Working sketch for Star Trek® Communicator Magazine

In 1989, my then representative, Phil Edgerly, walked onto the set of "Star Trek®: The Next Generation" (ST: TNG) on the Paramount lot in Hollywood with a small original reverse glass painting, titled: "Red Moon Study," and a handful of color transparencies of other pieces. There for the first time, he met with ST: TNG Emmy® Award winning production designer Richard James and set decorator Jim Mees (both later with "Star Trek®: Voyager"). Richard James exclaimed, "I love it ... I want it ... can you get this to me right away?!", and that's how my work came to be used as decoration on the show. As a result, photographic blowups of four of my original paintings were featured as set decorations on the Starship Enterprise throughout the third and fourth seasons of the show.

Letter from Richard James clarifying my place in the show

Working sketch for Star Trek® Communicator Magazine

I had never even thought about my paintings being used on "Generation" or in Star Trek® feature films. I loved the show. The original Star Trek® had been our familys' favorite show. I guess it just seemed so far beyond me. In fact, the whole experience didn't seem to register as my work for quite awhile. It was as though I simply could not believe my own eyes.

My kids would yell, "Dad, your paintings on!" and I'd be in the kitchen and come running and they'd say, "Oops ... you just missed it. But it was! A Klingon just walked past your painting!"

Patrick Stewart says: "Dave, you're one of us"

This went on for most of a season in which I just didn't get it. By "get it" I mean, I still couldn't quite grasp that the work was really mine, which sounds weird I know, but true, and also, just how powerful the Star Trek® show was, and what it meant for my career. Then one evening, I was all alone in my apartment and the show came on. I was not looking for my work in particular, just watching, when about halfway through the episode --- suddenly --- there was Captain Picard and Troi sitting in front of a large blowup of one of my paintings. It filled the screen ... the camera lingered a bit ... and finally, I was smiling from ear to ear like a goon, saying to myself, "... oh man, that's mine, and it could have been some other chump's ... mine ... on Star Trek!" I was high for weeks. I wanted to tell everyone from the postman to the guy ahead of me in line at the bank. It was just so cool to be part of such an American original, and to know my work would be seen all over the world, and also, captured in syndicated episodes, pretty much forever. It's not hard to convey how much excitement this good fortune brought to my career. The phone rang incessantly, leading to many other connections and successes. The fax machine buzzed like a beehive. The mailbox filled up. It even evoked the darker side of things. My daughter, who ran the office for me in those days, received threats on our answering machine. A throaty serial killer voice, whispering, " ... so, Mr. big time Star Trek huh ... time to die ..."... click. Oooo.

My works were also used in two Star Trek® feature films: "Star Trek® VI: The Undiscovered Country," where several blow-ups of my paintings can be seen in the opening Federation conference room scene behind Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura. After specially lighting the works, director Nicholas Myer decided they were stealing the scene, and had the Director of Photography tone the light levels down to focus more on the actors. Dang!

Photo: Elliot Marks / Copyright © Paramount Pictures (All Rights Reserved)

In "Star Trek® Generations," my work can be seen as it appears (see above) in the "United Federation of Planets" symbol during the opening spacedock dedication scene, though partially blocked by a crowd of Starfleet officials standing in front of it ... dang again ... (the symbol has been reproduced on various merchandise available through Star Trek® Communicator Magazine).

Unused sketch for Federation Logo / © Dave Archer

Nexus / Guinan's quarters / Star Trek® Generations / © Dave Archer

Later in the film, Picard can be seen standing in front of my specially designed "Nexus" painting in Guinan's quarters. Nexus was inspired by "Power Vision" an original glass piece I painted in 1986.

From sublime to ridiculous / my work on 7/11 Slurpee machines and cups nationwide

Yours Truly, Capt. Quirk

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