Past, present and future comes alive in official Derby artwork collage

A dynamic and explosively colorful patchwork by famed collage artist Derek Gores has been formally unveiled as the official artwork for the 139th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby.

Titled "More Than Meets The Eye," the official Kentucky Derby 139 commemorative poster showcases Gores' unique "torn paper" collage technique. Bits and pieces of the past and present intermingle to form this vibrant interpretation of the Kentucky Derby.

Officials from Churchill Downs and JettStream Productions, which is in its 12th year as the official licensee of the "Art of the Kentucky Derby" series, joined Gores to formally unveil the work at Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. (EST).

Made available just in time for the holiday shopping season, the commissioned artwork will appear on posters, prints, ornaments, coffee cups, mini puzzles, magnets, tickets, racing programs and officially licensed product for Kentucky Derby 139, which will be staged on May 4, 2013.

Merchandise is available for purchase online at KentuckyDerbyStore.com, as well as the Churchill Downs Store, which is open on-track through the end of the fall meet on November 25. Product also will be sold at The Finish Line Gift Shop at the Kentucky Derby Museum and select retailers.

The 2013 official artwork is a virtual scrapbook of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks memorabilia with hundreds of vintage imagery. Armed with materials such as magazines, labels, maps, digital textures, typography and other man-made elements, Gores aims for a "living, breathing, moving image" in his works.

"The thrill for me is to watch the viewer make sense of the image, and to come to grips with how it is one thing from far away and quite another up close," said Gores, a 41-year-old New York native who resides in Melborne, Florida.

The viewer sees a explosively colorful depiction of the Thoroughbreds as they fly past, only to step closer and realize they are actually seeing many diverse scraps of paper that tell a story unto themselves.

The gleaming Kentucky Derby winner's trophy, Twin Spires, starting gate, tote boards, men and women dressed to the nines -- and some attired in "not so" finery -- along with many of Churchill Downs' icons all find a spot to mingle and their place in Derby history.

When asked how the Kentucky Derby artwork compared to his other sporting event commissions, Gores said, "It was a natural fit and a thrilling challenge to work on the Kentucky Derby project. It allowed me to capture the power and muscle of the race, the fashion and fun of the event, all while recycling elements like race programs, tickets, stats, fan photos and, of course, a mint julep recipe or two."

In 2010, Gores was named one of the 40 important artists of the New Contemporary Movement while in a show at London Miles Gallery in the United Kingdom. Additionally, he was one of 15 artists asked to show at the Manifest Hope: DC exhibit at the Presidential Inauguration in Washington.

With a truly international client base, Gores is represented in Barcelona, Spain; Cologne, Germany; and London. Nationally, his works are shown in Los Angeles; Santa Fe, New Mexico; New York; and Florida.

Recently, Gores was commissioned to create six large collages for the newly-built Amway Center, which is home to the NBA's Orlando Magic. His design clients include musicians Madonna, Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz and Kings of Leon; ESPN; the National Football League; and Lucasfilm, one of the world's leading film and entertainment companies.

In December, Gores is scheduled to exhibit at the 11th edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach, Florida, the most prestigious art show in America.

Other artists and illustrators whose work has been procured for the "Art of the Kentucky Derby" series include legendary singer Tony Bennett (2001); Gary Kelley (2002); Laura Smith (2003); Francis Livingston (2004); Bart Forbes (2005); Dennis Ziemienski (2006 Kentucky Derby), Erica Nordena (2006 Kentucky Oaks); Misha Lenn (2007); Trish Biddle (2008); Jeff Williams (2009); Linda Le Kinff (2010); Lesley Humphrey (2011); and Robert Joyner (2012).

Other past Kentucky Derby artists include Leroy Neimann, Peter Max, Boguslaw Lustyk and Peter Williams.

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