“To me, mermaids are science fiction,” says Wil Cormier, whose prolific artwork covers the walls of the corporate offices at Brand for A.R.T.evolution’s Summer Showcase, which kicked off with an evening soiree on August 23rd.
Although mermaids prevail, the artist has created movie posters, portraits, and fantasy landscapes. That’s not even getting close to naming all of the subjects that have been sketched, drawn, painted, and otherwise captured on canvas (and other materials) by Cormier. The science fiction angle comes from the numerous book covers he’s illustrated, (William Gibson’s Mona Lisa Overdrive is an award winner). There’s also plenty of fantasy landscape to behold.
Holly, Framed Giclée on Canvas (original signed by Holly Madison)
The versatile artist’s preferred medium is oil on canvas, followed closely by mixed media that incorporates acrylic, chalk, pencil and giclée (inkjet art print). He can also manipulate media such as gouache (pigment suspended in water), pen and ink, scratchboard (etching into black India ink covered white or colored clay) watercolors, pastels, and Prisma pencils (brilliant, permanent pigment).
The Louisiana native's clients are as varied as his media.
Cormier’s career as an illustrator began in 1983, after graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Work in the Hollywood entertainment industry soon followed with movie poster illustrations including Home Alone 2, Crocodile Dundee, Oscar, Navy Seals, The Witches of Eastwick and Naked Gun 1 & 2 for the likes of 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and Disney. He also taught Advertising Illustration at the Art Center College of Design.
His work on commissioned illustrations covers a wide range of subjects, from Americana (Mattel Toys) to erotica (Hustler Magazine). Cormier’s Mermaids of Atlantis Series brings an underwater floral fantasy kingdom of ancient ruins to life, full of the playful, sea-born beauties. His Sapelo Island Series (it’s one of a chain of barrier islands off the coast of Georgia) tells a story of that island's beauty and its people's unique way of life.
Girl Meets Snake, Acrylic
The Power of Honda, Acrylic
Cormier’s images can be ethereal or humorous, vibrant or subtle. Textures and mood vary. Some pieces are full of movement and adventure; some are as pensive as a daydream in solitude.
"Most of the work I do is with real models,” he says. The human form (especially the female of the species) is well represented in Cormier’s work and in his opinion, it’s the most challenging to execute. There are portraits, nudes, sketches, costumes, plumes, headdresses, and gowns. There are Mardi Gras masks, maidens, ballerinas, ruby lips and smoky eyes. Cormier captures a visage and that same visage captures the audience with a personality fashioned from the artist’s creative marriage of imagination, pigment and pallet knife.
Unlike most of the artists that your humble correspondent had interviewed, Cormier knows what his finished product will be, making thumbnails first and then expanding the image into a full-size piece. Many times a painting will evolve through three iterations before emerging as a completed work of art.
A partial list of Cormier’s awards include First Prize Daily News Poster Competition, Los Angeles a World of Difference, several Society of Illustrators Awards, including a Silver Medal Award for the Home Alone 2 movie poster, and a World Science Fiction Award for the Mona Lisa Overdrive book cover. Cormier’s also had the opportunity to sell to art collectors through prestigious Sotheby’s in New York.
Poster, Los Angeles a World of Difference, Gallery Wrap Giclée
Book Cover, Mona Lisa Overdrive
Additionally, twenty-five percent of all his A.R.T.evolution sales were donated to a scholarship fund for the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Las Vegas.
About A.R.T. evolution: The Artistic Relationship to Thought
And the way this artist’s work sells, that means lots of green for the Bleu.
A.R.T. evolution mounts exhibitions by contemporary artists, exhibiting an eclectic group of mediums and techniques. Each collection is displayed for an extended period of time at BRAND, a marketing and PR firm. Sponsors for the event include Vin Sauvage-boutique wine distributors, DiVine Events, and Nothing Bundt Cakes.
About The Odyssey Foundation:
The Odyssey Foundation (under the aegis of the National Heritage Foundation) uses Las Vegas’ annual Odyssey Lifestyle events (a world of food and wine combined with the visual, musical and performing arts) to raise money for charities, which include the Las Vegas Le Cordon Bleu School culinary scholarship program and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Founded by Mark and Virginia Martino in 2000, The Odyssey Lifestyle also includes an event planning division and other ancillary professional assets, including the resources of their marketing firm, BRAND.