Now ‘The Art Of Greg Spalenka: Visions From The Mind’s Eye’ felt like an odd book from the start. Very surreal and definitely more fantastical as we begin with seeing Spalenka’s early work. When you see people with flowers for heads, you’ll be thinking a tad weird as well. The guy is pure experimentation until much later in the book. Reading his background and his influences, this isn’t surprising. Although he doesn’t say how old he is, his TV references easily places him in his mid-50s now and a lover of Science Fiction.
Spalenka reveals he tends to add a little bit of collage to his works and certainly in his early work, he likes his earth colours. Much of his work is on magazine covers in America which might explain why we’re less familiar with him in the UK.
Two-thirds of the way through the book, Spalenka reveals he was hired to work in films as one of the designers on ‘The Golden Compass’ (2007), ‘The Ant Bully’ (2006), ‘Escape From Planet Earth’(2013) and ‘The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader’ (2010). His colour palate then shifts to the brighter range of colours. The way he explains himself in the text finds he enjoyed himself in the group environment. It certainly shows a more playful side of him, especially with ‘The Ant Bully’.
It’ll be interesting to see where Spalenka’s career takes him next and how the changes in his use of colour and design will take him as well. Don’t treat Spalenka as a conventional artist. He likes to throw things to the wind and sees how they turn out. If you like sitting and looking at some paintings and wondering what they are about then you’re his ready audience. I suspect others of you will just pick up this book to see his designs that contributed substance for the storyboards. With these, we tend to think of the plotting elements but there is also an area which dwells on the colour regime and texture which is where Spalenka worked. Combined together, this makes this book quite an eye-opener.
(pub: Titan Books. 176 page paperback. Price: £24.99 (UK), $34.95 (US), $39.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-7811-684-4)