Even though we’ve moved on from October’s monsters and now face something even more frightening—dining with our extended family—Rocket to Venus continues hosting an art show that appeals to lovers of creature features.
The Hampden restaurant will host painter John Eichelberger’s works "Classics: Horror, Thrillers and Sci-Fi," featuring paintings of characters from classic scary movies, through the end of November.
"I’ve always been a fan of [director Alfred] Hitchcock and old horror movies, even if they’re kind of hokey," Eichelberger said.
Eichelberger, who graduated with a major in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1994, said the genesis of the project can be traced back four years ago, when a friend asked him to paint a piece for a Halloween exhibition benefiting the Charm City Roller Girls.
"I agreed and did this painting of Frankenstein’s Monster, [as portrayed by] Boris Karloff, because I’ve always had a thing for old horror movies," Eichelberger said.
But he wasn’t inspired to do anything larger until last year when he approached the owners of Rocket to Venus about displaying his work in the Hampden restaurant.
"Last year about this time I decided I wanted to pursue that avenue and do scenes from classic horror movies," Eichelberger said.
So last October he began to develop enough paintings that he felt were good enough to go on display, even though Eichelberger hadn’t done any painting of his own in years. Although professionally he works with photoshop and printing to help other artists disseminate their work.
The result were 17 24 x 24 inch paintings and one 28 x 28 inch rendering of characters such as Dracula and the Melanie Daniels characer from The Birds, which he describes as being portrayed in a loose or slightly abstract realism.
"I’m a little loose, I let the paint splash here and there. But basically I get the characters down because I want people to know what they’re looking at," Eichelberger said.
After the current exhibit closes, he said he isn’t sure what will become of the paintings that he doesn’t sell.
"I’m really not sure what I want to do with them afterwards. I imagine I will have a lot of horror movie paintings in my house," he said.
But the Remington resident has already started to think about his next project, although similar in many aspects, may interest a wider audience. He said he’d like to do a series of paintings of Hollywood actors, such as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall or Sean Connery portraying James Bond.
"Just classic Hollywood figures if you will. I’ve always been kind of a movie junkie," Eichelberger said.