North Texas' newest art gallery is both locally owned and from a galaxy far, far away. The pop culture-focused Galactic Gallery is set to open its doors at the end of September in Flower Mound.
It is the creation of Ben Stevens (with help from his daughter Julie), who founded Dallas Comic Con and ran the show for more than two decades before selling it to London-based Informa in 2014.
After selling the popular comic book convention, Stevens missed the pop culture scene, he says. Plus, the Copper Canyon resident had a growing art collection that he needed to find a home for.
“The idea for Galactic Gallery came from both the desire to stay plugged into the pop culture world that I had been so involved in for the past two decades, and necessity,” Stevens says. “My wife and I had begun to acquire original art of all kinds — from J.C. Leyendecker to Frank Frazetta, from Rolf Armstrong to Patrick Nagel, and all the greats in between. Our walls at home were filling up quickly, and we found ourselves buying more than we could display.”
There’s one artist in particular that captures Stevens’ imagination, and his work will be the focus of much of the gallery: Drew Struzan. His name may not be recognizable, but his work is.
He’s designed and illustrated more than 150 movie posters for a variety of blockbuster franchises, including Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, The Goonies, The Muppets, and Star Wars. Something like 100 million of Struzan's Star Wars posters for the prequels were printed all over the world, Stevens says, and his images were used on toys and other promotional items.
In fact, Star Wars creator George Lucas once called Struzan "the only collectible artist since World War II.”
“Drew Struzan quite literally painted all the great movie posters from my childhood,” Stevens says. “Being plugged into the comic-con world, I was very familiar with his art as many of the exhibitors had Struzan posters in their booths for sale. I wondered if the art for all those great posters still existed."
While on a trip to Los Angeles for an autograph event with Harrison Ford a few years ago, Stevens met the artist, struck up a friendship, and bought some original art from him.
When Galactic Gallery opens, more than 70 original Struzan paintings will adorn the walls of the 5,000-square-foot, custom-built facility. “Our key goal is to further the awareness of this incredible artist, someone I feel is one of the most important artists of my generation," Stevens says.
There will be art and prints by other pop culture artists, as well, including a room dedicated to vintage science fiction works from the ’40s and ’50s. For photo opps, visitors can pose with a lifelike Yoda statue and an 18-foot tall reproduction of a Xenomorph Queen from Aliens II.
“The gallery will be something fans and families can come see, enjoy, and take pictures of,” Stevens says. “And for some folks, purchase an original Drew.”
Entrance to the unique facility will be free of charge, but it is by appointment only.
The buzz has been building globally ahead of the gallery's September opening.
“I have customers from all over the world asking when we will be open for appointments,” Stevens says.
For now, original art, prints, and more can be purchased on the Galactic Gallery website and shipped directly to customers.
The Galactic Gallery address will be 4140 Bryce Ln., Flower Mound. Watch for more opening details at the gallery's website.