Exhibition features alumnus' animation, production art collection

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Exhibition features alumnus’ animation, production art collection

A 1986 concept drawing by Kelly Asbury for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” featuring Ariel and her sidekick Flounder in Ariel’s Grotto, where she kept her found treasures from the human world.
A 1986 concept drawing by Kelly Asbury for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” featuring Ariel and her sidekick Flounder in Ariel’s Grotto, where she kept her found treasures from the human world.

A summer exhibition in the School of Art, Art History and Design’s Eisentrager•Howard Gallery will feature original artwork from popular films, animated television series, comics and trading cards from a local collector.

“Building a Narrative: Production Art and Pop Culture” will be on display from June 3 to Oct. 7 in the gallery, located on the first floor of Richards Hall. As part of the Lincoln Collects series, the exhibition includes more than 140 selected works from the private collection of alumnus Trent Claus (2006, Bachelor of Fine Arts), who is a visual effects supervisor for Lola VFX.

The show opens with a reception from 5-7 p.m. June 3 in the gallery. The gallery will be open upon request weekdays (visit the art office in 120 Richards Hall for access) and on Fridays from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

An exhibition catalog will also be available for sale.

Lincoln Collects is an ongoing series hosted by the school to showcase works belonging to notable art collectors in the Lincoln area.

“We are extremely excited to show Trent’s extraordinary collection of production artwork including concept art, storyboards and visual effects from popular culture spanning TV and film,” said Francisco Souto, director of the School of Art, Art History and Design. “This exhibition will be the first of its kind to be shown in Lincoln and will represent the second edition of the exhibition series Lincoln Collects. Trent’s concept art collection will give the community a rare glance of the impact of storytelling has on popular culture and how it has shaped our own personal narratives.”

Claus has been collecting this art for 25 years.

“What everything shares in common is that it’s a piece of art that was generated on the way to the final product,” Claus said. “So a lot of the pieces don’t get seen a lot by the general public, and a lot of the artists aren’t known by the general public. It’s exciting to shed a spotlight on them and their work and see all of the artistry and collaboration that goes on behind the scenes of the things we all know.”

Claus said the centerpiece of the exhibit will be his animation collection.

“It will be arranged in a giant grid so that there’s one piece per show, and there’s 90 different television shows represented,” he said. “And what really sets it apart is not only the huge volume of shows. But most of the time, when you see animation cells either on display or for sale, what you’re seeing is the cel, and then there’s a reproduction background because there may be hundreds of cels for every one background. Every single one of the 90 cels in the show has the original hand-painted background, which is a huge rarity.”

The wall will include cels from “The Flintstones” (the first primetime animated show), “The Smurfs,” “Transformers,” “G.I. Joe,” “The Simpson’s,” “Rugrats” and “Ren and Stimpy.”

The exhibition will include highlights from everything from “Star Wars,” including a concept piece from “Return of the Jedi” by artist Ralph McQuarrie to “Star Trek,” “The Goonies,” “Labyrinth,” “Ghostbusters,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Dances with Wolves.” There are also original comic art and paintings from the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards.

Claus hopes the exhibition attracts a wider audience for the gallery.

“I hope that it’s something that might draw the public in to view the art that wouldn’t normally find themselves in an art gallery,” he said. “Because there’s a lot of pieces here that can strike a nostalgic chord with people that have a general interest because it is so much a part of pop culture, that I hope people will bring the family in. I do think there’s something there for just about everybody.”

Claus, who recently moved back to Lincoln, said this exhibition is a milestone for his collection.

“This will be the first time many of them have ever been hung, and it’s the first time that any of them have been shown publicly,” he said. “So it’s a big moment for the collection.”

He encourages people to come see his collection.

“There’s definitely something here from something they’ve seen,” he said. “I think there’s something to be said for seeing art in person, and this is no exception.”

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