WOU: Other Worlds: The Art of Illustration

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The Cannon Gallery of Art

More than any other type of artwork, we are exposed to the art of illustration on a daily basis. In books, graphic novels, video games, magazines and movies, illustrators transport us to other worlds.

The Cannon Gallery of Art is pleased to showcase seven of the best contemporary illustrators working today. From January 9 – February 8, 2013 the Cannon Gallery presents Other Worlds: The Art of Illustration, featuring the work of  Donato Giancola, Stephan Martiniere, David Meng, Tran Nguyen, David Polumbo, Omar Rayyan and Derek Stenning. Other Worlds: The Art of Illustration is curated by Brandon Cline-Jones, WOU class of 2012.

The exhibit will open with a reception on Wednesday, January 9 from 4:30 – 6 p.m. Derek Stenning will be on hand to speak and answer questions. The reception if free and open to the public.

Donato Giancola


From J.R.R. Tolkiens' ‘The Lord of the Rings’ to Botticellis'  ‘La Primivera', Donato Giancola balances modern concepts with realism in his paintings to bridge the worlds of contemporary and historical figurative arts.  His influences encompass visits to the local game shops and book stores as well as pilgrimages to the greatest of museums -  including the Uffizzi, Louvre, and Hermitage.  Donato recognizes the significant cultural role played by visual art and makes personal efforts to contribute to the expansion and appreciation of the science fiction and fantasy genre that extend beyond the commercial commissions of his clients.  To those ends, the artist teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and at the Illustration Master Class in Amherst, Massachusetts.  Donato also and appears at various institutions, tournaments, and conventions, from San Diego to Rome to Moscow, where he performs demonstrations in oil paint and lectures on his aesthetics.

Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for Donato, he would steal away into the basement of his parents' home to work on drawings, create his own maps for games, paint figurines, read comics, and construct military models and dinosaurs.  His love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out.  At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, the beginning of his professional training. After three years at Syracuse University and graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting in 1992,  Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene.  Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York.  It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold. He continues his training even now, visiting museums regularly, learning from and sometimes copying original paintings by Rembrandt or Rubens, attending life drawing sessions with illustrator friends and constantly challenging himself within each new project.   Pilgrimages to major museums are his preferred reason to travel.

Since beginning his professional career in 1993, Donato’s list of clients has grown to include major book publishers in New York to concept design firms on the West Coast: notables include The United Nations, LucasArts, National Geographic, Scientific American, CNN, DC Comics, Microsoft, The Village Voice, Playboy Magazine, US Postal Service, Wizards of the Coast , Scholastic, Simon&Schuster, Tor Books, Random House, Time/Warner, The Scifi Channel, Milton-Bradley, and Hasbro.  Merits range from the Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators in 2008 to nineteen Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, three Artist Hugo Awards for outstanding professional work from the World Science Fiction Society, notable awards from the Art Renewal Center, and multiple silver and gold medals from the juried annual Spectrum: The Best of Contemporary Fantastic Art.

Stephan Martiniere


Stephan Martiniere is an internationally acclaimed Science Fiction and Fantasy artist. In the past 25 years he has become known for his talent, versatility and imagination in every entertainment fields including feature films, animation, video games, theme parks, editorial, commercial and book covers.

His clients include ILM, Disney, Universal, Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks. Stephan Martiniere has worked on movies such as Star Wars: Episodes 2-3, Tron Legacy, Star Trek, Knowing, I, Robot, The Fifth Element, Virus, Red Planet, The Astronaut’s Wife, Sphere, Titan A.E, The Time Machine, and the upcoming Total Recall, Akira, and 300 the Battle of Atemesium.

Stephan was also the visual design director responsible for the games URU: Ages beyond Myst, URU: The Path of the Shell, and Myst 5. He worked several years as Visual Design Director for the game Stranglehold for Midway Games in Chicago and later as Creative Visual Director of the concept department for several other Midway games including Area 51, Blitz, Ballers, MK vs DC, Wheelman, and several un-announced titles. Stephan was the Art Director at ID Software for  the visually acclaimed game Rage released last October.

Other the last ten years Stephan has produced over a hundred book and comic book covers for such clients as The National Geographic, Tor Books, Pyr, Penguin and Random House.
Stephan Martiniere is currently consulting and doing concept work on various game, film and theme park projects. Stephan is also an advisory board member of the CG society.

David Meng


David Meng graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2000.

Since 2002 he has worked steadily in the very unsteady industry of movie making as a designer and sculptor of characters and creatures.   He spent seven and a half years working at Weta Workshop, well-known for their work on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  He was the Lead Creature Designer of the prawns in the film District 9 (2009) and has won both Gold and Silver awards in the annual fantasy art anthology book "Spectrum".  In addition to this, David's work has been previously exhibited in Wellington  (New Zealand), Shanghai, and in Los Angeles.

David is currently working in Los Angeles on various film and publishing projects, hopeful that the general public will not lose their fascination with traditional, hand made sculptures in clay in this day and age of digital domination.

