Sculpted by Jud Bergeron based on drawings oh Hunter S. Thompson by Ralph Steadman,
the limited edition statue brings to life Steadman’s iconic illustration of the same name, first seen accompanying the 1971 article, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (image below). The US debut of this monument coincides with the recent publication of Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson, a memoir by Thompson’s son, Juan F. Thompson, and Steadman’s retrospective currently on view at the Society of Illustrators in New York through October 22, 2016. Vintage Dr. Gonzo will make a special appearance at Scope Art Fair in Miami, with Alexander Chambers Gallery.
Ralph Steadman and Hunter S. Thompson began their 40-year relationship while covering the 1970 Kentucky Derby for Scanlan’s Magazine. It was here that Gonzo journalism was born, combining Steadman’s illustrations and Thompson’s writing in a revolutionary new artform that solidified their respective places in literary and art history. The legendary duo went on to collaborate on other projects, most famously, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, originally published as a two-part series in Rolling Stone magazine and later developed into the cult classic novel we know today.
The impetus for bronze Vintage Dr. Gonzo came from curator and gallery co-owner Brian Chambers, a diehard Steadman and Thompson fan. Chambers discovered the artist in high school and faithfully followed his work until he was able to connect with the illustrator two years ago. Chambers first floated the idea of a Dr. Gonzo sculpture by Steadman in 2014. To ensure the success of the endeavor, Chambers chose San Francisco-based artist Jud Bergeron–also a lifelong Steadman admirer and classically trained sculptor–to assist with the bronze-making process. During the creation phase, Chambers and Bergeron were inspired by a continuous dialogue with Steadman, who advised them on how to fully capture and embrace the Gonzo spirit, including an attempt by Steadman to pose in the guise of his infamous friend to help them get the attitude right. In total, 10 life-sized renditions were developed before the perfect clay mold was crafted. In addition to the nine life-sized editions, of which only one has been cast, Steadman, Bergeron and Chambers also created 50 smaller bronzes.
Signature: Signed, numbered and dated by Ralph Steadman in the bronze.
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About Ralph Steadman:
In 1969 Ralph Steadman received his big break when he illustrated an article written by the polarizing author Hunter S. Thompson. A 40-year collaboration between the two ensued, making Steadman one of the most widely recognized illustrators of his time. Inspired by George Grosz and John Heartfield, Steadman developed a distinctive style defined by energetic ink splatters and grotesque, flamboyant figures. His drawings have appeared alongside time-honored tales such as Alice in Wonderland, Animal Farm, and Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is also well known for humorous and caustic political cartoons, which depict the likes of Richard Nixon and George Bush. In 2014, For No Good Reason, a documentary detailing Steadman’s life, was released.
British, b. 1936, Wallasey, United Kingdom