Artist Martin Geller at J. Pocker gallery in Manhasset, which...

Artist Martin Geller at J. Pocker gallery in Manhasset, which is giving him a solo show. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Martin Geller already had an accomplished career. A graphic design artist for about 40 years for ABC and NBC, including 14 years on the "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" show, his work has been featured in movies, books, and various news graphics.

But after surviving a second heart attack in 2022, the 74-year-old Manhasset artist realized there was one thing he had never achieved — a solo show.

On Thursday, Geller will have his first show and gallery reception at J. Pocker Framing & Art Gallery in Manhasset, featuring 24 curated pieces made entirely on Photoshop.

“I said to myself, having an art show has always been on my bucket list,” Geller said.

The digitally made paintings are a limited edition, with 10 copies of each available for sale. The showing runs through June 13.

Geller’s accolades include multiple New York Emmy Awards and awards for his work in print media. After retiring in 2010, he continued to create art, contributing to institutions such as The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Two of his posters are in the recent movie “Dream Scenario,” starring Nicolas Cage, all by using Photoshop.

He also set up a YouTube channel that posts Photoshop tutorials, where he is known as Marty to his more than 1 million subscribers.

Instead of an art gallery in Manhattan, Geller said it made more sense to work with J. Pocker, as they are around the corner.

The store represents about 60 local artists who display their work for a few months at a time. The gallery first displayed some of Geller's work about two years ago. This is the first time an artist's work will be shown on this large of a scale at the location.

Geller recalled solely working in analog early on in his career in the mid-1970s, using tools like airbrushes and painting by hand.

“That was the only thing available at the time,” he said. “I have a whole drawer full of tools that probably many graphic artists today wouldn’t know what it is.”

As the field switched to digital, he incorporated programs like Quantel Paintbox in the mid-1980s and Photoshop. Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects in the '90s.

Since then, Geller said he has never looked back.

“Photoshop has become my paintbrush,” he said.

The program gives him more freedom than painting by hand, Geller explained, such as never worrying about ink spilling on his creation and being able to make additions easily.

Photoshop has also allowed Geller to explore creative possibilities much faster than before. Each piece takes about three to four days, working 10 to 12 hours a day — much less than painting by hand.

Gayla Martin, the gallery's manager, described Geller as an artist passionate about the 20th century visual movement, paying it homage while making it his own by tapping into a wide range of genres, ranging from Impressionism to op art.

“It looks so real, and he takes on the characteristics of those genres so well, that most people think they're truly from that era or genre,” she said.

Geller said his process begins with an “inspirational spark,” whether it is something that catches his eye or simply an idea that inspires a design. 

Geller hopes when people come to see his work, they will form a connection with at least one piece.

“Making a connection in soul is the highest form of connection; it goes beyond words,” he said. “Making that connection from one human being to another is the art in itself.”

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