Hi. Well, here I am the Artist (though not formally known as anything else), that guy right there on the left. Yes, that's Larry Murrell, me and your host, here, of Another Shade of Color. Note that this is a 1969 pastel drawing on drawing paper (18" X 24"). It was actually a college homework assignment. (Got an "A".) Now, I'm not going to sit here and give a long boring resume' about where I went to school and how many ultra high degrees that I have obtained and the number of prestigious awards to which I have been honored and the number of other famous and near famous individuals to whom I have collaborated. No. That would be a bit too much, way too pretentious, and it just ain't quite the way things have happened. I'm just an "Average Working Joe" like most of you visiting this site. What I am going to tell you about is the philosophy of Nathaniel L. Murrell, Jr. and the concept of "Another Shade of Color".
During my pre teen years, I was a natural television cartoon addict (Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, and Company) and had read and seen many comic books (Casper the Friendly Ghost, Baby Huey, et al.). (Archie? Naw!! Never!!!) But it was not until I reached my very early teen years, age thirteen, that I discovered DC Comics and Superman. With my first issue, no other comic book had a more realistic quality to them these Superman comic books. An artist whose name wasn't written in comic books of the time illustrated it and I, consequently, did not know the artist's identity at that time. This artist's name was Curt Swan. (Note that with the George Reeves 1950's television series, I was always a Superman fan.) I was impressed, so I decided to, maybe..., give a try at copying one of the drawings. Hmmmm! It took about two hours, but it came out, eeeh, fairly well. So, I tried another, and another, and another, and an... (Well, you have the idea.) Went on to find Carmine Infantino who drew the Flash, Murphy Anderson, who inked several comics and drew Hawkman and the Spectre, Gil Kane, who drew Green Lantern and the Atom, et al of D.C. and, then, there was Jack Kirby who did did it all for Marvel and Jazzy John Buscema who dazzled with did marvels (No pun intended. HONEST!!!) with the Silver Surfer and the Avengers, and well, once again, you have the idea. I was a fanatic for superheroes, science fiction fantasy, and all of those fantastic futuristic costumes, devices, vehicles and architecture.
All of this led to classes, a telescope and and interest in astronomy, college (had to mention it, but that's a far as I'm going with it), an introduction to astrophysics and cosmology, human kind landing on the moon, adulthood (there are some question about this ya' know), family, and work (though not exactly in my field of endeavor). Thank God for Star Trek though. The academic establishment (high school and college) had previously demeaned the art and literature of sci-fi, but I'll let history speak for itself from this point. It took a while for people to understand. You see, In 1977, a guy name George Lucas came out with little innocuous film called Star Wars. I think most of you have heard of this. Here too, I'll let history speak for itself. With my discovery of Asimov, Sagan, and the basic understanding of Einstein and quantum physics and the Theory of Relativity, I then began to see myself a futurist.
In my life's ramblings and meanderings, I ran into a book of works by an artist name Frank Frazetta. He had illustrated many paper back books such Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian, et al. Later, I would find another prime artist of this genre, Boris Vallejo, who also had many books and calendars published of his works. These artists spoke of high adventure, heroism (and, for women even, there was even a strong note of equality of heroism in their works), strange new worlds, and alternate universes, all so fascinating! (Spock spoken here obviously.) Somewhere before this and after this, I found the surrealism of Salvador Dali and H.R. Geiger who designed than alien in the "Alien" movies. And let me not forget Omni magazine, it was almost the Holy Grail.
On the road, there are some people to whom I have engaged (co-workers mostly) in conversations on the various aspects of astrology, (I am a Gemini and I can hear many of you now.) but I never gauged it and subscribed to it in the way that many people do. To me astrology, deeply routed in mythology (Egyptian, Roman, Greek, and, even Norse), held a strong visual potential. There were centaurs, aliens, inter stellar space, galaxies, worlds of fire and ice, worlds of magnificent sleekly designed architecture, cyber worlds, time travel, etc. With "Another Shade of Color; Journeys Beyond Imagination", it is my desire to take you, my visitor, to places that no earth bound mind has yet dared to imagine. When it is fully developed, this is where the "Analogs of Gemindii" will launch you there. As a dream of mine, I feel that it will do what Star Wars, a true sci-fi fairy tale, and the post original Star Trek televison series, a collection tales of limited action, passion, and good acting and endless board meetings, has not not been able to give the sci-fi hungry. This series is full of events and characters to whom you will care about. I hope that I can get this out to you soon.
On a final note to my African-American colleagues and contemporaries (and there is no offense here since I am one of you), but there has been very little African or African-American influence in my work and scope. As you may tell from perusing my site, my work is not so traditionally Afrocentric in appearance. This is not a rejection of my culture, as was suggested by the newly burgeoning African-American radical philosphy of the late 60's and early 70's, because my works are the result of an African-American mind and his life's experiences. Prior to my taking up my first pencil and putting it to paper, I had, at first, never thought about my ethnicity and had never seen the work of people such as myself. I had one friend in high school that saw my visions because they were also his visions, his name was Joe Day and he was also a young potential artist. (I doubt that it will happen, but I hope that he stumbles across this and reads it.) Despite my life long look to the future, my landscapes, florals, and still lifes (which I didn't actually start until my very late 20's) suggest that I am also (despite color or ethnicity) a person in tune with the natural World about me.
It wasn't until March of 1968 that my perspectives on my people and
myself began to take some influence. The great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had
been assassinated and all of the rage of "People of Color" and their
denial of full citizenship and participation had come to a head. As comedian
Richard Prior had noted in his stand up movie of the late 1970's, "There
were no Black People in the 50's [execpt Amos and Andy and very few in the
60's]," but things were now about to change. African-American people and
other under represented ethnic groups would now come to the fore, be seen,
heard, and also, viewed as intellectual, brave, and beautiful people as well.
In this time period, I would meet and dialog with two other African-American
artists, Joseph Holston and Gerri White. I would also become aware of the Sub
Saharan influences of the
I live. I grow. Come with me. The journey forever continues.