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“Turtles in Time” at Bottleneck Gallery

By October 1, 2014January 21st, 2016Art Exhibits, Illustration

This month celebrates the 30th anniversary of our favorite, green skinned, ninjas, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Nickelodeon, Chogrin Muñoz and Bottleneck Gallery are excited to announce that on Friday, October 3rd, we will be celebrating 30 years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with “Turtles In Time”, an official TMNT art show, featuring new work from over 75 artists from around the world. The opening reception will take place from 7pm-10pm at 60 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11249.

75 artists were given the task to create and share the heritage of fun, badass and absurdity that is the TMNT. I’m honored to have been one of the contributing artists, and here’s a look at what i put together for the exhibit.

When first tasked with creating something for this show, I had no clue what to do. The Turtles have been done so many times by so many artists over so many years. i just felt like I was staring up at a large, black monolith while it was staring me down with its all-knowing being and everlasting existence. I wanted to do the group of them without it resorting to a typical “ninja-like” pose.
TMNT Part Wagon Toy by Playmates


I knew I wanted to illustrate the fun of the classic cartoon and toyline but with a slight “edge.” That’s when the action shot of the Turtles in the turtle “in use” came to my mind. Although it’s known as “The Party Wagon,” I wanted it to feel a bit more like a “battle wagon,” hence the grungy, beat up van dressed with graffiti slogans, equipped with top-mounted machine guns, and machine gun fire and shell casings.


The Party Wagon by Justin Gammon - TMNT print at Bottleneck Gallery

“The Party Wagon”

It seemed natural to do a throwback to our childhoods. combing the toys and cartoon with a slightly more modern edge.

The Party Wagon by Justin Gammon - TMNT print at Bottleneck Gallery

Raph drops the bomb… the stink bomb that is.

Another nod to the toys is Raph about to drop this stink bomb on the foot. I don’t recall ever seeing the turtles using stink bombs in their attacks on the foot, but these suckers were accessories w/ the original party wagon toy, and i thought I’d be a nice touch.

The Party Wagon by Justin Gammon - TMNT print at Bottleneck Gallery

Mikey loses control

Instead of goofy lasers or whatnot mounted to the top of the turtle van, I figured I’d make it more of a bad ass, anti-aircraft style gun which shoots real, flesh-tearing-bullets. And as you can see, Mikey doesn’t quite have a handle on it.

TMNT print detail

Foot Stinks

Another trait from the original toy is its miscellaneous slogans slapped onto the side of the fan. The originals were large decals on the turtle van, but i thought if this were “real” the turtles probably would’ve just painted it themselves. And on top if that, this rushed graffiti approach seemed to have nice touch of a quickie “warpaint” ritual they would’ve done before an attack on the Foot. I also figured these guys could be taggers or something.

TMNT print by Justin Gammon

Boot the Foot

This is my take on that weird pop-out seat device on the side of the turtle van. The toy was a bit clunky and generic, so i figured in this realistic approach, they’d use a found object and mount it to this contraption Donatello made. I used airline seats and doors as my inspiration here. Makes this customization more convincing.


Save your Pizza Points!

Save 8 Pizza Points!

The last touch was the debris blowing by behind the Party Wagon. That’s a pizza point sheet blowing by. It’s a nod to those little points you clip and save and for mailaways from the cardbacks of the Playmates action figures. I’m not even sure if they were ever used in offers by Playmates Toys.


But the Party Wagon Print

Justin Gammon

Justin Gammon is an illustrator and designer with a penchant for the weird. This is clearly visible in the bizarre illustrations and animations he creates for the highly lauded and award-winning social media channels for Denny’s Diner.


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