In Service of Monsters

Guillermo Del Toro - In Service of Monsters

By: Jenny Robinson

On any given day you will find me in some conversation or debate concerning how absolutely amazing GDT is. Just everything this man does has creepy beauty that is right down my alley.  So the second I heard that my favorite gallery here in Los Angeles was paying tribute, I was beyond excited. 1988 Gallery is genius for the simple fact that they take a subject that has a deep fan base and opens it up to a plethora of amazing artists. The artists involved do not disappoint. All aspects of Guillermo Del Toro’s work was represented in abstract, direct and gorgeous ways.  With me being a MEGA GDT fan, I was standing in a line opening night awaiting entrance to a rotating wall-to-wall group of like minded people.
(check out my previous article on the 1988 Gallery Joss Whedon exhibit)

My first exposure to Del Toro's work was when I saw Blade II. I was a big fan of Blade and anxious for the sequel but the second I saw the Nomak’s mouth open, I was in love (I know I am demented in a weird gory way). Most people I speak with forget that GDT was involved with Blade II, but once you see the make up genius develop with the Reapers it is easy to see the link. Adding that scary monster idea and images, you have a smorgasbord of artistic fun ahead. 

John Solimine - Spike Press “Reaper” Print /

When Hellboy hit the theaters, I was first in line. There is such a devotion to that character by so many. There is comedy and action that just screams for you to dive into the plot. When you take GDT style and add to that storyline, it becomes eye candy. Every scene of both the original and sequel feel like it walked off the page of a comic book. The vast contrast between the red skin hero and the dark world that he walks through plays out like a painting. I was very happy to see so many artist devote their work in this exhibit to this film. How can it not be fun art when Hellboy is the subject?

Kevin Stanton “The Wooden Heroes” / @kevinjaystanton

1) Michael Banks “Kittens and Candy” / @sugarfueled | 2) Justin Gammon “Gold Rush” / @weirdotoys | 3) Jackie Huang “Midlife Hell Boy” / @woolbuddy

Probably the most beautiful of all of Del Toro’s films is Pans Labyrinth. Even for a R-rated film, it is truly a sad child-like magic on the screen. I remember sitting in the theatre mesmerized by the characters. There is no way to walk away from that film without having a total fear of the tooth fairy. Although the Pale Man, Toad and Faun are absolutely beautiful, they are also something of nightmares. The movie addresses themes similar to GDT classic horror “The Devil’s Backbone” (also represented in the gallery) referring to it as it's “spiritual successor”. You can see that in many of the artist’s representation, portraying a mystical wonderlust in a creepy beautiful world. 

1) Camila d’ Errico “La Capra” / @camilladerrico  2) Vonno & Roy Ambriz “Labyrinthum Locum Dare Spei” / @cinemafantasma  3) Alex Pardee “Pale Bones” / @alexpardee

There was a great showing for The Devil’s Backbone as well as for The Strain too. With subjects like a spirit stuck between two worlds and a master vampire out for world domination, you can guarantee an artists mind has room to roam. 

1) Bill Hewitt “Pull the Strings” / @lickyourelbowart | 2) Matt Cavanaugh “Shattered Innocence” / | 3) Woodrow J Hinton III “Do Unto Others” /

And lastly, we can not forget about some of the newer fan favorites… Pacific Rim & Crimson Peak. First, if you put robots fighting monsters you have me hooked. I seriously walked out of Pacific Rim with a giant smile on my face that made me look like a five year old. That same smile is pasted to my face now as I anxiously await the release of Crimson Peak, the new horror flick rotating around a house that “breathes, bleeds…and remembers”. Again, beauty, fun and horror all wrapped up in multiple artist’s point of views is amazing! The art shown for Pacific Rim went from bright, bold fun to symbolic Japanese masterpieces. Crimson Peak had the expected “gives me chills” response with dark scary undertones. I walked out of the gallery wanting more. I want every piece on my wall. I want to sit and ramble through the minds of both Del Toro and the artists that represented him. This gallery is stunning, breathtaking and absolutely astounding. 

1) Bobby O’Herlihy “Go Go Gipsy Danger” / @cynicwithapencil | 2) Doug LaRocca “Sword Deployed” / | 3) Aaron Klopp “Kaiju Grapple” / @abklopp

Leilani Bustamante “Crimson Peak” / @lbustamante

Prints and original art can be purchased from the galleries website. I highly recommend grabbing a piece (or two). 

And keep a watch out for 1988 Gallery’s “Art Awakens” gallery in November representing all things Star Wars.

Gallery 1988
7021 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 424-3705

You can follow Jenny on Twitter: @robiart

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