In the quarter century that he was worked in Hollywood, his time on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and then Star Trek: Enterprise was the most fun for production artist John Eaves.
Eaves had to wait a bit before his chance to work full-time on Deep Space Nine came about. “It was 1992/1993 and I was just making the transition from the model shop to the art department when DS9 was in the works,” said Eaves. “My friend Phil Edgerly was working with production designer Herman Zimmerman on some side projects, and he set up a meeting between Herman and I. Herman had me bring in some movie miniatures and a handful of drawings from SeaQuest DSV to show him. Sadly, the art department was already full, but he told me he’d keep me in mind if anything changed and they needed somebody else”
Zimmerman offered Eaves occasional work on the show and then he joined the art department for Star Trek: Generations. “Herman needed some models and again Phil jumped in and reminded Herman about me, and I wound up doing a side job making a bunch of the Enterprise model kits for something Mr. Zimmerman had going with a Trek tour of some kind,” said Eaves. “A short time later, Herman called again and asked if I’d like to join the art department for the film Generations. I gave him a very big yes and my buddy Clark Schaffer, who was a model builder and incredible artist on the side, also got to join the team. It was a short but awesome job and then I went back to the model shop.”
Finally, a slot in the art department for Deep Space Nine opened up, but Eaves had conflicting emotions about leaving the model shop where he worked. “[Deep Space Nine‘s] illustrator, Jim Martin, was moving from TV to films and thus there was an empty chair,” said Eaves. “Herman asked if I’d like to join the DS9 art department for the beginning of the show’s fourth season. I was belt sanding a giant 747 model for the movie Executive Decision when he called and it was honestly a hard choice to say yes because I dearly loved working in the model shop. But it was evident that the CGI world was making the craft of movie miniatures obsolete. I had a long talk with my boss, Grant McCune (who unfortunately just passed away), and he made it easy for me by pushing me out the door as long as I would come back occasionally.”
Working on Star Trek was fun for Eaves. “DS9, followed by Enterprise, which was with all of the folks mentioned above, was most fun I’ve had in my entire twenty-five years working in Hollywood. Great times. And it’s fun to look back at my so very amateur artistic skills from my first days there. I was so thankful Herman had given me the opportunity to be a part of the crew, and to grow and learn. Prop concepts for prop master Joe Longo were the main drive of my job duties, with an occasional spaceship, set or location sketch.”
Eaves has a website where he shares his thoughts and some of his art. The blog is located here.