Tag Archives: Creature Features

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year 2017..if just a little bit late!

I would have reported in sooner, but things have been hopping right from the start of 2017. I am actually working on a film project for the first tine in quite some doing some cartoony character/product designs. It is a lot of fun but also quite hush-hush. When I am able to say more, I will update the blog.

On the personal side, I have a number of new irons in the fire. A wonderful gallery called the “Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum” in Burbank recently premiered a “Twilight Zone/Alfred Hitchcock” themed group show. A number of folks I know were participating and I thought I should try to get in on the action. Despite being overbooked, the gallery owners very graciously allowed me to enter a painting. The Rod Serling portrait that appears on my portfolio page is now hanging on their walls. It was an amazing show that had crowds lined up around the block. I was quite proud to be part of this event and I hope I will get the opportunity to do more shows with them.

I also had an idea for an original Hitchcock-themed piece, but there was no time to work on it as my friends at the Creature Features Gallery right down the street from the Bearded Lady announced a slew of group shows for the first half of the year. The first one was timed to coincide with the release of the new film, “Kong Skull Island”. This show was headlined by master illustrator and Kong enthusiast William Stout. They also had their usual array of fantastic artists covering the walls with all things King Kong.

For my painting, I decided I would take a satirical swipe at the 1976 Dino DeLaurentis produced remake of “King Kong”. From a young age I have been fascinated with the saga of bringing this particular beast to the screen. For those not in the know, DeLaurentis decided that for his film, they would forego the traditional stop-motion animation that brought the original giant gorilla to life. Instead, they would utilize a combination of newer techniques; a performer in a gorilla suit and a full-sized robotic Kong. For the suit fabrication and performance, the production hired a then up and coming Rick Baker. You might remember him as the Oscar winning makeup artist behind “An American Werewolf in London”, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” among many others. For the mechanical version, DeLaurentis hired his friend, mechanical effects artist Carlo Rambaldi (“Alien”, E.T.”, “Dune”).

The story is long and there are several places on the web that probably tell it better than I could. Suffice it to say, Rick Baker has always regarded “Kong” as one of his worst job experiences. From the get-go he wasn’t treated with much respect. Being an ape enthusiast, Baker and team lovingly crafted the suit to look as much like a real gorilla as possible. Rambaldi’s robot looked like a bad wax museum display, but hey, it was BIG! The only problem was, it didn’t really work! Wearing the technically groundbreaking but cumbersome ape suit must have been torture. However, because Rambaldi’s full size ape was an unmitigated disaster and can only be seen in pretty much one or two shots near the end of the film, 99.98% of the shots had to be done with Rick Baker ape-ing it up on miniature sets. After all that work, guess who gets a special acknowledgement card at the end of the film AND a Special Achievement Academy Award at the Oscars that year? Yup! Carlo. While I always thought they had blinders on when it came to the quality of Rambaldi’s work, it turns out that may not have been true after all. I read somewhere recently that DeLaurentis knew early on that the full sized versions of Kong just weren’t going to work. He turned lemons into lemonade by inviting the press to the first day of shooting with the robot Kong. They got to see it do the one or two simple things it could do, and assumed that was how the effects would be achieved. Essentially, DeLaurentis..lied!

In my painting, I wanted to show these two versions fighting against each other. I knew that the robot Kong wouldn’t last through more than one punch. This idea immediately called to mind the famous Life photograph of Muhammad Ali standing over a fallen Sonny Liston who took a dive in the first minute of the first round of their second fight in 1965. This provided everything I needed for the painting. I added my usual “eye pops” for those who get the in-jokes. Here now for your perusal, “The Crumble in the Jungle”…

The Crumble in the Jungle painting

“The Crumble in the Jungle” 36 x 24. Acrylic on Canvas. © Mark Tavares

I hope you liked it. The painting will be on display, for sale, at the Gallery for the next week or so. There are also numbered prints for sale. Head to the Creature Features website for info!

More to come! Thanks for reading!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, Caricature, Celebrity, Creature Features, Dino DeLaurentis, Gallery Showings, Movies, New Art, Painting, Paintings for Sale, Twilight Zone, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Stan Against Evil and Dana Gould

Premiering November 2nd on IFC is a brand new comedy from Writer/Comedian Dana Gould called “Stan Against Evil”. It tells the tale of recently retired Sheriff Stan Miller (John C. McGinley) and newly appointed Sheriff Evie Barrett (Janet Varney) as they battle the 172 Demons that have descended upon their little town of Willard’s Mill, New Hampshire. I had the pleasure of seeing the first two episodes at a recent screening and the whole thing is quite funny! There are a number of references that could only have come from the mind of Dana Gould. It is fair to say that it occupies some of the same territory as “Ash VS. Evil Dead” but that’s okay. There is plenty of room there for everyone, AND it’s free!

