Take two major artists, Don Bluth and Larry Elmore, add two raucous writers, Peter David and Harlan Ellison, and trick them into an hour-long performance, and you have a wild ride for everyone.
Iron Artist, a Dragon*Con variation on Iron Chef, pitted Bluth and Elmore in a bizarre competition: 60 minutes to create a work of art with a mystery material. The surprise material? Cubism. Early Norman Rockwell pastel cubism, to be exact. OK, that isn’t a material, but let’s not get picky.
What were David and Ellison doing while the artists engaged in their frenzied outpouring of creativity? Stand-up comedy. The audience laughed, Bluth and Elmore painted, and David and Ellison created their own peculiar version of Abott and Costello, with a touch of Lenny Bruce. (Harlan Ellison is a scary, scary man.)
What made the event particularly amusing was Ellison’s revelation that none of them knew they were doing Iron Artist until the day before the event. This was followed by his (repeated) prayer: “Kill me, kill me now.” His pleas went unanswered and the audience reveled in the absurdity.
Bluth and Elmore’s painting were . . . interesting. Bluth’s cubist version of the Coppertone girl will surely mark a new direction in art; Elmore’s Elf With Pie on Zardoz may transform society into a new utopian state. Whatever the case, Bluth was voted the winner and both painters declared they didn’t give a rat’s . . . behind what happened to their new masterpieces so they agreed to donate them to the charity auction.
As for Ellison, he hoped that everyone hated Iron Artist so much that he would never have to do it again. Sorry Harlan, we loved it. You have only yourself to blame; you must curb that reckless wit.
If popular demand triumphs, Iron Artist will become a Dragon*Con tradition.