling. I could go with smiling just fine. I realized a while ago that that was what was most important to me when people experience my artwork. But I don't like to shovel it out to everyone. I like to lay out a few little things and make them subtle so that they can piece it together themselves. Other times, they are obviously just overly preposterous. That's how it goes.
|Can you discuss the steps you took in working with writer Kelly DiPucchio? We are curious to know how Zombie in Love began and evolved to the final result.
The idea for Zombie In Love came from my editor at Simon & Schuster, Namrata Tripathi. Kelly wrote a super funny story with really descriptive notes and ideas on jokes. Most of the illustration process was coming up with visual gags with Namrata and Sonia Chaghatzbanian, the art director, to enhance the story. They were all amazingly clever people, so the process was very enjoyable. It's incredibly satisfying to make each other laugh when you all respect each other's tastes. So that's how it went, and I enjoyed the process very much.
|How did you come to the final design of the book's main character, Mortimer the zombie? What was the process? What were his most important character traits?
Mortimer had to be a lovable dude. But he also had to be a zombie. Zombies are terrifying and gross usually, so we had to make him pleasant enough for kids to want him to succeed in finding someone special. I wanted to make him look sort of optimistic and eager, so that you don't get too sad when he is failing all the time. And we had rules for the goriness as well. We could have body parts fall off, but it had to almost look like a doll. And no messed up skin. I tried having worms coming out of his skin, but it was decided that that was going too far. So we kept him blueish. People turn blue when they die, I think I read somewhere.
|Can you identify with Mortimer in anyway?
Well, I have his plaid shirt for sure.
|Do you have any dating advice for those looking for that special someone out there?
Yeah, man. Keep trying over and over again and go to any dance titled "Cupid's Ball" and if you hear someone fall down and make a crashing sound behind you, turn around! It may be that super special someone, but if it's not, that's ok, too.
Big puppy dog eyes, a pleasant smile, rubbery arms to hold, and a soft shirt. Those are some ingredients, but you can mix and match.
|You often portray seemingly scary or threatening creatures like Mortimer as friendly or approachable. Can you put into words why or how you are able to do this?
|We hear you have an awesome art book being released soon. What can you tell us about it?
I do have an art book coming out! it is called Amazing Everything. Insight Editions is putting it out and Jack Black did a special little foreword for it. It compiles many of my paintings in the past few years from various shows including some things from Home Slice and Great Great Grand Show at Gallery Nucleus. Just a bunch of things. It will be hard bound and largeish and it'll sit nicely on coffee tables or people's laps.
|What other projects do you have in the works? Can you share any secret stuff?
I've got a variety of little group shows going on. Some book things are in the works. The Great Showdowns are still happening. Summer is still happening. Fall is almost here. All kinds of things!
For his latest exhibition with Nucleus, Justin Gerard honed his illustrative talents to recreate his own vision of St. George and the Dragon. Aptly titled, St. George and the Dragon, the show consists of seven fantasy-driven pieces, a combination of pencil, ink, and watercolor drawings, each capturing a passage within the story. Justin is no stranger to this kind of content—his portfolio displays a diverse eclecticism of monsters and magic having done fantasy concept art for Warner Bros. and Insomniac Games. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Justin and ask him a few questions about his Gallery Nucleus Show. Here are some of his thoughts on the St. George tale, his re-visioning, and his creative process.
"I have always enjoyed the St. George legend and have contemplated doing a short series on it for some time. Some of my interest in it is in the simple, straight-forward enjoyment I get out of man vs. monster themed works. And knight vs. dragon is perhaps the most archetypical variation of this theme in Western culture.
But much of my interest in the story is also religious and personal to me and is a bit hard to explain with words. I have always had an easier time making sense of, and communicating, these sort of feelings through visuals, rather than through words. Words never seem to really capture what I am after. Sort of like seeing and experiencing a sunset and taking a photo of it with a digital camera. As good as the digital camera photo may be when seeing it later, it never seems to measure up to the actual experience.
