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Art of Black Panther Signing at Gallery Nucleus!

Jabari Jondee here at Gallery Nucleus,

Artwork for Black Panther, photo by the author.

Black Panther is the #1 film in the world and one of it’s strengths is the world of Wakanda. Some of the artwork and designs used to make the film were shown in The Art of the Black Panther panel at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra. This was on Saturday afternoon, February 24th. The book by Eleni Roussos was released on February 13th in time for the film three days later. It is in a slipcase with art by Ryan Meinerding. The hardcover has “Discover Wakanda” on it’s front. Roussos mentioned at the signing that the art book was designed to have the feel of a National Geographic-type book. Besides the signing, Gallery Nucleus had a downstairs gallery of artwork for their Disney Television Animation Tribute Exhibition, classic and current, which runs until March 11th. Upstairs was a gallery for Black Panther artwork most of which we saw in the presentation. Ryan Meindering, head of visual development, spoke about working on art direction with the film. He mentioned working on the Black Panther suit for Captain America: Civil War without designs for Wakanda and looking at the comic books. Meindering said he wanted to bring a tribal design to the costume.

Black Panther panel; Wes Burt, Vance Kovacs, Rodney Fuentebella, Jackson Sze, and Ryan Meindering, photo by the author.

Adi Granov and Josh Black’s work on the costume designs were shown by Ryan Meindering. Granov worked on the design for Black Panther’s costume which was approved. Meindering noted the difficulty of designing the helmet so that it could also work practically for the actor on set. He noted that Ryan Coogler liked Brian Stelfreeze’s current design for the Black Panther comic. Josh Black worked on Killmonger’s Black Panther suit. The next speaker was Jackson Sze, senior concept artist, he noted that he was hired to visualize Wakanda seven years ago, but it of course changed when the land got to film. Sze noted Victoria’s Falls was expanded and an early design had the city hidden in the jungle. He showed some key frames of the film. One of which was a spoiler image, Eric Killmonger at the end of the film, Sze said that T’Challa and Killmonger are just chatting, which had the audience laughing. Rodney Fuentebella, concept artist, continued the fun using pop images with his artwork. Prince Akeem from Coming to America peeking out of the Royal Talon Fighter in one of his key frame artwork. He showed the designs for T’Chaka’s retro Black Panther outfit. Then, Fuentebella showed the various designs of Klaue’s weapon like a speaker, including sound effects with his presentation. Also, T’Challa’s shoe, his favorite, and Killmonger’s Black Panther costume, tactical outfit, and scars.

Black Panther painting, photo by the author.

Vance Kovacs, concept artist, was next and spoke about the “mech rhinos” in the film. Kovacs hadn’t seen the film yet. He mentioned about how it could be ridden with a sled. Also, Kovacs spoke about the designs for Killmonger’s mask at the beginning of the film. He created artwork for Pacific Rim: Uprising before working on Black Panther. One of Kovacs’ art was of T’Challa when he is buried which he was explained was like a Native American sweat lodge with masked figures in the back. He also painted the tree with the black panthers on the branches. Alexander Mandradjiev who is a freelance artist, but drew key frame art for the film. He showed artwork of Nakia taking on Killmonger’s Black Panther to protect a child. Mandradjiev was a little confused since he also didn’t see the film. Then, artwork from the car chase scene, which was his favorite because of the facial expressions of the people in it. The last speaker was Wes Burt, concept illustrator, who worked on the brainstorming part of the film. He did artwork for the Black Panther helmet, including vibranium moving through the suit and the ears folding. Burt showed some of the reference pictures of weaving used for the artwork. Zuri was one of the characters that Burt provided artwork. He noted the different colors used for the five Wakandan tribes. These were all interesting presentations with some insight on the thought process behind the filmmaking. Also note that Gallery Nucleus provides signed copies of the books just in case you are unable to make it down to the exhibitions.

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