Would you believe the above image was created by a guy who worked on Escape from Planet Earth (2013)?
Titan Books’ latest, The Art of Greg Spalenka: Visions From the Mind’s Eye, is a beautiful art book featuring stunning works of art by painter/concept artist/computer artist Greg Spalenka. Similar to The Art of Fred Gambino, Spalenka’s book is a self-designed portfolio featuring his commissioned and non-commissioned works, as well as his work in the animation and VFX industries.
Spalenka’s works have a dark, surreal vibe. It’s modern Romanticism: a dreamy combination of mystery, fantasy, and the natural world. Besides a gallery of finished fine art works, you’ll also find a sketchbook section and a photography collection. To me, however, his most stunning works are his computer collages and matte paintings.
Apparently Greg Spalenka was one of the smart ones who embraced the advent of computer technology in art. He experimented with scanning sketches into the computer, making a computer drawing, printing it out, then painting over that with oil, then re-scanning it and making a collage of paintings from the new scan. Does that sound crazy or what?
It’s crazy but it works. The most exciting part of the book is where we get to see those awesome computer collage-paintings, and it’s really where Spalenka finds his strongest voice. He has a real talent for blending photography and painting into a coherent fantastic image.
Spalenka’s animation artwork for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), TheAnt Bully (2006), and Escape from Planet Earth (2013) are also featured in his book. It’s a dog-gone shame that Spalenka’s vision wasn’t exactly realized in these films, due to script changes and tech limitations.
The overall design and format of the book is very artsy. Sometimes the artsy-ness gets in the way of getting a good view of Spalenka’s works, but I still see it as an overall strength. It has Titan Books’ trademark high quality and the paper is mostly a heavy semi-glossy photo paper. However, I wouldn’t gift this book to a youngster due to a fair amount of (partial) nudity.
Final Word: The Art of Greg Spalenka: Visions From the Mind’s Eye is a supremely artsy book about a supremely artsy guy. Check it out if you love art that bends the rules about computer and practical art.
Mason is a rigger/animator at Triseum Games. He's also a grad student at Texas A&M working on his Master's thesis. He loves talking about animation, watching old Godzilla flicks, listening to 80s music, and drawing cartoons.