An untold number of comic-book artists, designers, and animators have drawn Batman since Bob Kane’s masked vigilante made his first appearance in the May 1939 issue of Detective Comics. The most famous include Neal Adams, whose knack for photorealism helped the character’s grittier side to evolve in the 1960s, and Bruce Tim, whose animated Batman series redefined the character at the end of the 20th century. Now a group of lesser-known artists in Memphis want to see if they can do something new with “the world’s greatest detective” and all the bad guys who operate in the perpetual night of Gotham City.
“I’ve always been a comic-book fan,” says Memphis artist Jamond Bullock, a performance painter known for his ability to finish paintings in under an hour. In 2009, Bullock entered a skateboard-design contest, and his Dark Knight-inspired deck received so much attention he decided to organize an entire art show around the character. “Escape from the Asylum,” which opened at Marshall Arts Gallery on May 15th, features work by a diverse range of artists whose homages to Batman and his Rogues Gallery take the form of paintings, digital illustrations, and even customized shoes.
“There’s a lot of work in this show,” Bullock says. “And a lot of it is different.”
On Saturday, May 22nd, the amount of work in the show will increase when the artists host a reception for winners of a Batman-themed art contest. There also is a closing reception for “Escape from the Asylum” on May 29th from 6 to 10 p.m. For additional information, visit the show’s website at escapefromtheasylum.com. — Chris Davis