“Winston Blakely was born in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. He has a B.A. degree in Fine Arts…He worked with Jackie Robinson Center’s students to achieve 1st Prize in a City Wide Art Contest…His primary artistic influences include fantasy illustrators Frank Frazetta, Richard Corben and Fine Arts greats such as Salvador Dali, Romere Bearden and Jacob Lawrence. Mr.Blakely has also produced his own sci-fi character, Pozitron, the black cosmic hero who can be found in the anthology called Immortal Fantasy which features an introduction by award winning author Charles R. Saunders, creator of Imaro. Both Pozitron and Little Miss Strange are available at Amazon.com. He is also a book cover illustrator and interior
illustrator…contact him at email@example.com for private commissions” (http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/winston-blakely.html).
Photo Credit: Luis Sierra
GL: I really enjoy your pieces at Fine Art America. In particular, your “Golden Dawn,” “Moonstone” and “Still Life Blue.” Please tell readers the inspiration behind each piece mentioned.
WB: Ah, Golden Dawn is simply a tribute to Bob Ross, the happy painter. Now, when I did that piece his art kits was all over the place. I took an unusual road for this art chore, because I did it in acrylic paint not your traditional oil painting technique. My allergy to the turpentine and other solvents put me in a situation to show present my artistry in a different medium. I learned how to paint in acrylic like an oil painter while being inspired by another artist named David Hodge in his studio.
As I heard his words while working I could feel the art come alive and the finished product is one of my favorite fine art pieces.
Moonstone is a metaphysical piece laced with all kinds of occult themes that I won’t got into otherwise we will be here all day. This version is about the universe and crystal -like space ships passing by like the classic phrase two ships in a night. Still Life Blue is a homage to any of the great painters that you would know or heard of, like Salavdor Dali, Picasso , Romare Bearden or Jacob Lawrence.
During my experimentation with acrylics, I began to mix natural combinations of color to make the color black. The piece looks black but it’s really a carefully crafted hue that is blue, hence the obvious title.
So in a sense it’s a sly tribute to Dali the master of surrealism.
GL: Very cool, and I like that phrase: “sly tribute.” Which mediums do you work in? Do you have a favorite?
WB: Everything, acrylic, water based oil paint ( Love That !), color pencils, color markers, grayscale wash tones. There is one medium that I only tried once, years ago, and wasn’t too good at it: pastels.
But now, I might tried it again, just for fun.
Whew, I haven’t done sculpture in very long time either, may give that a whirl as well.
I even made short animation films using my art with Dr.Martin watercolor inks. That was wild but it got me an A+ for a project. Maybe I got that mark because there was wine and cheese at the screening and they were bugging out from viewing the film and it became a part of their getting high experience.
Whatever… glad I got a good mark, makes for wonderful inspiration… don’t you think?
GL: LOL! Yes, I’m all about some vegan wine & cheese, and my muses seem to like them, too. Now, you also created your own science fiction character named Pozitron. He appears in “Immortal Fantasy” (reviewed here: http://www.targetaudiencemagazine.com/uploads/2011/immortal_fantasy.php). Please explain why he’s an important role model.
WB: Pozitron was the collaboration between me and co- writer Robert E. Fennel.
The hero is a person of color, so to speak, and probably one of the earliest science fiction characters created in that genre that is a black man.
Since the co-writer was also a musician who is well versed in 16th century composing and a studio session performer, he thought that a quirky twist of making Pozitron a member of a rock band would work, not to mention being a secret agent as well.
Fortunately, Mr. Fennel started reading pulp science fiction novels by the father of space opera: E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith.
With this classic source material the character was able to move forward in a more logical way. Soon, we were able to create the story that you are referring to in the anthology named “Immortal Fantasy.”
Pozitron will be back in Immortal Fantasy 2; I already started working on that project.
Immortal Fantasy book review Target Audience Magazine www.targetaudiencemagazine.com
GL: You also created Little Miss Strange and have illustrated for a number of books. Please tell readers about Little Miss Strange and other projects you felt strongly about.
WB: Miss Strange, AKA Scorpia of Satu, was given shape and form after my leave from Valiant comics while working in Visage Studios headed by Rich Buckler of Marvel comics fame. It was a faithful call from a comic book promoter named Rusty Gilligan who got the ball rolling. He wanted the studio members to do female versions of their favorite characters and mine was Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts.
And so, Little Miss Strange was born with a hidden tribute to Jimi Hendrix as well. She is the first black alien sorceress and that is something that I will keep doing, making heroes out of persons of color. Scorpia’s abilities are of meta- level strength, reflexes and stamina.
