Thu July 16, 2009
From Underground Comix to Punk-Rock LP Covers to the Sets for "Pee Wee's Playhouse" --- The Striking and Various Work of Artist Gary Panter.
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – On this edition of StudioTulsa, we hear from a varied, prolific, and pop-culture-infused artist who'll be appearing at the Philbrook Museum of Art tonight (the 16th) in a "Third Thursday" event that begins at 5pm. The artist is Gary Panter, and the stories he tells us about his life and career in the twin worlds of graphic and fine art are at once funny and fascinating. (You can learn more about Panter's event at Philbrook tonight at http://www.philbrook.org/education/public/descriptions.cfm.) Panter is an articulate and adventuresome artist whose kinetic work has appeared in the guise of various media, from magazine covers and underground comix to light shows and theatrical sets. Be sure to check out his website at garypanter.com. At that site, we found the following in terms of Panter's biography (and his method of operation): "Oklahoma-born illustrator, painter, designer, and part-time musician Gary Panter is a child of the '50s who blossomed in the full glare of the psychedelic '60s and, after surviving underground during the '70s, finally made his mark in the '80s as head set designer for the successful kid/adult TV show "Pee Wee's Playhouse," a job which brought his jagged art and surreal cartoon ideas into the homes of America and bagged him three Emmy Awards.... In the same way that Francis Bacon surrounded himself with images that inspired him to carve out his grotesques in oil paint, so Panter gathered around himself the rubble of his childhood to create Pee Wee and the host of lovable (yet strange) characters which inhabit his Playhouse."