King Kong was on HBO last night, the lavish 2005 Peter Jackson version, not the 1933 classic or the unbelievably bad remake from 1976. (A King Kong remake without dinosaurs? What were they thinking?)
Anyway, watching the recent version was a good reason to take another look through The World of Kong, A Natural History of Skull Island, a book set up as if it was a report on species found on subsequent scientific trips to Kong’s home, profusely illustrated by the talented concept artists from Jackson’s Weta Workshop special effects company.
When I first looked through the book, I was struck by the terrific concept paintings, particularly of dinosaurs, which I just love, by a number of artists who were obviously accomplished, but whose work I hadn’t encountered before (discoveries from the uncharted and mist-enshrouded South Pacific mystery island of New Zealand). I did a post on one of them, Greg Broadmore, back in November.
One of the others who immediately caught my eye was Christian Pearce. His paintings of dinosaurs (and other bizarre Skull Island creatures) have a freshness and breezy handling of color and texture that make them stand out, both as concept art and paleo illustration (noting that the King Kong “dinosaurs”, while freely adopted from real species, are usually made up species that never actually existed).
In addition to King Kong, Pearce has worked on the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and the proposed, but unfortunately on hold, live action version of the popular anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. Pearce has also done illustration for children’s books, trading cards, games and comics.
His gallery on the Weta Workshop site, contains some of his professional work. Unfortunately the profile on that site is frivolous and uninformative. There is a little bit more of a bio on the home page of his own site, and the galleries there have both professional work and paintings done for his own amusement.