You can find out more about her in upcoming projects not only from me but other comic companies who are planning to have her appear as a guest star in a special series of books. I will speak more on this and other assignments in a little bit.
GL: If you were approached about your characters coming to life on the big screen, then which actors/actresses would you cast (given the choice)?
WB: In a sense, I already had a brief encounter with Hollywood.
There was a website that was looking for properties to turn into film and Little Miss Strange was the topic of discussion. But they wanted to change too much about her and I decided it would be better to forget about it and move on. These were the same people who brought us Cowboy and Aliens.
But I digress….
Gabrielle Union is my first choice for a Hollywood actress. Mostly because she looks like my character. But I also know she is a great performer and I have seen snippets of her acting in certain indy films and she is definitely admirable. Sanaa Lathan and Erica Tazel of FX’s cable tv show, Justified, would be nice, too.
Garry Dourdan of CSI fame would make and excellent Ishtarr, after seeing him in Alien 4. Idris Elba, and my dark horse for this role is Blair Underwood. Regardless of his unfulfilling TV assignments, he is a fine and brilliant actor.
By the way Ishtarr is Scorpia’s husband…I have a whole history and plot for their meeting and his origin story as well.
Supporting characters can be played by numerous people and I feel confident about that without mentioning any names.
GL: Great choices! Gabrielle Union is gorgeous and a Scorpio, I believe—-would be pretty cool if she were cast as Scorpia! And, IMO, Idris Elba is one of the finest actors out there! I would love to see that come to fruition. So, when you were growing up, who were some of your favorite superheroes/heroes? And, why?
WB: I would say Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Green Lantern, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and The Flash. Of course, I have already mentioned the good doctor several times in this interview, so let’s take a look at the other heroes.
Batman was mysterious and dangerous and had a strong sense of purpose and all those cool gadgets.
Superman had some amazing abilities and that sci-fi vibe was interesting enough to keep me coming back for more.
Spiderman was so down to earth that it was hard not to like him and he was a misunderstood outsider and somewhat a loner in the super hero community and that fitted his persona along with endless wise cracking in the face of danger.
It was unique that Green Lantern was able to produce objects with his Power Ring and use them as weapons against his foes. And that oath he used to charge his Battery of Power was the coolest thing in the world.
It was an honor to read the first appearance of the Black Panther in the pages of the Fantastic Four. It was an uplifting moment to see a hero of color and his African background was inspiring to me.
The Black Panther certainly lived up to his namesake with a pulp-like origin and a super cool supporting cast. He was a master of all combat arts and a scientist as well. Plus, he was a ruler of a pseudo-African kingdom.
Now, that is very nice.
Speed and brains was the norm for scarlet speedster known as The Flash. His Rogue’s Gallery had some classic villains in it. Among them was The Trickster, Captain Cold, Weather Wizard and my favorite: Mirror Master.
This particular enemy would create these elaborate traps for the speedster that only a Sherlock Holmes could escape from.
The Flash was intelligent as well as a superhero so the adventures were fantastic.
GL: What are you currently working on?
WB: I have been putting together my first art book. It will include a lot of my freelance assignments and some new original characters that I will publish in an upcoming anthology. As stated before, I am working on Little Miss Strange 2 and it’s more than half way done. But I would still be adding grayscale tones to the second volume of the sorceress of satu or Little Miss Strange.
General, I use art markers to tone copies of the original pages and it seems to fit—thanks to my fine arts training.
Once I have one of these project done, I will announce on my blog and other Social Media sites.
GL: What’s in the works for 2014?
WB: A bunch of stuff, but some projects have a gag order on them so I can’t even speak about [them] because it would ruin the surprise.
There is European interest in one of my characters for a special publication that is similar to Heavy Metal magazine. Also, I will be working with British writer Paul H. Birch on a collaboration for a new pulp hero. That should be fun.
One of my freelance gigs is about to show up on the radar. It’s from Bare Knuckle Press and features my illustrations of ancient Roman/Greek poems. I have Eddie Vega of Vegawire and Noir Nation to thank for that assignment.
Two children books are done: “My Father Found Bin Laden” and “Jello Pudding Pops.” Both deal with children who have abandonment issues…this is written by a client named Donna Matthews.
Personally, I would love to get a fine arts exhibition going this year. I miss seeing my paintings hanging on the wall with people making introspective comments about my work.
GL: Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work?
WB: My blog is always available for comments and exposure. My website has some interesting pieces from various jobs for clients and links to other assignments.
It’s been a pleasure to share my experiences in the art world and I will continue to explore more with new and repeating clients, hope you check in on me from time to time.
Thank you and take care.
GL: I’m sure many readers will be checking your sites out, too. Great having you here, and I’d love to have you back.