Home Comics Art Dude spends his free time making beautiful images of Kandor

Dude spends his free time making beautiful images of Kandor


Everyone needs a hobby. Artist Mike Kelley has a doozy

He’s been devoting the last ten years to making glass images of Kandor, the lost Kryptonian “City in a bottle.” It seems that before Superman’s home planet was blown to smithereens, Brainiac stole the capital city of Kandor, shrank it down, and put it in a bottle, as we might save a ship or a guppy. Superman recovered the city in ACTION COMICS #242, and decided to keep it in the Fortress of Solitude, because nothing breaks up a lonely day like a tiny bottled city full of Kryptonians.

Since then, the city has been supersized, retconned, kicked around, and threatened many times. And now, it’s the subject of one man’s artistic obssession:

The work, which began in 1999 as part of an exhibition that was focused on the coming millennial change, uses “an out-of-date image of the future,”’ according to Kelley, who gave it a high tech spin. But the project was filled with stumbling blocks, from the relatively minor (Kandor was never depicted consistently in comic books) to major (many art-glass producers balked at the scale of the bottles, the largest of which were over 40 inches tall). Some heroes of the day: the workers at the Kavalier Glass Factory in the town of Sázava in the Czech Republic who stepped up to produce the larger bottles.

Kelley’s images of glass cities have now been collected in a book called. "Mike Kelley: Kandors" (Hirmer Verlag) distributed here by University of Chicago Press.

More images of Kelley’s collection in the NY Times link above. Kelly’s art has been exhibited at the Louvre, Tate Liverpool, the Gagosian Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, so he is no crazy fanboy — just an artist with a vision.

  1. Kelley is one of the best-known contemporary artists in the USA. These Kandor works are a lot more eye-pleasing than his usual work, which can be quite challenging. However, in addition to being a highly interesting artist, he has always been a fanboy. Two examples (in addition to the Kandors): when the Los Angeles MOCA was putting together Helter Skelter, its show about the newish art of Los Angeles, Kelley was included. I Ihave heard that it was his suggestion to the curator to include the paintings of Robert Williams. Also, once i was working a booth at San Diego. I saw Kelley walking by and called out his name. I told him I was a fan of his work. He told me he had just come from the auction. I asked him what he got, and he pulled out an original Katy Keene page.

  2. I don’t know, if it’s something you enjoy I don’t see where it’s a bad thing. Too many people get caught up in thinking you should have a 9 to 5 job and come home in the evening to plop down in front of the tv the rest of the night.

    I’ve been making various things including a reproduction of the old G.I.Joe Cobra Base going on the 3rd year now. I enjoy my hobbies and it’s great to provide a service to people who want these things. He sounds like he went through the same processes I have, although he’s been in an art expo… I’m probably more looked at as a “crazy fan” than one with a vision, haha.

    Click my link attached to my name if you want to see the stuff I mentioned.

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