Monday, February 28, 2011
Here is another favorite artist of mine Nimit Malavia. To the top is a piece called A Gifted Storyteller. I think that the both the symbolism and the visual appeal of the piece are just beautiful. The treatment to the man's face making him very dark and kind of demonic yet softly whispering into the ear of the girl, telling her lies. I thought that the soft embrace of the two was nice and it allows the artist to tell more of the story by showing the ring finger of both people and only the man has a ring. I really like the play between the visual symbolism of the flowers/ bee and the snake, making his words like honeyed poison.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I went through a children's book phase this week. This image is done by the artist Natalia Ninomiya. It's simplicity and content is what drew me towards this image. I like characters that are developed out of large broad shapes, the boys head being ovally shaped, and the parent blob looks like an oversized kidney. The texture to this piece is also very pleasing. You can clearly see the fluid long brush strokes throughout the whole painting. All except for the kidney parent who is decorated with a heavy grain-like texture, making it feel like the only “real” physical thing in the image. There is lack of attention to perspective, the frames are all uneven, there are hardly any straight lines at all. This creates a lax, carefree air to the image. Also, obviously the only color used is red. What the image is trying to communicate, however, is sort of unclear. The parent kidney looks upset, but you don't know exactly why. Maybe the kid fell asleep half-way through the bedtime story. Though the image is very childlike and simplistic, the use of objects and attention to certain aspects of detail create a complete, finished product.
Oddly enough, this doesn't make me think of video game development at all. The first thing that came to mind was Peter Pan, specifically the lost boys. The texture of the piece makes it feel like book art, but the style is very reminiscent of classic western cartooning and animation.
The image on the left is the original interpretation of the owl boy concept, which was reworked into a very different style. I am a lot more partial to the newer version. The line work is both strong but made subtle without the use of black, and the shading and texture of the piece are a lot developed. The sky rendering is quite impressive, in that the sky seems to have a lot of depth and light, yet it sticks to the cartoon-y style. The new one feels a lot softer and seems to have a lot more personality, especially because the owls are given characteristics of their own, allowing separation between characters. It reads as more of a snapshot than as a static image of a boy and two owls on a branch.
Bill Watterson is a cartoonist most well-known for his highly popular comic strip series Calvin & Hobbes, which ran syndicated for ten years from nineteen-eighty five to nineteen-ninety five. He had ended the strip with a press statement to newspaper editors that he felt he had accomplished all that he could in the medium. The abrupt end to the series has only added to his reclusive nature as an artist.
What I really enjoyed about Watterson’s work was the range of detail he could execute his projects with. Naturally in the realm of the comic strip, the characters in Calvin and Hobbes were often drawn very simply, but every so often we’d also glimpse the true depth of skill he possessed. In the strip below we see a look into Calvin’s childlike imagination, and in his daydream we see a fairly realistic look at a number of dinosaurs… flying jet planes. Either way, I feel the popularity of the series stemmed in part due to many scenes like this and his experiments with illustration.
This is an image by Allan Burch called "Kyoto Protocol". I am drawn this this image because I like the color palette quite a bit. I like how the sky goes from dark and dreary to a brighter, lighter glow. The color scheme lends a sense of hope to the piece, particularly given the content. The movement of dark to light colors offer a literal glow. The environment is something I consider to be a huge priority so I appreciate the fact that this artist has taken the time to create a piece that lends some commentary to an environmental issue like the Kyoto Protocol. I also like the literal explanation that this piece give to that issue. It clearly communicates that idea that the Kyoto Protocol is a piece of legislation that supports regulating air pollution. I think this piece is succesful because its an interesting image, it takes on an important social issue, and it clearly communicates the concept it is illustrating.
Amy Casey is a painter based in Cleveland, Ohio. Her paintings are very illustrative in nature. She normally creates surreal urban landscapes, with floating houses, long exaggerated buildings on stilts, and twisting roads. Most of her paintings are in acrylic, and I really like how the flat colors work in her compositions. Amy says she likes to illustrate the nervous state of the world by showing these suspended homes with wires and streets gnarled around them. I think this works very well while creating a feeling of tension. But at the same time, I also think her painting seem playful, because the setting is so unreal, and the colors also remind me of the way children's books are illustrated. Sometimes the homes and buildings look like figures, and even seem expressive sometimes. If you look at some of her other paintings, they tend to be chaotic and seemingly unorganized. However, I thought this particular piece was beautiful.
Some of the most influential art in history has been classical art by the Greeks and Romans, art which depicted their gods and religious stories. This early art then was really illustration, and one of the early stories was Leda and the Swan, which also happens to be the story illustrated in this very contemporary piece. I think this illustration is particularly interesting because it does sort of create a timeline of art from ancient times to the present, you can pick up on influences for other times and places, and really see how far we’ve come. Purely visually I think this illustration is fantastic. The flat layered trees, grass, and background give it a theatrical feel and the bright white of Leda and the Swan really make the figures pop out of the muted scene. The graphic application of color makes the piece bold and dynamic. This illustration is by Matthew McLemore, an artist and graphic designer currently based in Barcelona, who has worked in film and theater, and done book illustration and album art.
