Pop and glamour

Martin Kreloff mixes movie stars, sumos and more into captivating art

Marty Kreloff at Laura Henkel Fine Art
Photo: Steve Marcus

Artist Martin Kreloff is old Hollywood, pop art, Broadway show tunes and Miami art deco. He's Ethel Merman and sumo wrestlers, clever, Sondheim-inspired paintings and stunning movie star portraits, including a glamorous painting of Lucille Ball.

Six years in Las Vegas, his first solo show, Stars and Sumos, opens today at Laura Henkel Fine Art Gallery inside the Arts Factory. Most noticeable in the exhibit is that the 65-year-old Kreloff, who was inspired by Walt Disney, Al Hirschfeld and Andy Warhol, stayed undeniably pop while his contemporaries moved into other avenues of postmodernism.


Stars and Sumos
Through Aug. 21
Laura Henkel Fine Art Gallery, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., 952-9656.
Opening receptions July 1, 5-9 p.m., and July 2, 6-10 p.m.

Born in Brooklyn, he studied design at Parsons, came of age as a painter in Miami, marked the city with his hard-edge minimal style before jetting off to Los Angeles for 15 yeas, then onto Las Vegas. In that time, he's painted commissioned portraits, designed for movie companies, magazines and cultural events. Locals might be familiar with his poster for the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival; his recently unveiled portrait of County Commission candidate David Parks; and his banners to designate the Cultural Corridor, displayed at a recent First Friday and slated for installation this year.

Stars and Sumos highlights his Hollywood series and sumo wrestler paintings, a celebration of Japanese culture that began with geishas (after he read Shogun on the beach while watching waves), moved to kabuki performers, then sumo wrestlers.

Go to the opening and you'll hear him talk about Esther Williams (who secured the rights to one of his paintings for her swimsuit line), Estelle Getty (whose cat Kreloff was commissioned to paint), Cary Grant and others. "Growing up in Brooklyn, we lived in range of seven movie theaters. I was a great movie fan. They're my family in a way."

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