My connection to the whole thing came about recently. I have been fortunate to work with Dana on a number of posters for his recent Stand-up gigs around the country. We share a lot of the same geek sensibilities which makes the assignments a true pleasure to work on. Having been aware of the painting I did of the cast of “Justified”, Dana inquired about the possibility of my doing a painting as a wrap gift for his cast. How could I say no? With “Justified”, I had seven seasons of material with which I was very familiar. “Stan” hadn’t even premiered yet. All I had was a reference shot of lead John McGinley. So, Dana gave me access to rough cuts of the first two episodes. It’s good to be the Executive Producer! After reviewing those, I had a good idea of the tone. I then set to work sketching a few ideas. Dana’s main requirement was for the setting to be the Witch’s Graveyard from the show. In addition to the videos, he also gave me some nice photo reference of the cast and the location. Armed with all of that, a design was agreed upon and I set to work on the painting. This was what emerged a short time later.

Stan Against Evil painting by Mark Tavares

“Stan Against Evil” 24 x 18. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

Dana and I both referenced Al Jaffee’s “Fold-In” illustrations in the back of every MAD Magazine as a style reference for this painting. I hope I managed to capture some of that essence here!

I highly recommend checking out the show. Head over to IFC for details by clicking this LINK!

Thanks for looking!

Posted in Caricature, Celebrity, Commissioned Art, Dana Gould, Halloween, Television, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Godzilla & Godot

Hello! Once again, my good friends at the Creature Features gallery in Burbank, CA have put together a great group art show in which I just had to participate. Actually this is a sequel show if you will; the “All Art Attack 2” Group Art Show. As you may recall, the last time this was done, the world was celebrating the 60th anniversary of the much beloved Giant Lizard, Godzilla. The sequel show is happening because we are close to getting TWO new Godzilla films and probably just because it’s a fun theme. Given the amount of attention the opening received from contributing artists, the media, and the public, I would bet heavily on the latter reason. As far as my contribution to the show, I went for something somewhat obscure and brought together the worlds of Godzilla & Godot. I give you “Waiting for Ghidorah”.

Waiting for Ghidorah (Godzilla & Ghidorah) painting

“Waiting for Ghidorah” 24 x 18. Acrylic on Oak Panel. © Mark Tavares

 

Now, having expressed a deep love for the Giant Rubber Monster film genre in the past, one would think I would have a warehouse of ideas ready to go for an occasion such as this sequel show. That was not the case though. I was suffering through a bout of severe “painter’s block” you might say as the deadline crept closer and closer. Enter my my very creative friend and former business partner, Brett Dewey. My old Humerus buddy and I share a great many geek tendencies. So, when I happened to casually mention that I was having troubles landing on a concept for this show, he did what he always does; carpet bomb me with all sorts of fun parody, mashup, and current events inspired ideas.

Of the many great suggestions, the “Waiting for Godot” turned “Waiting for Godzilla” parody was the one that caught my eye. Like many folks, I had always known of the phrase “Waiting for Godot” and that it was from a play. (Admittedly, I was only half-sure about the play part) Researching it, I was fascinated by the basic story and the visual possibilities of dropping the G-Man into it. I was completely sold when I saw pictures of several different productions including a 2013 Broadway run with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. I just had to see Gandalf sitting next to Godzilla on a sparsely designed set wearing hobo clothes!

The show runs until August 28. If you are in twin, do head over there and check it out. In case you were wondering, the painting is for sale. There are also a limited number of signed prints available for purchase. Click on this link for more info!

Thanks for looking!!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, Creature Features, Gallery Showings, Paintings for Sale, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Willy Wonka meets James Bond

Willy Wonka meets James Bond!

Hello all! Once again, I find myself fortunate enough to be participating in another fun group art show hosted by the Creature Features Gallery in Burbank, CA. This show is called “Twits, Whizzpoppers, and Snozberries – The Roald Dahl Group Art Show”. As the title suggests, the show is paying tribute to Mr. Roald Dahl, the author of such classics as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “James and the Giant Peach”, and “The BFG” (the movie adaptation of which opens quite soon). For my contribution to the show, I went for a mashup, sort of Willy Wonka meets James Bond.