It is likely that I will return to the St. George legend in the future. When preparing for this show I created several dozen thumbnails, many of which I was pleased with, but due to the limitations of time, was unable to pursue. There are also other themes within the overall legend that I would find compelling to explore."
When asked about the particularity of the scenes he had chosen to illustrate, Justin remarked that they were a product of heavy rumination and meditation and that they best reflected his own feelings at time. He also added, "Like other illustrators of the fantasy genre, I just really like drawing dragons." Who's to argue with that one?
Justin also spoke with uncertainty on how "St. George and the Dragon" would fit into his large catalogue of work, even hinting that this re-envisioning was only just the beginning of what he hoped to explore.
"Possibly it will find a common thread with the rest of my work because the man vs. monster or man vs. impossible circumstances themed works have existed and will likely always exist in my work. I suppose also that the limitations of my own abilities and the technical peculiarities of my own methods of working will likely brand these as creations of mine. But I am not really sure how they will fit in. I feel like I am still just sort of getting started with everything. There is so much more I want to explore, so many other stories I want to tackle that I am not certain how these pieces will fit in."
And as for the actually creative process? From the sounds of it, it's very meticulous and thoughtful, often requiring the piece to undergo many transformations before actually arriving to its finished state.
"Generally it involves a lot of conceptual work in pencil and then more conceptual work in digital. I spend a lot of time early on trying to separate good ideas from bad ideas. (Or at least that is the plan...) After this I will do a very tight drawing to size. Then I will transfer that drawing to bristol board and watercolor the piece. For some of these I will often take that watercolor and then work digitally over that to further refine it. I have an idea in my head, often from the very first thumbnail I did of a scene, and sometimes I can achieve the colors and ideas in my head with just watercolor, and sometimes I can't. When I can't seem to get it through watercolor I almost always finish the painting digitally. I hate not being able to really capture what's in my head. It's sort of like waking from a really amazing dream and remembering that it was amazing but not being able to remember anything about it."
Lastly, we asked Justin about any recent sources of inspirations and how these may have aided him in his creative efforts.
"I took a backpacking trip along the John Muir trail recently, and like most backcountry trips, it was very inspiring. I tend to spend most of the earlier parts of these trips hating hiking, camping, people, traveling, switch-backs, and mosquitos. But by the end I end up loving life and people again. And I tend to come back with a much better perspective on everything afterwards. Getting out and away from everything does a lot for me. The John Muir trail is an amazing place for reflection, meditation and inspiration. And also to get eaten by mosquitos if you go at the wrong time of year."
So if you haven't already, be sure to come by Nucleus and check out Justin's St. George and the Dragon and be on the look out for his upcoming piece in Nucleus's October show, Breath of Embers.
The work of Jeremy Enecio reveals not just a young master who commands his media with precision and passion, but an artist who knows how to convey strong haunting atmospheres laced with symbolism and curiosity. For his latest Nucleus exhibition, "Embodiments," Jeremy uses these strengths to explore his recent fascination with nymph mythology. But rather than recreating the image of the nymph, Jeremy uses the nymph as a foundation, a fertile base in which his own ideas can expand and grow. In a short interview, Jeremy was kind enough to illuminate the processes behind his work, shedding light upon the nymphs, their meaning, and the significance of their recontextualization. Here are his thoughts on the nymphs and the fascination behind them.
"For some reason, I’ve always found nymphs to be quite fascinating even among the myriad other creatures and characters written in ancient Greek mythology. Maybe it’s the simplicity behind their very being; spirits of nature depicted as beautiful women. They personify forests, bodies of water, valleys and mountains. I’m interested by the idea of inanimate objects and spaces having souls and visualizing them in human form. Looking back, I noticed that the majority of the figures in my work were embodiments of one thing or another, whether it be chaos, harmony, light, balance, etc. I wanted to explore this more by delving into man-made constructs, like beauty and poverty."
When asked about the nymphs and the man-made constructs, Jeremy revealed that this juxtaposition was meant as a way to explore his own understanding of modern concepts. Taking these ideas and appropriating them to paint has allowed him to turn the tangible into things of visual substance.
