Jerry Vanderstelt was in the right place at the right time. But it wasn’t luck that landed him there, it was hard work and making his own opportunities. Today this good fortune and hard work culminate when the artist releases a lithograph celebrating “The Fellowship of the Ring,” film released in 2001.
At the San Diego Comic-Con 2001, Elijah Wood walked around the mammoth floor of convention floor drinking in the celebration of popular culture and keeping his eye out for hints of how the world might accept the movie he had worked on that was about to overwhelm popular culture, the first film in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings.”
Wood traveled through artists’ alley and there he happened upon Vanderstelt with a small bit of real estate that he rented for the show for a chance to show his wares including a work he put together just for Wood or somebody like him.
He had read a lot of the leaks on the Internet (doubtless on TheOneRing.net!) and thought perhaps somebody from the forthcoming production of “Fellowship of the Rings,” might be in attendance and he might have a chance to show off his talents.
“I had read the books many times at that point,” Vanderstelt said by phone with TORn. “I basically gathered as much information – movie wise – as I could and put together my own montage. And along comes Elijah Wood.” (Pre ‘Fellowship’ Wood could freely walk the convention floor and I know because I met him there. It was quite a different story just a year later.)
“We were chatting for a while. He called Richard Taylor over and with a few minutes I had a whole lot of WETA people coming around.”
Taylor took a print of the artists work to a New Line marketing meeting and before long he was in the New Line family, commissioned to work on the LOTR family.
His relationship with New Line allowed him to approach the studio and a few of its insiders and arrange to work on a set of limited edition lithographs that are released for the first time today.
Limited to a run of just 2000 prints, signed and numbered by the artist, Vanderstelt, has released some stunning images to TORn that show some of the details in the spectacular painting.
Drawing images from Jackson’s films, inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, is a dream come true for the artist who started in his love for fantasy with C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books which lead him to Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
“I thought if there is a way to do this for a living that would be wonderful. I grew up on a farm in Southern Oregon working regular jobs and honing my skills. Finally I got a break. It has always been a passion.”
He has also work on Star Wars projects, toy packaging and book covers including fantasy author Alan Dean Foster and some Dungeons and Dragons titles.
“I feel fortunate to be involved,” he said. Fans may be the ones who feel fortunate after seeing his work.