Opening to the public March 21st from 7-10pm, Inner State Gallery will be showcasing new work from artist Derek Hess. “Critical Infrastructure Against External Threats” is a continuing examination of Hess’ evolving body of work that explores his use of line and form to create a sense of emotion and depth. The show will feature new work highlighting Hess’ recent reclaiming of long lost vinyl album covers, 8-tracks and Playboy magazines, all alongside his signature pen and ink pieces. The show will be Hess’ first Detroit solo show since 2002 at the now defunct CPOP gallery.
Throughout the last 25 years, Hess has created hundreds of rock posters and album covers for bands ranging the spectrum of rock music from Pink Floyd, Iggy Pop, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails to Pantera, Clutch, Deftones and many more. Solidifying his place in rock music history Hess’ work has joined permanent collections at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Louvre in Paris.
The Musee de la Publicite at the Palais du Louvre called his work "...remarquable serie d'affiches" (a remarkable series of posters) and has a set in their collection. Affiche, the European journal of poster art, called his "the most highly sought after concert posters in the world".
Although much of Hess’ work is primarily executed with pen and ink, his strong technical skills and compassionate feel of his craft have continued to set him apart. His continually changing work in screen printing has crossed genres and developed a unique and recognizable style that has in turn built a fanatical base of fans throughout the world, with many of his fans showcasing his artwork on their body as well as their wall.
Hess’ work is known for it’s humor and irony that often depicts dynamic figure drawing and angelic characters in adverse situations. Though his creative career grew largely out of his ability to express the emotion in the indie, hardcore, and hard rock scenes of the mid-1990s, his work now has grown into a standalone career with a full length documentary in the works and Hess' own apparel company, Strhess Clothing.
Recently, Hess has turned his obsessive concentration on the human form to a vast series of grease pencil nudes on retro Playboy covers from the 60’s and 70’s - the very same issues Hess first discovered as a fourth grader in his father’s closet. The nostalgia brought back by the taboo material of Hess’ childhood made the project even more fun for the artist.
Drawing loose and fast, Hess was able to capture the vibrant feeling of the figure. In 2013 the limited edition book “He Ain’t No Vargas” was released. The book has drawings spanning Hess’ earliest experimentation with Playboy covers in 2010 all the way into his most recent works done in August, 2013. “Vargas” refers to the artist Alberto Vargas, who was responsible for the pin-up nudes in Playboy for decades, and the book title is a tongue-in-cheek shot at Hess and his ability to draw. Hugh Hefner gave his personal blessing, perhaps giving the book the highest praise one can receive from Playboy magazine, and the book also contains a foreword written by current Playboy Executive Editior Jason Buhrmester.
A limited quantity of “He Ain’t No Vargas” will be available at Inner State.
Thursday - Saturday 11am - 4pm
Additional Hours Available by Appointment
About Inner State:
Inner State Gallery is Detroit’s premier art gallery for both established and emerging artists, both locally and internationally. Located in Eastern Market, the 1800 square foot gallery is home to two exhibition spaces, an artist live/work space, as well as a retail boutique for the gallery’s online counterpart 1xRUN.