Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kruger puts famed caricatures on display in Scottsdale

German artist Sebastian Kruger returns to Rock Star gallery for an exhibit of his celebrity caricatures.

"Get Krugerized" is one of only two U.S. shows the artist will have this year (the other one took place earlier this month in Boston). The exhibit features more than 26 of Kruger's sometimes comic caricatures that capture the essence of famous faces.

"He is truly one of the most exciting and talented artists of our time," said Michael Dunn, owner of the gallery, 15220 N. Scottsdale Road in Kierland Commons.

Kruger depicts iconic figures in distorted, detailed and, at times, demeaning ways. He has painted everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Alfred Hitchcock. He even has captured Fidel Castro on canvas.

The response is not always positive.

"Usually, the politicians hate it," said, Kruger, 47, during an interview from California, where he lives for several months each year before returning to his home in Hanover, Germany.

The exhibit includes a limited edition set of Kruger paintings of Slash, with some personally autographed by the former lead guitarist for Guns N' Roses. Kruger met Slash during a birthday celebration at Ronnie Wood's house in 1993 in Ireland.

"Ronnie invited me and Slash to come over to celebrate his (Wood's) birthday," Kruger said. "He used to celebrate his birthday for an entire month.

"We had a nice evening. He (Slash) was interested in fine arts, so we had a lot to talk about. I found out he is my kind of man. . . . He is a really nice guy, very grounded, not so 'I am so beautiful, I am so VIP.' "

After a night of drinking, "smoking weed" and playing billiards, the two became friends. Kruger created several album covers for the musician before taking on his portrait, which was completed this year.

Kruger met the Rolling Stones early in his career and has completed caricatures of each member of the band. He credits Wood with helping him get his international artistic career off the ground. Wood, who is a visual artist as well as a musician, has his art in several galleries.

"Ronnie Wood opened doors for me," Kruger said. "He was my biggest fan. He was beating the drum for me and helped me get into so many galleries."

Kruger grew up the son of an architect. He started drawing at 5 after his father began taking him to Walt Disney movies. He would run home from the movies, particularly those featuring Donald Duck, and quickly try to capture the cartoon figure on paper.

Kruger is known as a portrait painter who works in the hyper-realistic style of New Pop Art. Kruger spends days researching - reading biographies, studying videos, perusing photos of them before starting to paint.

The show will feature new original works of art, as well as limited fine-art editions. The paintings and prints range in price from $1,740 to $65,000. Kruger will personalize his limited edition prints upon request. His latest paintings feature Marlon Brando, Willie Nelson, and the Rolling Stones.

But don't ever expect to see a Kruger image of Tom Cruise.

"I can't stand this man, I don't like him," Kruger said. "I had a commission to do a portrait of Tom Cruise and I said no. It's nothing personal. I just don't like him.

"I would have a bad time doing a portrait of him. I'm sorry, Tom."

by Dolores Tropiano Special for the Republic Nov. 12, 2010 10:34 AM

Kruger puts famed caricatures on display in Scottsdale

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