I first met artist Jason Edmiston at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. I'd swung by his booth to get a closer look at the giclee-printed version of the Hand of Ming painting he'd done for the first Mondo Gallery show (for more info, check out this writeup), and I was amused when Edmiston turned out to be nothing like what I'd expected. You look over the guy's work, and you sense that a face-to-face might involve a Rob Zombie lookalike, all stringy black hair and goofy horror tats up and down both arms. Instead, I discovered an unfailingly polite (he's Canadian, it's their way), cheerfully gregarious, clean-shaven geek. Just like everyone else at Con, except for the polite, cheerful, clean-shaven parts.
Anyway, we've stayed in touch since that meeting, and I ran into him again last month when the Mondo Gallery opened up Edmiston's first-ever solo show, a collection of pieces that he dubbed the Rogues Gallery. Here's how Edmiston describes the lineup:
My art show pays tribute to some of my favorite monsters and villains throughout the history of genre movies. I’ve always been fascinated by the antagonistic or evil characters in horror, science fiction, and fantasy films. These creatures demanded your attention, with their speech, their actions, their appearance. My intent is to celebrate these characters, and hail them in the most iconic way, demonstrating their inherent powers and intensity of personality.
As you already know if you've read my report from that event, the show was a big hit, offering up a slew of gorgeous pieces. Some were screenprinted, some were giclee-printed, some were in pencil, and some were full-blown paint-on-canvas originals, but every piece was a knockout. At the time, Edmiston mentioned that he was soon opening a new online store to sell his aftermarket AP's (Artist's Proofs, which are almost always of a lower edition size than the regular versions sold online or in galleries), and we agreed to touch base again before that site went live. When he contacted me yesterday and announced that the launch was nigh, I asked if he'd like to walk us through his latest batch of AP posters to help get the word out about his new web address.
He agreed, and sent over some hi-res images of the five post-Rogues Gallery AP's he'll be selling tomorrow, as well as some pretty interesting commentary on each piece. Let's start things off with a look at one of the show's most well-received pieces, this 16x24" print based on The Terminator (note from the artist: "All giclees are made with archival inks on acid-free paper. The colors in these prints are vibrant and perfectly matched to the original acrylic paintings. The paper is heavy and has the texture of fine quality watercolor paper. Printed by Static Medium."):
One Possible Future
Limited AP edition of 16, signed and numbered 16" x 24" giclee print.
The Terminator left a lasting impression on me when I was a kid. I loved the stop-motion endoskeletons of the opening scene, with their skull-crushing footsteps, and glowing red eyes. The blue night sky was filled with smoke and fuchsia laser blasts, while a pounding bass line signalled the impending doom. I wanted to capture this moment with my Terminator poster. My robot death-machine marches over your corpse, as it ignores your existence, without remorse, moving on to the next target.
This next one's been really popular with the poster-collecting crowd, and with good reason: Edmiston has absolutely nailed the Predator in this piece. This one really shows off the benefit of the guy's chosen format, offering up a glistening, slimy-looking Hunter standing underneath jungle undergrowth that's dripping with sticky blood. Stare at it long enough and you'll see enough depth to start wondering if it isn't a Magic Eye-style trick.
Limited AP edition of 16, signed and numbered 24" x 18" giclee print.
Another creature created by the legendary Stan Winston studios, The Predator, is a masterpiece of modern alien character design. Like a cyborg Rastafarian on steroids, with a mouth that at once evokes fear of crustaceans and female genitalia, the Predator (originally referred to as Hunter during early production), is the ultimate bad-ass from outer space. He would rather self-destruct than let his prey escape. I had to paint this monster. It was the most fun I had during the four months I spent working on my solo show. The colors, the textures, the lighting...everything was a blast, and I believe the joy I had shows in the final piece.
The following piece, based on Friedkin's The Exorcist, is jaw-dropping in person: the black is really, really deep, causing the face to...well, as silly as it sounds, this thing seems to be popping off the wall out you when you're looking at it head on. Spooky, indeed.
Limited AP edition of 15, signed and numbered 12" x 16" giclee print.
Pazuzu is only seen for fractions of a second, during several key scenes in The Exorcist. The demon's face flashes so quickly and unexpectedly across the screen, that the viewer doesn't quite even believe that it even appeared. It was the embodiment of an unexplainable evil, living in the soul of a young girl, and it didn't want to leave. The face of Pazuzu was terrifying every time I watched the movie, and I had to capture it in a painting. The portrait is based on a few reference shots of the demon that I gathered, formed into the most terrifying version of the creature that I could create.
Here's what Jason had to say about his print for John Carpenter's They Live:
Limited AP edition of 16, signed and numbered 18" x 24" giclee print.
The alien infiltrators of John Carpenter's They Live, were, much like the movie itself, hiding something sinister. They were the symbol for the over-reaching government, and mindless consumer culture present in America during the 1980's. The film masqueraded as a straight-up B-movie, full of shady authority figures, and a rough and tumble everyman hero, played by an ex-wrestler. The hidden message, was that in reality, we are all slowly losing our freedom of individual thought, and expression, due to actions by our leaders and military, police force, and big business, and inaction by us. As the tagline goes: "we sleep, they live". Who better to represent the height of power during this time, than Ronald Reagan, not-so-subtly represented as one of "them".
And, finally, here's Jason on this gorgeous Texas Chainsaw Massacre-themed piece:
Limited AP edition of 16, signed and numbered 11" x 14" giclee print.
Leatherface loves meat. Loves butchering it, eating it, wearing it. It doesn't matter to him where the meat comes from either. He's a vegan's worst nightmare. I wanted my portrait of Tan-Mom's boyfriend (Ed. Note: Ha!) to be original. I removed his famous chainsaw, and replaced it with his favorite bludgeoning tool. I also thought that it would make him a little more menacing by giving him a tiny gleam in his eye.
Special thanks to Jason Edmiston for taking the time to talk about these gorgeous prints with us. As we mentioned above, Edmiston's new online store will be offering all of the above (there's some other work on display there, as well, but you'll need to click through to see the rest) tomorrow, when it goes live at noon on Friday the 13th. You better believe the date isn't a coincidence.