Thursday, 12 December 2013

Smaug - Out of the Shire

A few months back I had the happy occasion to be invited by Gallery Nucleus to take part in "Out of the Shire" -- the Tolkien themed tribute show that's opening up in Los Angeles this weekend.  I had been waiting for an excuse to make a dragon sculpture, so I leaped on the change to take a stab at Smaug.  Far from Tolkien's only dragon, but definitely my favourite.

I took my inspiration mostly from two sources -- the illustrations Tolkien made himself and that of Roger Garland.  The latter is hardly the definitive version of Smaug, but it has a particular nostalgia for me since the painting below was the cover of my mom's copy of The Hobbit that I'd seen lying around the house since I can remember.  It had an incredibly formative affect on my personal idea of dragons in general and Smaug in particular.

Roger Garland's cover for The Hobbit

And although I don't think it's absolutely necessary in all cases to follow to the letter precisely what an author has set forth regarding the look of their characters (see: Daario Naharis in The Song of Ice and Fire), I've always found Tolkien's illustrations of Smaug to be really charming.

Tolkien's Illustration of Bilbo's Conversation with Smaug

If you're in LA on Saturday night (Dec 14), please do come by Gallery Nucleus and see all the pieces in person!  There are a ton of fantastic artists with pieces in the show -- Karla Ortiz, Wesley Burt, Iain McCaig, Justin Gerard, Donato Giancola, Nicolas Delort, etc etc ... there is no reason not to :)