Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kelly Freas Kirk Portrait

Back in 1976 I bought the set of crew paintings by the awesome fantasy artist Kelly Freas from Roddenberry's Lincoln Enterprises. Although I have featured the Uhura portrait before (naturally), I have never posted the complete set. I decided this omission should not be continued, so I will be posting them all in succession until they are all here, starting with the good Captain, James Tiberius Kirk.

(Click on images to enlarge.)

The addition of the UFP symbol behind him is a nice touch. Looks like he left his girdle at home though.

Below is a closer look at the face, which, although a fine rendering, is just a tad off from Shatner's visage. While Freas was a fine artist, it seemed that in some cases (in this set, at least) the paintings did not quite capture the likenesses of the so-very-familiar features of our heroes. As more examples are posted, we see that there are varying degrees of success; with this being one of the better ones. I give this one an "B+" for character likeness. What do you think? Still, you can't fault the ethereal style that Kelly brought to each canvas, and not being an art critic, I won't try to. As for as likeness, it could be his artistic interpretation of the character, and not an effort at photographic reproduction.

Update: This photo below is actually pretty close to the image in the painting.

Since these are all 11 by 16 inches, they have to be scanned in two parts and then photoshopped back together. The crease in the middle comes not from the stitching process, but the fold in the paper from where I had them stored for years in one of my collection cases. I wish now I had stored them flat and unfolded in some protective folder, or even rolled up.

Sure, these posters can be seen at various places around the web, and even bought at the official Freas website. (who, sadly, is no longer with us.) But, those are not my prints, and not from my collection; and if a criteria for posting was a complete lack of availability anywhere else, I would hardly post anything at all. I decided awhile back that I would not consider other available online sources when featuring items from my collection. Why should I send readers off to another site for something I have in my own cabinets? And why limit what I put on my blog just because of what someone else has on theirs? So, come back soon for the next post on this lovely set!

Update: I have been retroactively adding in each star's salute page from the Trek 25th Anniversary issue #112 of Starlog to these Freas posts. Here is the Shat's...


Rob Bignell said...

Your posting rules are fine by me, Frederick. Part of the blog's fun is seeing what's in your cabinet. It's always great to find out what you were able to get hold of and what you kept from those days when there just wasn't much out for us Star Trek fans. It always brings a smile to my face when your post is of something I'd long forgotten about - like the Kelly Freas paintings. Yeah, his artwork didn't quite match the character's photograph, but Freas brought a certain dignity to his representations that other artists (and even photographers) just couldn't be bothered with. wish I had these in my collection - even with the folds in them.

Frederick said...


Thanks for the comment! I have fun bringing out stuff I haven't seen for a long time, as I go through seeing what I can post. Sharing the stuff with other fans such as yourself is almost (almost) as much fun as getting together to go through the shelves in person.

Freas has such a distinctive style, that seeing him apply that to our beloved characters made the paintings a bit more special. I don't think he did very many other TV show character portraits, so it added a bit of sophistication to them by virtue of an artist of his stature taking the time to do it.

daehl said...

I remember seeing those pictures for sale when I was a kid. They were cool, but I recall being a bit disturbed by how the likenesses seemed off. Uhura, and McCoy were the best. Kirk was not good at all. looks more like Robert Conrad than William Shatner. Now that would have been an interesting for Kirk at the time...

Anonymous said...

There's something in the painting of Kirk that seems to suggest just a hint of Glenn Corbett, though I can't put a finger on why. Come to think of it, McCoy's painting seems to have it, too!

Frederick said...

Now that you mention it, I can see what you mean in Kirk's. In case some might have forgotten, Corbett played Zephram Cochrane in "Metamorphosis." Although he had the "leading man" looks, he never did much more than guest-star in TV shows.
To me, the Kirk portrait seems to embody the "hero image" and not so much Shatner's face.

Anonymous said...

Right you are, Frederick! 'Metamorphosis' is one of those episodes I didn't like as a kid, but it's one of my favorites now.
Though Shatner is notoriously hard to capture in renderings, the hero-image you mention probably works well enough! I remember on the cover of one DC Comics Star Trek Annual, I remember thinking that Kirk on the cover resembled Tom Hanks more than Shatner!