Ken Marschall – World’s Most Famous Titanic Artist- Part One

kmThere are some people in the world that have a talent that was truly heaven-sent. For some, it is the ability to play music, while others seem to have a very natural ability when it comes to athletics. However, there are those who can pick up a paintbrush, or a lump of clay, and create the most beautiful, and breathtaking, works of art that astonish the world. When it comes to works of amazing art, Ken Marschall is one of those people. Ken Marschall is probably the most famous artists in the world, and the subject of his paintings is one that the world continues to talk about to this day.  Just what is the subject this artist has painted more often than anyone else? The legendary ship, the RMS Titanic

Talent At An Early Age

MarchallyoungWhile much is unknown about Ken Marschall’s early years, and where he grew up, the one thing about this famous artist that is known is when he started his artistic career. Born October 28, 1950, Ken Marschall broke into the art scene in 1967, and to everyone’s surprise, he was just 16 years old.  Marschall’s painting of the Titanic was so striking, he was commissioned to paint the liner at the age of 18.  What is even more shocking about Marschall’s Titanic paintings is that he has had no formal training in the world of art, it is just something he was born with.  Who knew that such a talent would take Ken Marschall not only all over the world, but 12 thousand feet underwater?

Ken Marschall and Dr. Robert Ballard

KMRBBack in 1985, Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the RMS Titanic lying on the bottom of the ocean. At the time of its discovery, the Titanic was so far down that accessing her sunken remains was not possible. How could Bob Ballard show the world the Titanic if she was not accessible yet by submarine? The answer is… Ken Marschall. The famous magazine, National Geographic, wanted to show the Titanic in all its glory, but up close pictures of the wreck were not possible. Dr. Ballard called up Ken Marschall, and from his descriptions of what he had seen on the bottom, Marschall was able to create the wreck of the Titanic before she was actually seen by human eyes. The frightening part was just how close to the actual wreck site Marschall was, and the world was stunned at his image that later appeared on the cover of National Geographic.  Dr. Ballard himself was also impressed enough with Marschall’s work that not only has he commissioned paintings of other wrecked ships for Ballard’s books, but even went on expeditions with the famous explorer to view many of these sunken liners.

KMillustratedDr. Robert Ballard is not the only person to ask Ken Marschall for his help depicting something famous. Marschall has been asked to commission paintings for the late Titanic author Walter Lord, astronaut Neil Armstrong, and the famous movie director, James Cameron.  Marschall’s work has been so amazing, especially where the Titanic is concerned, that in 1992, he and historian Don Lynch collaborated together on the book, Titanic: An Illustrated History.  The book has images of the Titanic that Marschall created both from her sailing, and her sinking. In fact, it was Marschall’s amazing paintings of the Titanic sinking that inspired James Cameron. In a documentary, Cameron stated that he used the Illustrated History book when he pitched the idea of his 1997 smash hit, Titanic, to the studios.  According to James Cameron himself, “it became my goal to accomplish on film what Ken Marschall had done on canvas, to will the Titanic back to life.”

In part two of this article, which will be posted here next week, Ken Marschall’s talent will move from the canvas to the silver screen.  Not only has Marschall lent his talents to Hollywood in such hit movies as The TerminatorStand by Me, The Princess Bride, and Pet Sematary.  However, while all these movies were box office hits, it is the relationship that will not only change movie history, but also show the world images of Titanic never seen before as both he and James Cameron explore the ship at 12 thousand feet below the surface of the ocean.

Ken Marschall has a lot of talent, and he will continue to dazzle the world with his incredible talent for many more years to come!