Fine art with a twist

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Bill Niemeyer brings illustrator art to Hamilton County

In the heart of Carmel’s Arts &Design District, the sign for a newly-opened art gallery is emblazoned with the image of a muscular man, Atlas the Titan, holding the weight of the world upon his shoulders. The Atlas Fantasy Art House focuses primarily on illustrator art with a special emphasis on high-end fantasy and science-fiction art.

As a major player in the field of illustrator art – the art you might see on a book or album cover, or in comics and cartoons – Bill Niemeyer has established a sizeable collection for display and sale in his gallery. At opening, the gallery will feature pieces from artists like Donato Giancola, Michael Whelan and Julie Bell.

Like most passionate individuals, Niemeyer’s love of illustrator art began as a child, when he came upon a copy of “Eternals #8” by famed comic book artist Jack Kirby, who helped create characters like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

“I remember the art really grabbing me, much more so than the story,” said Niemeyer.

From there, Niemeyer was hooked to illustrator art through one medium or another. It wasn’t until many years later, though, he finally began collecting and selling art.

“After I left the Air Force, I sold comics to support myself through college,” said Niemeyer. “Then I bought my first piece of art, and I was hooked.”

While he still has a strong interest in comic art, Niemeyer’s newfound interest in original pieces (rather than comic books) came from the added rarity and importance of original work.

“With original art, it is the only one. You can always find another ‘The Incredible Hulk #180’ or ‘Action Comics #1.’ You can’t do that with original art,” said Niemeyer. “I don’t even look at (comic) books anymore.”

Beyond the gallery, Niemeyer is also an avid filmmaker and owner of Atlas Film Productions. He is entering the shooting phase of a documentary focusing on several aspects of illustrator art.

“My intent with the film (and the gallery) is to show the creative process and portray (illustrator art) as fine art with a twist that deserves to hang beside the likes of Norman Rockwell and Rembrandt,” said Niemeyer.

In the future, Niemeyer plans to coordinate community events at the gallery with a wide variety of featured artists, most likely in conjunction with Gen Con, an extremely popular game convention held at the Indianapolis Convention Center every August.

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