There’s a lot going on in this painting, which is based on the original 1933 King Kong movie. I used my collection of wooden boxes to create a New York City skyline, including the Empire State Building which is topped with a vintage brass fire nozzle.
The windows are done as simple shapes in trompe l'oeil style (a visual illusion where a painted subject looks real,) to give interest to the center without getting too busy. The firetruck ladder is on a diagonal across the building which causes your eye to follow it up to the firefighter, who is bringing a banana to the standoff! Clever man!
For the planes, I used a pedal car airplane (which is actually a Christmas tree ornament) tied by strings, circling the building. King Kong is holding the toy version of Fay Wray (a blond, ever-smiling figure from the Fisher-Price ‘Little People” collection).
The real drama comes from the multiple shadows. I used some mounted army flood lights to “provide” illumination and give the set up some warm light. Of course the actual lighting came from my bright, focused studio lights to create the multiple layers of shadow, providing depth and drama to the painting. For instance, look at the shadows from the firetruck ladder. You’ll see shadows above and below, which comes from having several different lighting sources. It is the shadow work and multiple light sources that make my paintings really “pop!”It’s also why they are very time consuming and why the initial set up can take such a long time to get right.
Sharon's Uncle worked on the 1976 version of King Kong. He was in the urethane business, and since King Kong was made of urethane, he was in charge of all the equipment. At his office it wasn't unusual to hear "King Kong is on the phone!"
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