It may surprise some of Jeff Rebner’s fans that his Land of Nod exhibition at the Hyaena Gallery (1928 W. Olive in Burbank) is the first time that the artist is actually doing a full showing of his work there.
“Back when I was working for Film Roman on King of the Hill, I would pass by the gallery and take a look in and thought it was cool,” explained Rebner. “In 2006 I sculpted a piece that was a devil/cherub character, and I brought it in to Bill (Shafer, owner of Hyaena Gallery). Bill didn’t know who I was but he said that he could sell my piece for me, and it sold quickly.”
“After that, whenever I would be in the mood to do more horror stuff, I knew I had an outlet through Hyaena. It wasn’t until Halloween 2008, when Hyaena was hosting their Halloween gallery and I did a zombie piece that sold right off the bat, that I realized it was time for my own show,” Rebner added.
That’s when the inspiration for Land of Nod was born. Rebner not only decided to feature some of his comic book inspired drawings but also included some mixed media piece and a collection of socio/political pieces entitled “The Four Horsemen.”
“The first one I did was Death, and that wasn’t hard since I was just using skulls,” said Rebner. “So I figured that the next one would be Disease and the gas masks worked really well. War was also pretty easy for me because it’s George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. I mean, that was a no brainer.”
Rebner added, “The hardest one for me was Famine. I couldn’t go and use poor children who were dying. So I really had to think about it. You have the fast food chains and there’s this malnutrition. Our society is not getting skinny, we’re getting fat and there’s nothing in their food that’s healthy. So, I made that Famine because we’re not dying from not eating but we are dying from the food we eat.”
Another striking piece that is part of Rebner’s exhibition at Hyaena Gallery is the Orc mixed media statue. It’s one that even he finds creepy and he’s the mastermind behind it.
“I couldn’t believe just how frightening the Orc piece looked when I was done,” explained Rebner. “My wife was like ‘Get it the hell out of here!’ when it was complete. When we were putting it into place here at the gallery, we all realized that it is very creepy. I never expected to do something so dark, but I did want to do something that was different.”
Dark is definitely a different area for Rebner to work in. He loves and finds inspiration within the horror genre but has come to realize that even he has a line he doesn’t generally feel comfortable crossing.
Rebner said, “As an artist, I am just not comfortable with doing very dark things. I feel like when you work in horror, there still needs to be a certain level of humor. I want people who see my stuff to look at it and see where the jokes are coming from. Zombies are fun to draw, but I try to do it in a way which is comfortable for everyone.”
As a life-long horror fan, Rebner is very conscientious of the cycles of the horror world he has seen during his lifetime and feels that our current era of horror might just prove to be the most important one yet.
“King Kong was my first favorite love, even before Star Wars,” explained Rebner. “I grew up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland, and I remember I used to chase girls around with it. As a teenager in the 80s, I was definitely geared towards horror but I sort of veered off during the 90s.”
“This decade really pulled me back in. Who would have thought zombies would be back in style? We’ve seen torture porn, Asian horror, zombies, and all the remakes just to name a few – as fans, we have gone through the gambit, and I really think because of that, this might end up being one of the more important decades in horror,” Rebner added.
With Rebner’s Land of Nod exhibition running at Hyaena Gallery from August 1st through August 15th, it doesn’t mean that the artist gets to rest on his laurels anytime soon. He still keeps himself busy with his day job as a character developer on the Fox animated show “American Dad” and is currently fleshing out a new scarecrow-inspired character for HorrorHound Magazine’s upcoming November convention.
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