-Greg Manchess

It’s been a fun but strange process to develop my own particular twist on the Wizard of Oz. Starting from an assignment used at the Illustration Master Class to visualize the story with a steampunk slant, I painted a semi-accurate twist on the original theme.

The result became a cover for Spectrum 17, and led to much curious interest in the tale from my perspective. I followed up with a design of the Bad Guys of Oz: the Wicked Witch, her henchmen, nasty trees with bad apples, and of course, flying monkeys.

Here are a variety of the sketches I used to fit the characters together, much like the good guys from the first painting. I gathered plenty of reference for the costumes, trees, and monkeys, and then redrew them all to fit my needs.

The painting was sold at Galerie Daniel Maghen last year during the opening for “The Book Show.” From that sale, I landed a private commission to redo the first painting, but with a slightly different approach. Playing with that sketch, I explored more of my visualization of the witch, which led to the following thumbnail sketches.

As the vague ideas grew into more concrete imagery, I followed one of them and produced a rather large piece for this year’s show about favorite movies. This new original debued at Spectrum LIVE 2 in May. I’d gone beyond the original movie’s look, but still held on to its influences from my childhood.

With the universal interest in All Things Oz, I feel that I can explore Oz with my own take on it and still stimulate the fun of the original. I have a couple more pieces planned, and at some point, I may do a string of paintings that all relate to somewhere over the rainbow.

Wicked Witch of the West, oil on linen, 24 x 36