DC Comics Special II from Robot Chicken, was the inspiration for an art show that featured quite a few cosplaying creatures of the sea.
Inside Los Angeles’ iam8bit Gallery, the front room was filled with seahorses. These weren’t your typical fish, though. One appeared like Harley Quinn with a black mask over the eyes, red and black harlequin costume and bells on the feet. Others resembled Aquaman, the Joker and Wonder Woman. One seahorse was painted shiny black with white, stitch-like marks crawling up and down the sculpted creature. She looked remarkable similar to Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman from Batman Returns.
A gorgeous, green seahorse stood perched atop a small, green lamp. As light bounced off the corner wall and display podium, the bottom half of the seahorse appeared to glow. Called Beware My Power: Green Lantern’s Light! this piece by Tamara Waters was one of the standouts inside this gallery.
But, it wasn’t just superheroes of the sea in here. There was also the requisite nerd. Called Sea Nerd, artists Lindsey Gilbert and Season Mustful’s seahorse wore a yellow, collared shirt, a black tie and thick, black glasses. If you’ve watched Robot Chicken, you will instantly recognize this character. Here, he’s rounding out the school of heroes and villains that offer a sneak peak into Robot Chicken DC Comics Special II: Villains in Paradise, which is set to air on April 6 at 11:30 p.m. on Adult Swim.
The seahorses were made by employees of Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the animation studio co-founded by Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. Most of the artists work in the puppet department and are part of the team that brings the crazy, pop culture-centric sketches in the long-running series to life.
“We have a seahorse bit in our Robot Chicken DC Comics II special that will make sense of a lot of this stuff,” says Senreich inside the gallery. “It’s a little cart before the horse here.”
More than a week before the episode was set to air, friends, fans and patrons of the arts had the chance to bid on the seahorses as part of an auction tied to the one-night-only event, “Robot Chicken DC Comics Art Show.”
In the second, much larger room, of the gallery, clips from the new half-hour animated special played against a wall. However, this was a party, not a screening, and it was near-impossible to hear any of the dialogue. Even if I wanted to spoil the television event for you, I couldn’t. In the back room, a diverse collection of DC comics-related art hung from the walls and was displayed in the center of the floor. Unlike the seashores, these items were not up for auction. People could buy the pieces at the event. Red, circular stickers that indicate a sale popped up over and and over again underneath the artworks as the party continued.
The artworks here were suitable for many different types of collectors. There were crafty items like crocheted beanies modeled after Robot Chicken and DC characters. There were useful items, like a clock painted in comic book colors. There were budget-conscious pieces, like smaller works that were marked for under $100. There were also high-end artworks. Amongst those was a beautiful Robot Chicken/DC mash-up drawing presented in an impressive frame from DC’s Jim Fletcher. It was marked at $750.
“Robot Chicken DC Comics Art Show” proved to be pretty popular. Much of this has to do with the content. Robot Chicken isn’t short on fans and it has critical acclaim and a few awards to boot. Their parody specials are typically over-the-top nerd fests, showcasing the kind of keen sense of humor that can only come out of years of obsessing over certain franchises. (Their Star Wars specials are some of the best spoofs of the film series I’ve ever seen.)
“We have lots of talented artists who work with us at Robot Chicken. DC Comics also has a lot of talented artists,” says Robot Chicken co-creator Matthew Senreich. “We wanted to show off all their wares, raise some money for charity.”
For this show, they joined up with iam8bit, who have played a big role in shaping pop culture-centric art events in Los Angeles. iam8bit is a firm that specializes in creative projects for a host of different clients. They made a sing-a-long trailer for Capcom’s DuckTales: Remastered campaign. They made “salvage crates” press kits for a Tomb Raider campaign. Basically, they work on projects that are guaranteed to catch the attention of people across the world. In L.A., though, iam8bit is best known for the Sunset Boulevard gallery. This is where they host shows with themes like video games or the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters. “Robot Chicken DC Comics Art Show” was the perfect fit for the gallery.
The charity benefit from this show was Turning Point Transitional Housing. That’s one of the programs offered by Santa Monica-based Ocean Park Community Center. At Turning Point, homeless people can find more than just temporary shelter. “It’s for 55 men and women with the goal of permanent housing and employment and moving into their own apartment and becoming self-sufficient again,” says John Maceri, Executive Director of the organization, who was on hand Friday night.
Seth Green has reportedly been a longtime supporter of OPCC and Turning Point. Senreich too has done some work for the group, such as pitching in around Thanksgiving. Undoubtedly, the organization benefited from the event. When I spoke with Senreich, about a half-hour after the gallery opened to the public, much of the work had already sold. Final figures weren’t available at the time the story was submitted.
Images: Liz Ohanesian