Remembering the Rockin’, Boisterous Art of Martin Emond

The Editors

 

Martin Emond was a cartoon illustrator and fine artist who combined elements of old school tattoo and classic sign painting into a sequential art style that drastically changed the look of alternative comics, and whose untimely death occurred as he was on the cusp of achieving mainstream success.

 

Emond’s work was darkly sardonic, and after a stint on the comic strip Accident Man for Toxic! he rose to fame in the United States with Gordon Rennie’s White Trash – the fictional adventures of Elvis Presley and Axl Rose (renamed so as to avoid litigation) on a debaucherous road trip across the southern United States in the former’s pink Cadillac.

 

Each page of the graphic novel was fully painted, and revealed a versatile set of influences that included Max Fleischer, Frank Frazetta, and Vaughn Bodé. Freelance gigs at Marvel and in the pages of Heavy Metal drew the attention of another of his idols, Glenn Danzig, who hired the artist to illustrate album covers, tour merchandise, and comics under the Verotik imprint.

 

 

Marty relocated to Los Angeles and DC Comics offered him their most popular breakout character, Lobo. Shortly thereafter, he became a high-in-demand commercial illustrator, with multiple clothing lines (Illicit and Cinder Block) and an animated feature based on his Red Knuckles, Crossbones, and Switchblade characters. He began exhibiting in fine art galleries and working with a rights management agency (Sharpeco) and seemed poised for mega-stardom when he suddenly took his own life in 2004.

 

“Martin Emond was a friend of mine,” 30 South Gallery curator and co-owner Matt Kennedy reminisces. “He's been gone almost 16 years now, but the bigger tragedy is how few people are aware of his work today–even if they’re familiar with all of the things his work inspired.”

 

 “My friend Kevin Stein had worked with Marty on an animated pilot and few weeks ago he came across a stash of serigraphs and printed production designs that date back to around 1999/2000,” continues Kennedy, “which presented an opportunity to organize a sort of 20th anniversary show for these rediscovered treasures.”

 

This retrospective exhibition is organized primarily as an online exhibition, with original artworks viewable by appointment while the Yuki Toy “On the Record” exhibition fills the physical gallery.

 

 

About Gallery 30 South

Gallery 30 South was launched in February 2017 by La Luz de Jesus Gallery director Matt Kennedy and his wife Ai Honda Kennedy in Pasadena’s Green Street Village Landmark District. Since then, they have been joined by a group of international artists and prominent guest curators from the Norton Simon, LACMA and Bergamot Station.

 

Gallery 30 South represents a broad selection of contemporary artists from emerging to established, international figures and showcasing metallurgy, painting, performance, sculpture, installation and new media.

 

For more information about this exhibit, visit Gallery 30 South: www.gallery30south.com.

 

 

 

 

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