Professional Artist Fulfills Gallery Dream

Martin Geller gets first show after 50 years in the business

Martin Geller has spent his whole adult life making art. His works have been seen in feature films and network television. Despite his more than 50 years of creating art, his upcoming May 16 opening at the J Pocker Framing and Art Gallery in Manhasset is his first-ever gallery show.

He is an expert at producing his own compelling take on diverse art styles, from cubism to impressionism, modernism, Bauhaus, Realism, Abstract Expressionism, Fauvism, Surrealism, and Mid-Century Modern. “What intrigues me and gives me passion is to recreate the look of 20th-century art genres. I sort of tried to pay homage to them.”

Born in Brooklyn in the early 1950s, Geller was raised on Long Island and has been living in Manhasset for the last 30 years. He studied fine art at Pratt Institute and landed a job making art for the news on ABC TV. Then, he moved over to NBC.

Then came a breakthrough; at the beginning of his career, he used all traditional media such as paint, canvas, and airbrush equipment. In the mid-1990s, however, digital tools had finally reached a point where he felt it was worth incorporating them into his art, and he never looked back. “Digital Art reached a level of sophistication that allowed me to produce artwork without compromise. Photoshop, at that point, was strong enough to do really whatever I wanted, and it provided me with the freedom to explore creative possibilities much faster than I could in the past. And it allowed me the flexibility to make non-destructive adjustments to my art at any time. Whereas if I’m working with an airbrush and the paint stills on the paper, that was very frustrating.” Geller said.

Geller continued at NBC for a further 35 years, 14 of which he spent working on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. “It really fit my personality; I love humor, I love entertainment. I stayed there until Conan took on hosting The Tonight Show in LA. I didn’t want go to LA, so I decided to stay,” said Geller.

Other storied institutions that have used his art are The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, major television networks, national magazines, renowned music labels, and major book publishers, including the notable “Big Five”. Two of his posters are in the recent movie Dream Scenario starring Nicholas Cage. His accolades include multiple New York Emmy Awards among numerous others.

He follows a collage model, with each piece coming together in layers. The digital medium is especially appropriate for this style of creating. “I do either designs and posters or I do digital paintings. And for my personal designs on posters, they just start with a blank slate and proceed from there. Many of them I try combining multiple photos that I either shoot myself or I use photos that I can legally use and manipulate the tones the shapes, colors, etc. And I then add brush strokes and textures. My goal is to try to connect with viewers on a visceral level so they can get into and understand the principles behind (the work),” said Geller.

Geller’s creative process is strongly rooted in both his lived experience and a rich inner life. “My creative process varies for each piece. But they all begin with an inspirational spark. Sometimes an idea for design may play in my mind for days before I spontaneously start exploring shapes and colors and space. Or I might be drawn to something unexpected in my surroundings, and immediately use it as a starting point for exploration, and form clusters of designs. The whole point is to achieve a balance in which every element possesses a harmonious visual tension with every other every aspect of the design,” Geller said.

After a serious medical incident in 2022, Geller felt he needed to check a few other things off his list. “I had two heart attacks, the first one in 2016. And then in 2022, I had another and it was cardiac arrest. My heart stopped, and miraculously, somehow I survived. After that, I said to myself, ‘You know what, having an art show, it’s been on my bucket list. What the heck?’ So I brought my laptop with all my stuff, showed it to Gayla (manager at J Pocker) and asked if she would do a show, and she said sure.”

Geller approaches each genre like an actor performing a role, taking on and inhabiting the style like a character. “In the sense that the actor needs to inhabit a character in a role to make it believable and to make to make it real, I try to do that with the art genres. I try to inhabit the character and personality and vision of the genre in order to produce something that I think looks authentic.”

The show will be on display for four weeks starting Thursday, May 16 at the J Pocker Framing and Art Gallery, 447 Plandome Rd. in Manhasset. A reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. opening night. High quality giclee prints of displayed works will available for purchase.

Just Getting Started

Kevin James Thornton’s super second act

By Amanda Olsen • May 10, 2024


Dining guide-spring
  • No events