James Bond?

For those who might not be aware, Mr. Dahl in addition to writing the above mentioned children’s classics, also penned the screenplay to the James Bond film, “You Only Live Twice”. To promote the film, legendary painter and illustrator Robert McGinnis was brought in to create what I feel is some of the best key poster art ever realized for a Bond film. One piece in particular is his interpretation of a moment from the film wherein Bond, played by Sean Connery, is being bathed by several lovely Japanese women. It’s a ridiculously sexist image that perfectly encapsulates the James Bond attitude of that era. To drop Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka character into that visual along with a few OompaLoompas to me felt like the perfect way to push it all over into absurdity. So, here it is!

"The Suspense is Terrible" painting by Mark Tavares, a Willy Wonka meets James Bond mashup

“The Suspense is Terrible..I hope it lasts!” © Mark Tavares 24 x 18. Acrylic on Masonite.

The show opened on 6/26/2016 and will run for the next couple of weeks. The painting is for sale. There are also a very limited run of numbered prints available for purchase at the show. If none of that works for you, you can always purchase a print from my online print store by clicking on this link, or hitting the Buy Prints link over in the menu!

Thanks for looking!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, Caricature, Celebrity, Movies, New Art, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Atomic Tiki Terrors Art Show

Creatures Features in Burbank, one of my favorite galleries, has invited me and a slew of other terrific artists to join in their brand new “Atomic Tiki Terrors” art show. It opens on July 19 and runs through August 9, 2015. It is a combination of two Mid Century American fads which are just as popular today as they were back then; Tiki Culture and The Monster Craze. Both were part of the fallout (pun intended) of the Cold War era. The possibility of Nuclear Annihilation drove Americans to drown their fears in fruity tropical drinks and lounge music, or to seek out Monster movies and television shows which provided scares, jumps, and the promise of escape from the all too real terror that surround them daily.

For my Atomic/Tiki mashup, I went back to one of the favorite monsters of my youth. When I was just the right age, I saw a little black and white film called “War of the Colossal Beast”, which was the sequel to AIP’s “The Amazing Colossal Man”. The films tell the tale of Air Force Col. Glen Manning who bravely disobeys orders and tries to rescue some folks who crashed their light plane into the Nevada Test Site. Unfortunately for Glen, he is unable to reach the plane before the “Plutonium Bomb” they were testing detonates, showering him with radiation. Instead of killing him though, the extreme radiation causes Glen’s cells to grow rapidly, repairing his injuries, and causing him to grow to 60 feet tall. The rapid growth takes both his hair and his sanity. Eventually, the madness causes Glen to escape his military handlers and run rampant through the Las Vegas strip, causing untold toy car damage. He is finally herded to Boulder Dam where he is forced over the edge by a bazooka shot. He falls to his death, or DOES HE? In “War” we find out the fall didn’t kill Manning. It only ripped half his face off and caused severe brain damage. The gory exposed skull makeup, necessary because they had to use a different actor to play Manning, was paired with some impressive sound work.  The Beast couldn’t speak. He could only growl and yell. With an appropriate amount of echo added, he is a giant after all, it made the Beast truly frightening for a young Monster Kid like me.

The Monster was set. Now I had to figure out what to do with him. The Tiki-themed paintings I researched always depicted a lush, tranquil setting. Music was a key factor as well. I thought the juxtaposition of a raging, howling mad Beast who could not speak, serenading a beautiful woman with giant Ukulele music would be a hoot. Trust me, when you see the film you will agree. So, here it is, “Colossal Lullaby” for your review.

Colossal Lullaby painting by Mark Tavares

“Colossal Lullaby” 18 x 24. Acrylic on Oak Panel. © Mark Tavares

The show has a great collection of art on display. If you like “low” art and have a thing for the Monsters, this show is for you, baby! Thanks for looking!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, Gallery Showings, General Musings, Make-up Effects, Paintings for Sale Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Happy Birthday Rick Baker!

Award-winning Makeup Artist and Mentor to generations of Effects Artists, Rick Baker, celebrated his Birthday yesterday. I sketched this out as a Birthday “card” in honor of the event. Happy Birthday Rick Baker!

