Dave DeVries - "The Monster Engine”
Opening Date: Thursday, May 3rd. 2012
Opening Times: 7-10pm
Exhibition running dates: May 3rd to 31st.
Sacred Gallery NYC
424 Broadway 2nd Fl, NY 10013
“Join world-renowned comic book and videogame artist Dave DeVries as he answers the question "What if a child had the skills of a seasoned illustrator?" His whimsical and dark project The Monster Engine is unleashed when DeVries takes kids' monster drawings and transforms them into fully rendered monster paintings- with textures, shadows, backgrounds and details to give the monsters more complete personas. TheMonsterEngine.com has become one of the most-visited illustration websites worldwide; the before-and-after art pieces resonate with art lovers of all ages and walks of life, especially with Dave DeVries' fellow illustrators, not to mention the horror community. Now for the first time in NYC, you will see Dave DeVries in a one-man show that includes the timeline of The Monster Engine movement from its Jersey Shore 1999 origins through today. Watch for Dave DeVries' upcoming The Monster Engine feature story on CBS This Morning.”
The genesis of The Monster Engine project began at the Jersey Shore in 1997 when my 6-year-old niece Jessica snatched my sketchbook and filled it with images. Her drawings were unselfconscious and possessed an intuitive understanding of the creative process, unhindered by convention. Others have explored this intuitive process that children grasp instinctively—the idea that an artist can “unlearn” adult convention to draw instinctively like a child. However, my goal is different. In The Monster Engine, I combine adult experience with childhood creativity, using a collection of paintings that stem from children’s drawings.
In my illustration career, mostly the comic books and video game markets, I draw and paint without reference, often inventing light, shadow, and texture to render imaginary people and settings. This technique allows me to visualize simple ideas that many people can grasp. The goal of illustration has always been communication. A child, however, ignores the idea of mass communication by creating images solely from his or her mind. Often, a parent must ask the child to describe what exactly the young artist is drawing.
Combining these two diametrically opposed approaches to art creates a synergy of tension—tenuously linked by a lack of reference. This is crucial because imposing exact reference destroys the common language between them.
In The Monster Engine, I visually map that language.
The process is simple. I project the child’s drawing with an opaque projector and faithfully trace each line. Applying a combination of logic and instinct, I then paint the image. My medium is mixed—primarily acrylic, airbrush, and colored pencil. In addition, I have conducted interviews with each child about the paintings created from their drawings. All rights have been transferred through proper legal documentation signed by each parent.
The resulting show contains the paintings and the child’s drawings (matted together when possible) for comparison. Painting sizes vary.
My eventual goal with The Monster Engine is to create a viable property that allows me to roam in unexplored artistic territory yet can reach many people through gallery shows, books, TV and digital media.