I've got to admit, when I first saw Robert Hunt's Medusa, I thought it was a painting of Memphis expatriate singer Valerie June. Hunt's heavy-lidded subject was too beautiful to be a gorgon, and the snakes that comprise the monster's hair curl around her face like a tumble of dreadlocks. I'm still not entirely sure she's not the inspiration. Hunt, who created the original painting for the Society of Illustrators scholarship auction, is an artist whose work you know, even if you don't recognize the name. He's designed covers for books by Stephen King and S. E. Hinton. He also designed the little fisherman in the moon motion logo for Dreamworks.
Hunt's Medusa and 39 other works by top commercial artists and illustrators will be on display when the "Illustrators 57" touring show opens at the Memphis College of Art's Rust Hall Main Gallery Wednesday, January 6th. "Illustrators 57" features a selection of 40 works culled from 500 pieces originally selected for the "Society of Illustrators" exhibition, which opened at the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island, earlier this year. Most of the collected images have previously appeared in books, magazines, or calendars. They've been used as posters for events and as packaging design for music.
Fans of dynamic illustration will also want to check out pieces by Japanese artist Yuko Shimizu, who shares a name with the designer who created Hello Kitty, and nothing else.
"Seahorse in Sequence," an exhibit sharing space in MCA's Rust Gallery, allows viewers to take a deeper dive into the creative process an illustrator. It showcases work by MCA instructor Shane McDermott, whose young adult comics project, The Seahorse Chronicles, follows two young brothers and their dog on a fantastic adventure that begins with a seahorse-shaped talisman.