Featuring strong females, chilling resurrections, death and power, Art the Throne touched upon central themes in Game of Thrones and brought together cast members, artists and exhibit attendees in an exhibition in New York City. The evening showcased the work of five artists – all of them longtime fans of the show. Each artist displayed one piece inspired by a character, scene or theme from previous seasons. The result was a vibrant, artistic send-up of the series.
Set in the center of the Angel Orensanz Center (where the event was held) was a massive inverted crown created by CYRCLE collaborators David Torres (Rabi) and Davey Detail. With a reflective gold surface, the crown offered attendees of the event a grown-up playground. People ducked between the crown’s points to stand inside the “circle of power” and read the words that Torres and Detail had inscribed on the interior: Rise, claim, peace, reign, fear, wall, war, fall. For Detail, the piece speaks directly to a fundamental theme in Game of Thrones: “The words were able to tell the story chronologically of what potentially happens with the acquisition of power.” Moreover, it was by design that people spent time peering at their own reflections in the crown’s golden surface. Detail described, “The idea is that we’re all kings or queens. When you can see yourself in a piece, it’s impossible not to connect.”
Moving through the room, people gravitated towards the warm glow of Ben Gibson, Ashley Walker and Becky Joy’s homage to the Red Wedding. The team of infographic experts who work together at Pop Chart Lab created a massive 13-foot panel of red glass that featured the face of a wolf with teeth bared. The piece gave off an ethereal red light that hypnotized and loomed large over the room.
In a nice contrast to Pop Chart Lab’s bloody hues, Jeff Nishinaka’s 2-D Night King creation popped in white and blue. Made entirely from hand-cut paper, the Night King stood at 6 feet by 6.5 feet – arms held aloft – in a freeze of the iconic “Hardhome” scene when the dead rise again at the White Walker’s command. According to Nishinaka, as many as 70 tiny pieces of paper went into crafting the Night King’s head, to say nothing of the rest of his body.
Appropriately, the two works dedicated to women of Game of Thrones were placed across from each other. Illustrator Marcos Chin’s portrait of Brienne of Tarth astride a horse was all texture and intricate design. As Chin explains, “I chose her because she was very unconventional. She’s the opposite of what you might expect from a traditional ‘woman.’” Projected on a brick wall, the piece became dynamic graffiti, flickering from a simple outline of Brienne’s form to a fully realized sketch of patterns and color.
Also inspired by the show’s focus on strong women, muralist Tristan Eaton decided to focus on the Mother of Dragons in a six-panel series. Eaton overlaid the portrait of Dany with iconography that depicts her struggle to maintain control over Meereen in Season 4. For Eaton, the event provided a unique opportunity to fully immerse himself and become a part of the Game of Thrones universe: “It feels weird to step into another dimension and actually interact with it. It’s an honor, because as a viewer you’re so far away from the show. So to be involved in the world and get the permission to interpret the imagery is so fun for an artist.”
Cast members Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) and Hannah Murray (Gilly) joined the crowd to admire artistic works that the show inspired. When asked what his favorite piece was, Anderson replied diplomatically, “It’s really hard to say that now, because we met all the artists.” To which Murray added, “They’re all really distinctive and different. I feel like every time we went to talk to the artist, I’d be like, ‘This is my favorite!’”
Anderson observed that the sheer range of art on display is testament to the expansive and diverse universe of the show itself: “It’s such a dense story that you can pick inspiration out of any of it, particularly if you’re an artist.” Anderson joked that he and Murray have been inspired musically: “Hannah and I have started a band. It’s gonna be like a Simon and Garfunkel, except for Game of Thrones. It’s called ‘Gillyworm.’”
For more from the event, explore #ArttheThrone.