Artist Craig Drake's New Show Aims to Change What We Think a Traditional Art Show Is

Illustration for article titled Artist Craig Drake's New Show Aims to Change What We Think a Traditional Art Show Is

In the world of pop culture art, few artists have as recognizable a style as Craig Drake. The Patrick Nagel-influenced, San Francisco-based artist is all about clean lines, negative space, and lots of movement. His work is in your face and different, which is exactly what he wants audiences to experience with his third solo show.


It opens Saturday night at the Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. More than just an exhibition of art, though, the gallery wants this show to create a wholly new, unique and memorable experience alongside the art.

“The sight, the sound and the manner in which you view and experience the artwork will be completely different,” said gallery co-owner Adam Smasher. “Think mood and atmosphere, special lighting, a soundtrack for the experience.”

Part of that experience is not knowing what’s behind the doors until they open. All Drake and Smasher would reveal is The Fifth Element piece above, and this video which may or may not include the subjects in the show.

In the past, Drake has done pieces for dozens of popular pop culture franchises: Star Wars, Kill Bill, Akira, Escape from New York, Aliens, Ghost in the Shell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Lord of the Rings and more. He told io9 that Solo Show III would have at least 12 new pieces in it with over half from properties he has not yet explored. “Two [pieces] are from classic films loved by many including myself,” he said.

“This is definitely Craig’s most well-rounded show in terms of content,” said Smasher. “So many beloved films that the fans are going to adore are represented and the level of detail on these has been ratcheted up even more than usual.”


“A bonus this year is that every piece we’ve created for this show is a piece that was requested by the fans,” Smasher continues. “And another special thing about this show is that Craig is not only working in the mediums you’ve come to know him for, screen prints, 1/1 prints, and gouache originals, he’ll also be exhibiting pen and ink originals and an entirely new medium.”

 Craig Drake’s piece of the Millennium Falcon from Solo Show 1.
Craig Drake’s piece of the Millennium Falcon from Solo Show 1.

When asked what he feels the “showstopper” piece would be, Drake teased a few clues:“1. Not Star Wars 2. From a TV show 3. Not a character 4. Perhaps the oldest franchise I’ve touched.”

The anticipation of seeing properties what Drake taken on, as well as the awesome art, are just part of what gets pop culture art fans excited for his shows. “The ability to express a shared love for films and characters we all cannot get enough of is what it’s all about,” Drake said. “Also to put our little art scene and community of fans and collectors on the map as a very real movement in pop art. A movement I see studios vetting and supporting more and more. When all’s complete, it’s like a weekend of geeking out with my people. I cannot wait.”


For more on the show, visit the Hero Complex Gallery.

Entertainment Reporter. NYU Cinema Studies Alum. Formerly Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and /Film. AP Award-Winning Film Critic & CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.


Angrier Geek

Nagel. Has one artist so ever represented a single decade so well?