"I like to think of nymphs as not having any one true form, yet they reveal themselves in particular ways. In most traditional cases they are human females. I took this a little bit further using spirits, perceived visually, to represent not only objects, but concepts. They act as icons, or proxies to otherwise invisible things. Nymphs are also bound to their environment, perhaps because they are their environment. This idea plays a key role in this series in that the figures only represent part of what makes up the nymph. They are not isolated from the elements surrounding them. In “Poverty,” the two figures in the distant background, indifferent yet capable of judgement, are an extention of the central figure as an embodiment of that particular experience.
Most of us rarely look at the world we live in without being bogged down by societal influences. We see beauty the way we were taught to see it. We use technology and can’t imagine life without it. I wanted to convey these ideas in a timeless way. The idea of the nymph is an ancient one, and using it to illustrate modern ideas forces the viewer out of their own modern perception of things."
As for the dark and brooding aesthetic quality to his work, Jeremy spoke of these decisions as being intuitive and without the intentionality of being creepy or haunting.
"I think as an aesthetic, it has always been subconscious in my work. Often times, I don’t even see a piece as being dark, whereas someone else would find it utterly creepy. Although most of the pieces in this show are admittedly somewhat dark, the concepts I’ve chosen to illustrate are not altogether negative. Technology, for instance, is by no means a bane on humanity, but I’ve represented it as a figure in struggle, awkwardly attempting to balance on artificiality, and with multiple eyes to view the world simultaneously, there is a sense of bewilderment. I think images that bring negative issues to light have a bigger impact on me and stick with me more intensely than an image without any tension."
When it came to the actual creation of the work, Jeremy outlned the process from notebook sketches to finalized painting. Here's what he had to say on the production of "Embodiments":
"I started off with notes, jotting down ideas of what I wanted to see embodied in human form. After I narrowed down the ideas into a group I was happy with, I focused on symbolism, trying to incorporate certain motifs and personal symbols into the sketches. This is a challenge because it’s important for me to pull from my own vocabulary of meanings and keep away from universal symbolism. The finished pieces are a mixture of acrylic and oil. I am constantly experimenting with different techniques which is why there are so many variations of paint application in this series. That’s the fun part for me. I painted all of the pieces sort of simultaneously, keeping a close watch on how they all fit together. At several intervals, placing them all side by side to make sure they felt like one body of work while at the same time, having a good variety of color schemes."
When asked about the future of his work and what direction it would take, Jeremy seemed uncertain, but seemed quite pleased with how things were turning out, stating that he was enjoying the direction in his subject matter.
Currently, Jeremy has taken an interest in film, and has been following the works of numerous directors including Stanley Kubric, Quentin Tarantino, Akira Kurosawa, Takashi Miike, P.T. Anderson, Park Chan Wook, and the Coen Brothers. He is particularly obsessed with the cinematic masterpiece, "Baraka." We look forward to how these influences will make their way into Jeremy's work!
We are excited about tonight's opening for many reasons including a fun raffle contest where Junko Mizuno fans can take home some really special items. All attendees will each receive 1 free raffle ticket and additional ones are available for $1 each. At least three prizes will be awarded at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm.
- Zodiac Girls Sticker Set
- Melvins Letter Press Print
- Exclusive Giclées
- BIG Magazine Poster
- Cinderalla Silkscreen (artist proof)
Hope to see you tonight!
We've got a brand new Junko Mizuno exclusive graphic t-shirt coming your way! They're coming hot off the press and will available for this Saturday's show. Pick one up while you can!
And here's a sneak-peek at the design... It's only a mock-up, but the final design will feature silver foil covering the white flowers and bunny skull. Stay tuned for actual pictures!
Alongside our three other exhibitions to be featured this Saturday, will be Rick O'Brien's gallery installation, A Wolf in the Fold. This piece impacts beyond the visual level, embodying the elements of ambition and struggle as means to conceptual convey O'Brien's interest in human fraility and fortitude. Curious? Take a look at these teaser pics.