Tran Nguyen


Tran Nguyen is a Vietnam born, Georgia based artist who mobilizes her illustrative imagery as a vehicle for latent psychic experience. As haunting dreamscapes, the narratives that emerge from Nguyen’s works are at once uncanny and eerily relatable. Suspended somewhere between waking consciousness and the subconscious, the imagery she unfolds feels as spontaneous and creative as the wanderings of free cognitive association. The stories that emerge from her pieces are charged with familiar psychological themes, everything from the phobic object, to the transformative metamorphosis, to the personal fantasy, but in the artist’s hands, far from being contrived, these stories feel organic, immediate, and beautifully eruptive, as though they have unfolded effortlessly. It is this illusion of effortlessness that makes the work feel truly liminal. Looking into these images we are elsewhere, we are other, we are held by an ambiguous suspension of reality. At times the artist’s strategies feel dark and haunted, but the beauty and delicacy with which they are rendered attenuates any feelings of anxiety or distress in their presence. This combination of charged content with delicate and luxurious execution make Nguyen’s vision truly magnetic.

Tran Nguyen’s pieces are deliberately and delicately rendered with subtle washes of diluted acrylic, and detailed applications of colored pencil. Her aesthetic and rendering convey affectively charged psychological landscapes, dreamy, sensual, surreal, and fantastic, like the hyper-real of the “elsewhere” in the truly immersive dream. The juxtapositions in Nguyen’s work are fascinating. Unlikely pairings, and unexpected contexts emerge with seductive clarity. We are left with the feeling that nothing is extraneous, and that everything is connected to some ultimate symbology within the work. In the tradition of truly consummate illustration, each symbol, each suggestion of imagery, each object, is part of the narrative “moment”, and everything has its place. The artist’s interest in imagery as a vehicle for healing, combined with her masterful rendering of textures, skin, shadows and folds, speaks to the work’s deeply psychological valence. From the recesses of the unresolved, emerge beautiful lush images; like exorcisms through imagery. While the work is evasive in its symbolism, something raw and relatable draws the viewer into the experience. The work luxuriates in the baroque excesses of the dream.  -- Marieke Treilhard

David Polumbo


David Palumbo has been working as a full time freelance illustrator since 2006 providing genre themed artwork for everything from book covers and gaming cards to concept design and advertising illustration.  He has been awarded two Spectrum medals and his work has been shown in galleries and museums from New York to Paris. Between 2010 and 2012, Palumbo also worked as art director for Night Shade Books.

Omar Rayyan


Upon graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Omar Rayyan settled on a small Cape Cod island with his wife Sheila. The bucolic surroundings compliment and help inspire his "old world" aesthetic toward painting. Although looking to the past for inspiration and guidance from the great oil painters of the Northern Renaissance and the Romantic and Symbolist painters of the 19th century, he has picked watercolor as his medium of choice.

Having created illustrations for many publishers, including Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Hyperion/Disney, Omar's primary market is geared towards children's and young adult's magazine and books.

Other genres he has worked in include the gaming market, most notably for Magic: The Gathering, where he has done card art and concept work. Omar was also among the talented artists who contributed concept art and created the look for the motion picture "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."

In addition to his commercial work, Omar's most favorite body of work is not created for publishers, but just for show. Paintings of whim and fantasy made to indulge his own personal tastes and humors and to hopefully entertain and please the viewing public.

Derek Stenning


Trained as a classical animator, Derek has spent the last decade working as a production artist in the video game and animation fields. He has fulfilled a number of different artistic roles while working on projects for clients such as Nintendo, Marvel Entertainment, Activision and Sega. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and international publications, including Spectrum, Imagine FX, and Advanced Photoshop. He is currently the senior concept artist at Microsoft Studios Victoria.

After a 12 year absence, Derek started to work on his first personal project, Entartete Kunst, in an attempt to get back to his creative roots. Years of focusing on production design had narrowed his view of art. Ideas that art had to tell a story, elicit a particular emotion, or art that achieves these ideas holds greater weight or legitimacy had taken hold. But images of weathered cosmonauts crowned with giant headgear, inhabiting a hazy void somewhere between hope and despair began to fill his mind. These images began to be released and created without the pressures, confines and interests of commercial production. No elaborate design vision, no story, no compromises. By following his free flowing creative instincts, little by little, his own discriminatory views of the function and utility of purely expressive art are shorn.

This work continues to evolve and expand. 

For more information contact Gallery Director,Paula Booth at 503-838-8607 or boothp@wou.edu.

Call to Artists: Cannon Gallery of Art at Western Oregon University is now accepting submissions for the
2013 – 2015 exhibition seasons.
More information.

The Dan and Gail Cannon Gallery of Art Located in the heart of Western Oregon University's campus in the beautifully renovated Campbell Hall.

Campbell Hall was built in 1871 and is the oldest building still in use the Oregon University System. The gallery has approximately 700 square feet of exhibition space and holds six exhibitions during the academic year and one in the summer. Thematic and media-specific exhibits by regional and nationally acclaimed artists are included in each annual schedule. In the spring, the annual juried student exhibition showcases the high caliber of sculptures, ceramics, prints, paintings, drawings, and graphic design produced in our art department during the year. The Cannon Gallery is a teaching gallery. It provides a great resource for artists and the students to examine and consider the role of art and exhibition space in society today.

If you have any other questions

please contact Paula Booth at boothp@wou.edu, (503)838-8607

Dan and Gail Cannon Gallery of Art

345 N. Monmouth Ave.

Monmouth, Oregon 97361

Gallery hours
M – F 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and by appointment
(we are happy to accommodate group visits)


The Cannon Gallery of Art (503) 838-8607 | or e-mail: boothp@wou.edu

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