* (April / May 2012) WAYNE BARLOWE AND HIS INFLUENCE ON THE MODERN FILM
* (Dec. '11 / Jan. '12) AARON McBRIDE: "AYE! HERE THERE BE PIRATES!"
* (Sept. / Oct. 2011) BOB PEAK - POSTER ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE
* (July / Aug. 2011) "AVENGERS"-2012 CONCEPT ART: CHARLIE WEN & RYAN MEINERDING
* "RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES" CONCEPT ART
* "TORA! TORA! TORA!" CONCEPT ART: ROBERT McCALL
We love art and illustration. The movie poster work of Drew Struzan, Richard Amsel, Frank McCarthy and Bob McGinnis; the cinematic concept depictions of Joe Johnston, Ken Adam, Ralph McQuarrie and Neville Page; the lush character-based comic book world of Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Adam Hughes and everyone in between. Inspired by early masters of light, shape, form and visual structure like Renoir, Rodin and Magritte, contemporary illustrators, cinematographers and directors (James Cameron, Ridley Scott, Clive Barker, David Lynch and Guillermo del Toro are
all accomplished illustrator / painter / artists in their own right)
know that, even above and beyond the written world, early concept
illustrations are the best and most effective way to breathe the
emotional "soul" of a proposed film project into the heart and mind (the very consciousness) of a prospective audience ... not to mention studio execs and financial backers.
Here in GALLERIES we celebrate the all too often unsung heroes who's
work more often than not is seldom seen by the general public.
SOARING WITH ROBERT MCCALL (1919 - 2010):
"TORA! TORA! TORA!" PRE-PRODUCTION ART
"One of the joys of being an artist is the freedom to create one's own world, and through the use of brushes and paints, to explore that world and participate in adventures of the mind that the real world could not possibly provide. Like the real world, these excursions of the imagination are fraught with inaccuracies of perception. It is rare that one glimpses through the veil of time even a hint of tomorrow's reality, nor does it seem important to me, whether one's perceptions are right or wrong. The pleasure is in making the predictions and doing the work.
Today we live in a world filled with awesome possibilities, both good and bad. The rush of technology is so rapid, to stay abreast of it has become more and more difficult. Our understanding of the physical universe continues to grow and astonish us with it's marvelous complexity.
To be an artist in these times of explosive change is, for me, a privilege and a challenge. My goal is to document in my drawings and paintings a small part of this changing world, and to anticipate in my work, the future that lies ahead".
- Robert T. McCall
Perhaps best known to film fans as the artist responsible for the early conceptual design work on films such as STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, THE BLACK HOLE and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (see above image: McCall's work so popular it would be featured in the film's poster ad campaign and it's soundtrack album gatefold), to art and aerospace aficionados Robert McCall was the public's vision of NASA throughout the 1960s - 1980. From his legendary LIFE Magazine work depicting (an at the time prognostication of) mankind's galactic future, to his stunningly three-dimensional WWII illustrations (one can almost smell spent fuel exhaust belching from the smoking engines of fighter planes), McCall's visual depictions of aero and astronautics were arguably as recognizable to the general public as was the SATURDAY EVENING POST art of Norman Rockwell, ... though McCall's name was not.
It was McCall's depiction of wartime aeronautics which brought him to the attention of producer Darryl F. Zanuck and 20th Century Fox for TORA! TORA! TORA! A daring cinematic gamble, TORA! would (as with Zanuck's earlier THE LONGEST DAY) depict the events leading up to and including a history-changing World War II event - in this case the Japanese attack on the American Naval Airbase at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. At the time one of the largest logisitical undertakings in filmic history, McCall's illustrations were needed to serve a dual purpose. 1) To help director Richard Fleischer (in charge of the American production crew while Toshio Masuda & Kinji Fukasaku helmed the Japanese segments) give his geographically splintered action, stunt and special effects (full scale and miniature) units a unifying vision and tone for the film as a hole. And 2) to convince the Fox board of directors to spring for TORA's (at the time astronomical) $25 million budget. McCall's stunning images did the trick, and, after three years of research and prep, TORA! TORA! TORA! received the final production "green light".
Robert McCall passed away February 26, 2010 at the age of 90, leaving behind his beloved wife Louise, two daughters, and four grandchildren.
While postage stamps and NASA mission patches with his work are now valued collectibles, the public today still admires his stunningly rich, detailed and imaginative mural work which graces The National Gallery of Art, Epcot, the Pentagon, the National Air and Space Museum, and NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
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