Friday, March 2, 2012

'Bye Bye Robot': CBS turned my buds loose with a Trek art license!

It's not often that I get to watch the genesis of a Star Trek licensee from close up—but this week I'm feeling a little like a god-parent.

You know: having had nothing to to do with the conception or carriage, but honored to know the parents, be hit up for a little advice (very little) and be around at the delivery ... winding up with a title that's all glory and no responsibility!

So it is I'm thrilled to see the birth this week of a whole raft of LICENSED Star Trek limited-edition fine art prints as the debut offerings from Bye Bye Robot—otherwise known as Charity Wood, who with husband Chris is already well known as the Trek news blog and podcast Subspace Communiques. We've met and hung out several times on the con circuit the past couple years, and I'm really stoked for them as they launch this new endeavor. As Chris tells me: "We're devoted Trek fans and we're excited to be bringing an original take on iconic imagery." And with a license, they are fans actually empowered to do cool yet professional fine art by CBS/Paramount.

Charity also has some non-Trek, non-franchise original pieces as well in a series she calls AquaMARINE, with more variety on the way—but all her work is done in a technique she calls Pas de Lignes, which literally translated from French means “No Lines”; in effect, built up from a black rather than white foundation.

"It’s a modern style I’ve been working in for many years," she says on the site. "You can think of it as painting in reverse. I begin on a black canvas so the black “lines” you see are actually unpainted areas…not 'outlines.' Another way of thinking of it is that I paint everywhere except the 'lines'.” And they are available in a variety of sizes and options befitting fine art pieces designed to last, in Giclee, or museum-quality archival inks and acid-free cotton.

Charity just told me another news flash that's not up yet: "Along with bringing additional artists' work to the site, we're in the process of offering a line of original stickers."

I hope you have seen the launch news all over, like and, but here's my take from a front-row seat with both Charity and Chris. The first Trek topics are great choices to harness Charity's textured, color-splashed process to the max—but it is a business, and she artfully scores there as well.

Thinking for as broad a market audience as possible, the 1960s Enterprise is iconic and cool, of course—a familiar form to all, no matter what token Planet Hell cave set you may have been hiding away in. In a different way, I think the Gorn offers a surprise, even for those whose world orbits in a universe of mundanes; the reptiloid guy is eye-catching even if you've never even heard of Cestus III  or Bobby Clark. These are both on canvas, including the two views of the Big E.

But the unusual vertical "triptych" format for the tribbles panel on paper, is, I think, doubly perfect for the legit fan with an professional day-job office full of walls or halls to brighten up—and wants to do it both subtly and playfully. I can so see those furrballs in a Treklander engineer's office or doctor's waiting room. Who can argue with the perky hues? it will be fun to watch which visitors and patrons catch on to not only the tribbles joke, but the main Starfleet tri-palette behind them—and how long it takes...

So, good luck, Charity, Chris and Bye Bye Robot (no relation to that other Star Trek robot guy, as she shares the story behind the name on their site.) Everybody go take a look! Aside from online sales, they intend to be at a number of conventions this year, including Vegas Khhaaann in August, of course—as well as Comipalooza in Houston May 25-27, and Austin Wizardworld Comic-Con Oct. 26-28... and more to come.

Meanwhile, I'll be waiting patiently on my Tellarite Gav (or Grolst?) print in the next batch!

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