This afternoon my wife Kent, my son James and I made the short drive from Pasadena down to Alhambra to see the Bob Peak exhibition at the Nucleus Gallery. The exhibition got a fortuitous front page mention in the Los Angeles Times. Immediately after the Peak show (June 27) I’ll have a very quick (3 days) exhibition of my own work kicked off by a lecture and book signing (my murals book) at Nucleus. I hope to see you there!
From the mid-1960s through the late 1970s Bob Peak was the king of the movie poster illustrators. He painted the posters for “My Fair Lady,” “Camelot,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Star Trek – The Motion Picture,” “Excalibur,” and “Silverado” to name just a few.
Peak established a style that would dominate the 60s and 70s. Limited as a renderer, Peak produced illustrations that were basically evocative line drawings over flat color. He often added swatches of color pattern as well, obviously influenced by Gustav Klimt. Peak changed illustration forever with his fresh style. He often mixed media, combining charcoal pencil, watercolor, gouache, pastels and acrylics.
About 80% of the work on display in this exhibition is original art that was loaned to the gallery by the Peak family (Bob passed away years ago after he fell from a ladder). Bob liked to work huge, which increases the drama of seeing his original work. Besides his movie posters, there are early advertising illustrations, post-movie poster period commissions, personal work and giclee prints on display. Everything is for sale. I highly recommend that any fan of illustration from the Golden Age of movie poster illustration visit this remarkable exhibition. And don’t miss the original Bob Peak paintings in the newly opened upstairs portion of the gallery!
While visiting today we ran into my old friends Kevin Routon and Howard Chaykin. Howie immediately introduced me to Bob Peak’s son Tom. Another of my “coincidences”…?
Nucleus Gallery itself is worth the visit. Half gallery, half bookstore, owner Ben Zhu stocks the book section with incredible art books not found anywhere else. Ben regularly makes trips to China, bringing back phenomenal books printed there (but not distributed to these shores) featuring gorgeous art by Chinese and Russian painters. Ben also stocks his shelves with the best American pop and illustration art books, as well as art books by the great comic illustrators. The bookstore portion is kind of like a mini-Bud Plant catalogue but with more of an international flair. Incredible. They have great hours, too: open ’til 9:00 PM on weekdays!
Ben has already hosted a series of very classy shows at Nucleus. The first one I saw was an exhibition of work by my friend Drew Struzan, the man to whom Bob Peak’s King of the Movie Poster Illustrators’ crown passed. It was a stunning exhibition of Drew’s poster work and personal pieces.
I suggest you check out the Nucleus Gallery website for future shows: http://www.gallerynucleus.com
Here’s the basics: Nucleus Gallery, 210 E. Main Street (a block or two east of Garfield), Alhambra, CA 91801; Store: 626/458-7482; Gallery: 626/458-7477; Mon-Thurs: Noon-9pm; Fri-Sun: 11am-10pm.