"Happy Birthday Rick Baker 2014" 10 x 8. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Happy Birthday Rick Baker 2014” 10 x 8. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

Posted in General Musings, New Art, Things that Inspire, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , |

The Enchanted World of Rankin Bass

Opening this weekend (12/6/2014) is “The Enchanted World of Rankin Bass” Group Art Show at, you guessed it, Creature Features in Burbank! Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass were the producers of some of the most beloved Holiday programming on American television. The animated tales of “Rudolph”, “Frosty”, and “Kris Kringle” were required Holiday viewing in my household. The duo was also responsible for other non-Holiday animated and live action fare that is equally beloved.

One such project was “Mad Monster Party”. As the name implies, it was all about Monsters! If that wasn’t enough, voices were supplied by the likes of Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller. I won’t bore you with plot details. Suffice it to say, Monster Kids everywhere hold it in high regard. Being one of those Monster Kids myself, this was to be my inspiration for my contribution to the art show. As with my two previous show entries, “Creeper” and “Mansley Robot Fighter”, I decided to stay away from direct representations of the characters. There would already be plenty of those on display. I didn’t feel I could do anything different enough to separate me from the other excellent artists in the show. Once again, I took the characters in a “real world” direction. Here is how they appear in the show.

The Monster and his Mate from "Mad Monster Party" Photo courtesy of & © Rankin/Bass Productions and Embassy Pictures

The Monster and his Mate from “Mad Monster Party” Photo courtesy of & © Rankin/Bass Productions and Embassy Pictures

..and this is my depiction!

"The Monster and his More Intelligent Mate"  18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“The Monster and his More Intelligent Mate” 18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

I only had time to do one portrait. However, I liked how this came out so much that I might go back and do the rest of the “real world” versions.

Thanks for looking!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, Gallery Showings, General Musings, Holidays, Paintings for Sale Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Iron Giant 15th Anniversary

Once again, Creature Features is sponsoring an exciting Group Art Show and I am very proud to be included in it. This year, the animated classic “Iron Giant” turns 15. The folks at Creature Features put together a fun show with a lot of great artists to celebrate the occasion. The show opened last evening, 11/8, and will run through Sunday 11/23.

My contribution drew inspiration from the magnificent painted covers of classic Gold Key comic books like, “Lost in Space”, “Dr. Solar”, “Turok, Son of Stone”, and my favorite, “Magnus Robot Fighter”. Like “Magnus”, the Iron Giant’s antagonist, Kent Mansley, thought of himself as a “Robot Fighter”. He would, of course, be cast as the hero in his own “Alternate Universe” comic book. He even has a name very similar to “Magnus”. So, there is was. Once I had finished the painting, the project wasn’t going to be complete until I scanned it and put together a composite of the full “cover” in Photoshop. Here they both are, side by side…

"Cover Art to Mansley Robot Fighter Issue #15"   18 x 24.  Acrylic on Masonite. ©Mark Tavares

“Cover Art to Mansley Robot Fighter Issue #15” 18 x 24. Acrylic on Masonite. ©Mark Tavares

Prints will be available in my Fine Art America store very soon! Thanks for looking!!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, Gallery Showings, New Art, Paintings for Sale Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

October Shadows 2014

Another October is upon us and that means it’s time to get my Halloween on! A big part of that is being able to participate once more in Taylor White’s fabulous “October Shadows 2014” Group Art Show at the Creature Features Gallery in Burbank. As in the past, the show celebrates the traditional iconography of Halloween. Artists had to incorporate Witches, Pumpkins, Bats, Cats, etc. into their works in order to be accepted into the show.

I wanted to tackle a Witch portrait, and there is no more iconic a witch than the infamous Elphaba Thropp, a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz”. The character, immortalized on film by the equally iconic Margaret Hamilton, has been painted time and again. In trying for a fresh take, I was inspired by the self portraits of renowned artist, Frida Kahlo. One painting in particular shows the artist posed against a backdrop of tropical flora and surrounded by monkeys. The connection to the Wicked Witch and her Flying Monkeys was inescapable. I had my take.

I present to you, “Portrait of Wickedness”!

"Portrait of Wickedness"  24 x 30. Oil and Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

“Portrait of Wickedness” 24 x 30. Oil and Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

The show runs through Halloween. You can find information at www.creaturefeatures.com. In case you are interested, this painting is for sale. Contact me for details. Prints are available HERE!

Thanks for looking! Happy Almost-Halloween!!

-Mark

Posted in Art for Sale, General Musings, Halloween, New Art, Paintings for Sale, Things that Inspire Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |