Remembering Elvis: Many Faces

Posted: December 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

Press Release 12/1/2010 available for copy

Santa Elvis 350.00

Elvis is alive in Apache Junction!  Or at least his images come alive through a provocative art exhibit by local artist, Denise Landis, at the  western themed Superstition Mountain Museum of Arizona SuperstitionMountainMuseum.org.  The exhibit will be on display for the month of December and honors Elvis via a unique painting style called pointillism.   Denise Landis has been painting pointillism since her college days during the Elvis comeback period.  The artist shares,  “Pointillism is a style of painting in which you use thousands of dots or dabs to create images.  My particular style is Modified Pointillism.  Today, I prefer to use large rectangular dabs to create my paintings, however I have painted classical pointillism using tiny dots, sprayed pointillism using aerosol cans, and various approaches varying the shapes and sizes of my dots.”

Elvis Presley, known primarily for his singing and risqué stage moves, also created twenty-nine movies in which three were actual westerns and several included western scenes. Charro (1969) starring Elvis Presley was made at Apacheland Movie Ranch at the peak of his career.  It has been called his best acting work.  Apacheland was a well-known film and TV recording studio in Gold Canyon, AZ that tragically burned in 2004.  It was a tragic loss to local residents as well as to the movie industry and the many tourists attracted to the lifestyle of the Old West. However, the Apacheland barn and chapel survived.  Both were carefully moved to the Superstition Mountain Museum located on the Historic Apache Trail (AZ Route 88) outside Apache Junction approximately 32 miles east of Phoenix.   The Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel exhibits movie & TV memorabilia of many Apacheland productions and open to today’s Elvis fans and curious media buffs.

The Historic Elvis Chapel

Both Elvis and Denise were drawn to the simple western lifestyle that Arizonans experience each day.   While Elvis lived on a ranch, loved his horses and the camaraderie of “men’s men and pretty women”, Denise simply took to the rocks, the massive sky and the slow-paced western ways.  Denise laughingly chides, “You wont see me on a horse but I am a ‘rock-hound’ and love the desert!  In the lyrics of Lonesome Cowboy, Elvis sang, “…Just beyond the mountain lies a city, And I hear it calling me, Saddle up and ride you lonesome cowboy, Here is where you’ll find your destiny.” This is one of the songs from Elvis’s first western Loving You in 1957.  These words remind me of our Superstition Mountains and unique town.”

Cowboy Elvis 650.00

Elvis Presley’s image was a popular choice for artists during his life and has remained so since his death in 1977. In 1963, Pop Artist, Andy Warhol, screen-printed a full-length portrait of Elvis. The image of Elvis was taken from a publicity photo for the film Flaming Star (1960), also a western.  Currently, Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil, a mix of dance, acrobatics and live music, is a tribute to the life and music of Elvis Presley.  The Vegas show includes several scenes in which the stage is dominated by huge Elvis-As-Cowboy sculptures and massive Warhol images.  In 2009, four Denise Landis Elvis paintings on vinyl records were exhibited at APW Gallery in New York.  Several of these will be included in the museum exhibit.  Today, Denise researches current Elvis artists to participate in group exhibits and competitions.  She recently sponsored an Elvis Portrait competition on FineArtAmerica.com and adds,  “There are some incredible Elvis artists out there!”

An Elvis fan since childhood, Denise Landis has painted his image for years.  “His face has such delicious curvature and I always learn something new about his unique facial lines.  He was a beautiful man, both handsome and pretty, and is fun to paint!”  The Denise Landis art studio is called Landisworks and located north of Apache Junction in Pinal County.  Her studio’s bathroom is where she pays special tribute to Elvis with a huge original painting of The King and various memorabilia collected and received as gifts throughout the years.   She explains,  “Since his last place on earth was his bathroom, I think it is the perfect room to show my collection.  I love it when people visit my studio and want to see it!  I once overheard a women yell to her husband waiting patiently in their parked car, ‘Honey, you’ve got to come in and see her bathroom!’ That made my day!”

Guitar Elvis 900.00

The Remembering Elvis: Many Faces painting exhibit will have an Artist Reception on Saturday, December 18th from 1 – 4pm.   Denise Landis will be sharing her thoughts on Elvis and her art as she provides a painting demonstration of her colorful modified pointillism.  Visit the Superstition Mountain Museum at 4087 North Apache Trail, Apache Junction, Arizona 85219. 

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