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Imagine that: Local art adjoins Mint Museum's Tony DiTerlizzi exhibit
Gallery showcase highlights Charlotteans' work
Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019 12:48 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Wolly McNair's “Of Peace Of War” is part of a Mint Museum Randolph showcase of local art adjacent to an exhibit of best-selling author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi's work.

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The Mint Museum is utilizing its space to feature local artists.

“Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi” opens on June 22 at the Mint Museum Randolph (2730 Randolph Road) and runs through Nov. 3. While the exhibit features the work of New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi—author of “The Spiderwick Chronicles”—four Charlotte artists (two works each) will be featured in an adjacent gallery.

“When I started thinking about the show, I realized we have a pretty big community here in Charlotte of illustrators,” said Mint Senior Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art Jonathan Stuhlman. “One of the things we’ve been trying to do over the past couple of years is really open up the museum to local artists, wanting them to feel like the museum is a place where they can not only come and see work from all over the world, but also see work from themselves and their peers.”

This is a continuation of their project “Constellation CLT,” which provides local artists an opportunity to showcase work through the museum’s public spaces.
“That’s a rotating installation at our Uptown museum,” Stuhlman said. “Three times a year in our public spaces we have works by local artists. That kicked off [this concept]. We have the space adjacent to our special exhibition galleries, and I thought, ‘let’s open it and see if local illustrators would like to show their work, as a parallel show to the DiTerlizzi exhibition.”

Wolly McNair is among the featured local artists. Applicants were asked to submit work that had been published, was framed and ready to hang.

“It’s a great, diverse group of work,” Stuhlman said. “Everything from some kind of wonderful scenes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains to some kind of fantastic monsters and themes celebrating music. Wolly’s work really comes more out of the comic book genre.”

Said McNair: “A lot of my work is digital concept work for video games, sometimes film and comic books. They wanted these particular pieces to be physical print.”

McNair’s featured works are “Of Peace Of War” and “Black Hornet.”

“I wanted to find pieces that would be relatable to two different groups,” he said. “‘Of Peace Of War’ just touches people in a whole different way. It was a different style of work for me. More of an almost painted feel, even though it was predominantly created digitally. With the other piece, it showcases the superhero background because I do a lot of work in that world.”

The former was published last fall by 21 Draw Inc.

“The ‘Of Peace Of War’ piece originally was for a series I was working on for a gallery show, but in the process of that, I did some work with a company called 21 Draw Inc.,” McNair said. “I wanted to cover the idea that someone can be a peaceful person, but also have this war within themselves … be prepared to be a warrior. Doves in our culture in America are often symbols of peace and hope, or the idea of finding what you’re looking for. That’s why you see the doves flying out from under her cloak.”

“Black Hornet” was collaboration with Black Sheep Skate Shop and Nike during NBA All-Star Weekend in February.

“They called me and basically to create a character based on the designs and the process of the shoe, because they wanted to have a superhero feel for the sneaker,” McNair said. “That was the piece I ended up designing to be packaged along with the print products and the promotional products for the limited edition sneaker, as well as the standard release.”

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