It’s the first day of a new month, and regular readers of StarTrek.com know that makes it time to reveal the latest quartet of Star Trek: The Original Series Art Prints by artist Juan Ortiz. This month’s prints, available now, are “Journey to Babel,” “The Return of the Archons,” “Plato’s Stepchildren” and “The Mark of Gideon.” StarTrek.com spoke to Ortiz, who’d just returned from representing many of his Trek projects at Comic-Con in San Diego, and he previewed the new pieces.
First, how did you enjoy the Star Trek end of your Comic-Con experience? What kind of reaction did you get to your book, Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz, and to the Klingon Houses pieces you created for Comic-Con?
ORTIZ: In hindsight I should have gone down a day earlier and rested the night before, but overall it was a good experience. It was nice to meet the folks at Titan, Entertainment Earth, We Love Fine, QMX and also Marian and John from CBS, who both kept me company through all of the signings. It was nice to meet some of my fans, also. I'd like to thank them for buying the book, the coasters and the T-shirts. I know that stuff is expensive and that they could have spent their Comic-Con money on other things, so I really appreciate it. Titan sold out of all the Star Trek books that they brought with them from England, which has to be a promising sign. I don't know how the Klingon House postcards were received as I was only there on Sunday and did not get to see any. I know that there is also merchandise available on StarTrek.com for anyone that couldn't make it to San Diego. I purchased a set of posters for myself already.
Going back to the TOS Art prints, which of the July pieces generated the most reaction?
ORTIZ: My guess would be “The Devil in the Dark,” once fans realized that the red figure was not some sort of alien.
Turning to August, first up is “Journey to Babel.” That's a super-tight close-up of the Enterprise, with the juxtaposition of the shuttle making the Enterprise look massive and the shuttle miniscule. What inspired this poster?
ORTIZ: The word journey in the title implied a voyage aboard a tall ship to me. Since the Enterprise has no tall sails, I compensated by cropping in close and evoking the tall sail image. The shuttlecraft helps add depth and scale and makes up for not being used in my version of “The Galileo Seven” poster.
“The Return of the Archons” has a The Seventh Seal vibe to it. What were you aiming for with this one?
ORTIZ: For some reason I pictured an article or story in the Sunday paper with this image of the two sentinels. When I was a kid, I used to love going through all the papers on Sunday. I'm sure it was a ritual in many homes before the computer. Creating artwork for newspapers is what editorial illustration is all about. I would do it every day.
“The Plato's Stepchildren” poster captures the famous kiss between Kirk and Uhura. Did you immediately want to go with that image or were you hesitant?
ORTIZ: That was my first and only choice. This one, of course, was inspired by the Gone with the Wind poster. It's very iconic and captures the moment.
Once you decided to go with the kiss and the Gone with the Wind inspiration, take us through your choices in rendering the poster.
ORTIZ: Sometimes I'll layout a concept in illustrator and then move from there. But I remember being excited by the eyelashes, of all things. They came out so rough yet simple. It may sound strange, but I knew the poster would work, based on those lashes. The rest of the piece just had to work to accentuate them.
The “Plato's Stepchildren” print looks worn, like it's been scratched by being on a wall for a long time. Why?
ORTIZ: Originally, the scratches were supposed to imply an old paperback cover, but I feel that the end result is more of an old Roman fresco wall painting. That works for me, too.
The fourth art print is for “The Mark of Gideon.” How did this print come together?
ORTIZ: I remember doing several layouts, but not having any luck. The episode itself makes little sense. Why create an entire duplicate of the Enterprise when all they really needed to do was ask to relocate part of the population to another planet. Easier said than done, I guess. That's why my poster has the Enterprise leaving a desperate population behind.
Of the four, which is the one you'd want to hang on the wall in your home?
ORTIZ: My personal favorite is “Plato's Stepchildren.” Not so much for the illustration, but for the episode's history behind it. When placed into context, it's Star Trek at its boldest.
The StarTrek.com Shop is offering the four prints as a set of plated-printed lithographs on 100-pound, aqueous-coated, satin-finish paper. Each print measures 18x24 inches and the set of four is $34.95. U.S. and Canada fans can purchase the sets below.
Pyramid will have the images available in the UK on Wood for £39.99 (43x59cm) and £49.99 (45x76cm), Canvas for £59.99 (60x80cm) and as Framed Art Prints at £49.99 (60x80cm). UK fans will be able to purchase the items at Amazon.co.uk, ForbiddenPlanet.co.uk and Oneposter.co.uk.
The next four images will be revealed in early September here on StarTrek.com.