We hope that you can join us as we present this installation as well as our triple opening this Saturday, August 6th!
Japanese artist, Junko Mizuno, has a very distinguishable style—her works, renowned for their vibrant colors and luscious figures and a fascination with the macabre, have garnered much deserved attention and acclaim. Her latest show with Nucleus will showcase her earlier illustrations from her book, Cinderalla. Skimming through these pieces, it’s difficult to absorb them without a piqued curiosity—the drawings are so imaginative and surreal, so vivid and captivating, one can’t help but wonder what it may all mean. Luckily, Junko was nice enough to answer some of these pressing issues.
Through a brief interview, Junko unpacked the layers to her artwork, revealing that her work, while striking in terms of subject matter, was ultimately a product of intuition and her own personal experiences. Here’s what she had to say when we asked her about her choice of juxtaposing the grotesque with the cute:
“I really don't have anything I want to convey in my art. I make art for my pleasure and feel very lucky that I can make a living on it. I wonder why some people seem to notice only cuteness and grotesqueness in my work. My art is a reflection of myself and it has a lot of elements in it just like I do. Not only just cuteness and grotesqueness. I grew up enjoying "cute" Japanese stuff, I also enjoy some B-horror movies, I like silly Japanese comedy shows, I love food etc. etc... and they are all in my art! It's just natural that I'm influenced by many different things. I've never tried to mix only cuteness and grotesqueness into art just to shock people.”
When asked about her decision to depict her female characters as being strong willed while also being very sexualized, Junko responded by saying that this was a choice based upon her interest in drawing the female form.
“I just love drawing women and I feel liberated when I depict them as energetic and feisty. But I'm not trying to send out messages by my work at all. My art is basically very personal. The female characters in my work might be my ideal self, but it's not that I'm saying all women should be like them.”
As for the imaginative landscapes that Junko has molded, she added that these too, were also intuitively designed, meant only to be a vehicle for her own fantastic vision.
“There's no logic to them at all! They are just my fantasies so you don't need to take them too seriously. I just want people to enjoy them however they want. I know they may have meanings if psychologically analyzed, but I don't feel the need to do it. I want to stay spontaneous. If I think too much, my work gets boring!”
The remainder of the interview focused on Cinderalla, how such project came into fruition and what inspired Junko to add her own twists to the classic fairy tale.
“It was actually a request from the editors. When we decided to make a series of graphic novels, I wanted to do my original stories. But the editors thought the story of my previous comic "Pure Trance" was not good enough and assumed I didn't have the
ability to make decent stories. So they came up with the idea to base the story on fairy tales.
The concept of the project was making my version of Cinderella so I had to give it my own twists. Since Cinderalla is over ten years old now, I don't remember what exactly I was influenced by... It's really fun to read my old comic. I can enjoy it as if it's something new because I usually forget about my work soon after I finish it. So when I read it after a while, I'm always like, "What was I thinking?" I must have been crazy!" and find myself laughing at my own work."
Junko also spoke of how her work on Cinderalla was a great stepping-stone in her artistic career.
"It was my first time finishing a long story at once (In Japan, comics are usually serialized in magazines and collected into books once they have enough number of pages) so it gave me confidence as a comic artist. I couldn't use the computer at the time we were making the Japanese edition, so I had to have this designer guy color the pages for me. He was kind of reluctant and ignored a lot of my requests so I was not happy with the result at all. It led me to start learning how to use the computer which led me to succesfully color the US edition of Cinderalla. This was a result I was quite happy with."
When asked about what would be coming up, Junko happily replied that she’s currently working on an up-coming food-themed art show. Keep your eyes peeled and appetite wetted for this one!
Orlando's BRINK Magazine has kindly featured us in their August/September issue. BRINK focuses on art and pop culture and covers a wide range of topics ranging from fashion and film to music and spirituality. Check out what BRINK has to offer and be sure to read up on Nucleus!