It's taken 20-some years, but I finally feel I've done right by one of my oldest friends—or at least that's me personal reaction to Friday's news announcement at startrek.com of a new five-piece, four-artist original print offering from Bye Bye Robot.
Actually, here's the full frame:
I met art studio Bye Bye Robot founders Charity and Chris Wood in 2010, before they were BBR, and was happy to help how I could as they worked to get their official CBS license for Star Trek fine art prints and graphics in 2012.
But even further back: Many of you know my logos for Trekland, The Con of Wrath, the Trekland Trunk, and most of all Mystar Media; some of you even remember the incredible black-and-white line art in my old, original annual "TNG" concordances. THAT was all my bud Kevin Hopkins—met up the first week of sophomore college year as I hosted aTrek/sci-fi club organizer, then oft-roomates and mutual best men… and, since my days with pro Star Trek, my perennial candidate for breaking in to the licensed art world.
Like many others whose Trek work you've seen before, he has a great style that includes portraits, heroic fantasy, and photorealistic biology/botany—in both "analog" pigment and now digitally.
Charity tells me she's excited for this set, each one repping a different series, and to work with two new artists among the four—Thomas Ziffer, who's been involved with the gallery, as well as Kevin.
"Kevin has been on our radar for a long time," Charity says, when I asked her for some thoughts for TREKLAND. "I first met him while he was accompanying Larry at the Dallas Comic Con, back in 2010. We chatted about his penchant for fossil digs, and then I found out about his art career and talent. Well, it took us nearly four years to capture one of his paintings, but we’ve finally done it. Now (besides more awesome artwork) all that’s left is to weasel my way onto one of his paleontological digs so I can fulfill my dream of finding my very own fossilized megalodon tooth!"
"Being able to work on this Voyager poster project and doing the art for "The Long Way Home" is a very special thing for me because it lets me give back a little bit to an idea and a an ongoing project that has given me so much," Kevin says. "And doing an officially licensed piece of Star Trek related art (for Bye Bye Robot) is a special milestone in my career."
Kevin reminded me that he grew up in an even more rural area of Oklahoma than I did, where the sparse TV offerings like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Lost in Space, and "the annual Saturday afternoon showing of This Island Earth " was enough to tease but not satisfy the sci-fi craving they awakened.
"There was a bookmobile that stopped in the community sporadically, and one summer I managed to read the entire science and science fiction sections that it contained," he says. "I would save up for visits to larger towns where I could find cheap science fiction paperbacks. Still, the scifi sections were small in even the best of book stores. I still remember the first year that science fiction novels outsold westerns nationally."
And that was about the time Star Trek hit, Kevin recalls: "The first season of the original airing was like a breath of fresh air for me—it supplied something that my mind was aching for; it allowed me to see that world as something larger and more diverse than the little town where I lived. My affinity for Star Trek continues on through the present; it has brought me friends, experiences and life lessons I would never have encountered otherwise, and I am very grateful for them all."
And me…I'm just grateful to have finally helped play a part in getting that talent out to the "official" Star Trek world. Yay, Charity… and yay, Kevin.