Tuesday, April 3, 2018

THE OBA

"The OBA" Oil on Panel 13" x 17". This is one of a few new paintings for an ongoing book project. As an African American artist, Illustrator and Afrofuturist, I'm more interested in depicting the farthest reaches of where we can go rather than paint where we've been. I'd like to believe that one day the first colonists of another planet will consist of those of African descent. Hopefully there will be room out there among the stars to escape the hate and injustice we've endured for centuries. I may not live to see it but maybe my daughter will.

When I showcased this painting at AwesomeCon in Washington D.C, I was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of love and reactions it received. The best response was from a teenaged boy who stopped and stared at the print for a long time before telling me he’d never seen scifi painting of anybody that looked like him. He then went on to nervously whisper to me that he was half black and half jewish. I told him that’s cool because my daughter is biracial too. His eyes lit up as he shook my hand and told me he had to buy the print. Representation matters and it made my weekend to see so many come through at the convention to buy and support my efforts. Just about every artist at the con had some form of black panther fan art but nobody in the entire building had a portrait of a bald black woman in space. I ended up selling out of all the prints and mousepads I brought of this image so a big thank you to everyone I met. Prints are available through my website store and progress pics/timelapse vids are on my instagram ericwilkersonart. I’m posting more there these days.


OBA Issa Zola De La Sol

DESIGN INSPIRATION
The Oba’s clothing and framework around her head are inspired by the South African Ndebele women who would adorn themselves with a variety of ornaments, each symbolizing their status in society. Ndebele women’s dresses became more elaborate after marriage and the wives would wear copper and brass rings around their arms, legs and neck. It is also inspired by the neck elongating rings worn by the women in the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar.


I designed the Oba’s robes and shoulders to have ornamental patterns that would display the rich cultural heritage of her ancestors from Old Earth. Afro- Caribbean carnival markings adorn her shoulder pads and on silks wrapped in between her neck frame. Her face paint is both African and Afro Caribbean in design. The final touches to the painting were inspired by the colorful dashiki clothing of west Africa. Painting those little triangles was probably the most time consuming part of the entire piece. One minor omission from the final painting was the indian bindi headpiece. Not that there was anything wrong with it, I just wanted the focus of my painting to be completely afrocentric for once and not sample too much from other world cultures.




You know that feeling you get when you go on vacation, take a long calming deep breath and gaze at some new vista? That's how it felt to paint this. For a few short hours every few days for over a month I imagined that I went to the future and lovingly painted an Emperor on her colony homeworld. There are many more afrofuturist paintings I'm eager to complete that have been sitting in my sketchbooks for over a decade.  Though I've squeezed out a few over the years, I was always too afraid to focus on making more for fear that 
having a portfolio full of black art wouldn't help me land work with companies or art directors I always wanted to work with.  I think I've proven that I can handle different flesh tones and genres with equal aplomb. For now on in my free time I'm painting the kind of stuff that would make my ten year old self giddy.


EW








Wednesday, March 23, 2016

IMAGINE FX SCULPTURE WORKSHOP

I'm happy to share that my art made it into Imagine FX this month!!! Issue 133 is on sale now worldwide. I've always wanted to contribute something to this magazine and they were kind enough to let me share a labor of love with their global audience. Special Thanks to the whole ImagineFX team. If you'd like to see my process for developing maquettes for illustration check it out at your local bookstore. The final painting I built the sculpture for is heavy on social commentary so I wasn't sure they'd want to include it but they gave it the full page spread treatment. Doing this painting meant a lot to me and was my way of personally dealing with the hate and violence that plagues our country. Back to work. New alien sculpts to make!








Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ALIEN LIVES MATTER

Science Fiction at its best has always been a form of social commentary.  Precautionary tales and imagery that cover issues such as politics, race, prejudice and inequality.
“Alien Lives Matter”  Is a painting directly inspired by the demand for justice for victims of police violence and the institutional racism which continues to plague the United States.   As an Illustrator of science fiction I ask myself what would it look like if we as humans treated an extra terrestrial the way we treat ourselves?  What might the outcry from a coalition of young multi racial activists look like?  I set out to create a composition which depicts a peaceful protest march through the streets of New York City's Times Square.  Oil on Panel 30"x 40".  Limited Edition Print available here.

http://ericwilkersonart.com/store/alien-lives-matter-limited-edition-









Rough concept sketch


Final Drawing

Monday, November 23, 2015

CHAMPION


Here is a cover I did awhile ago for the novel "Champion" by DS Brown.

It was a fun opportunity to experiment a bit with digital painting different textures for the characters faces. I also took a bit of time to sculpt a maquette of one of the alien heads.





Alternate Concept
 
Approved rough sketch

 











Friday, November 20, 2015

MARS ATTACKS LAMP!!!!


via IFTTT

Let my painting light up your life with this officially licensed TOPPS Mars Attacks
table lamp by Lamp in a Box.  Makes a terrific gift for that special someone this holiday season.
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