This is a tool-ink pen drawing that I found. This is a picture that was posted on sash0's website on deviantart.com. I really like this piece because of all the details that was put in it, especially in the headpiece and the staff. The shapes and patterns in them look amazing as well. How she used hatching to shade in the picture looks really cool as well. I also really like that she didn't leave the background blank, the pattern in the background looks amazing and makes the whole piece look more complete.
This illustration was created and published in Cleveland in 1911, it illustrates the concept and structure of the capitalist system (politics aside, that’s the idea behind it). I was drawn to this illustration because I like the idea that visuals combined with information can make information more accessible and less dry, and make the art more meaningful. Visually this piece is very much a product of its times. The style of the drawing, relatively realistic with lots of historically specific detail and heavy outlines, compositionally centered and straight forward, makes the piece dated, but no less effective. I think that there is often a temptation to obscure meaning in artwork, but if the point of illustration is to communicate ideas than being obscure is counterproductive. This illustration was relevant and easy to understand for the people viewing it when it was published, I have to wonder what the art and illustration of these times will look like to people 100 years from now.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Warhammer 40,000 is a tabletop strategy game in which geeks assemble and paint plastic miniatures and then pit armies of them against one another.
Warhammer 40,000 is also a science fantasy (look that up) setting that provides the backdrop for all those miniature battles.
The game, I don't give a damn about. I'm not that much of a geek. The universe, however is so absurdly over-the-top-in-your-face-chopping-your-ass-off-with-a-chainsaw-sword grim, dark, bleak, and yet awesome, that I am absolutely in love with it.
Much like the Imperial Inquisitor shown above, much of Mr. Blanche's work is concept drawings/paintings for the GW's products. Character designs, costume designs, mechanical designs, sometimes environment designs too. They are elaborate, bizarre, often rough, and completely mesmerizing. They are great at setting MOOD of the complex, bizarre, and often completely batshit crazy universe John Blanche helped create, and, unlike many elements of this universe, the artwork is truly unique.
Roman Dirge, born 1972, is an artist, illustrator, author, and animator. He is also close friends with Jhonen Vasquez (another favorite artist of mine) and worked with him on the animated series Invader ZIM. Roman Dirge has been one of my favorite artists for years now, and my favorite creation is Lenore, the cute little dead girl. I have the complete collection of the Lenore comics, and some other memorabilia with Dirge’s artwork on it. Dirge’s twisted sense of humor makes me laugh and his bizarre characters are great. The works I have feature are all from his Lenore series. Dirge’s exaggeration of the face and eyes make his characters so expressive. His bold line style makes even his black and white works have depth. When he does work in color, is palette is often limited with muted colors, but I think that adds to the overall aesthetic of the illustration. Its Dirges unique style and sense of humor that really makes me look up to him. His quirky oddball characters, like Lenore, are loveable and unforgettable.
Zso is an Art Director, Illustrator, and Designer from New York. She graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She typically starts with a pencil drawing and then scans the image into photoshop, where she does highlighting and some coloring, then goes back to the physical image for painting/pen work. This back-and-forth style allows her work to have a lot of layers and depth. She also uses found textures she collects with her digital camera, from the streets of New York, such as: concrete, bricks, glass, and graffiti, which adds a realistic-photo dimension to her illustrations. When working digitally, she also takes time-lapsed screenshots during her process, and stores them so she can study them later if she feels that a work is incomplete/wrong.
A short video of her working digitally can be found at http://vimeo.com/13720897, on her Vimeo channel, where she shares more tips/work/etc.
Tom Richmond is an American illustrator working today. Most of you may know him from his work with MAD Magazine. He started working there in 2000, and is a major contributor today. He does a lot of parody illustrations off of TV shows and movies. I like the way he works a lot because he specialized in caricature and he can really find a way to make fun of something. You can even like the show or movie, and still laugh at it. He use traditional media to layout his artwork, and then colors it in on Photoshop. He also uses watercolor and airbrush with his caricature work. I really admire comedy artist like Tom, because its what I try to do with most of my own work. This image is from the movie School of Rock. The movie was ok (not my favorite Jack Black movie) but I think the artwork represents his work pretty well. When he works he leaves the speech bubbles blank and the editors and writers fill them in. He’s an awesome comedy illustrator.
This is an illustration by Darion McCoy titled “Gender.” I guess what I like about this is the color scheme and that the subject is not immediately apparent. We see a young boy (but possibly a girl?) walking through the hallway at school, staring at his shadow cast on the lockers. But then you notice that his shadow has breasts and has more curves, and her arms are swinging from her sides rather than holding books. This is a very psychological illustration and I think that’s what drew me to it.
This artist’s style is very interesting to me. He frequently abstracts the human form, and fills the background with shapes you would not expect to find in that setting. The color scheme is very unnatural, it is mostly complimentary colors, but most notably, the boy’s shadow is lighter than its surroundings. The line quality varies between the crisp smooth outlines of the figure, and the wobbly, uneven lines of the background.
Eric Joyner is a contemporary artist that attempts to use styles and techniques to mimic art from the 1920’s and 30’s. He makes his work seem older then it is by using the techniques that were heavily used during that time period. As artists started to experiment with their tools of choice painters started taking advantage of paints natural viscosity and how the brush stroke can be seen long after the painting is complete. Joyner has a lot of weight to his brush strokes and is not concerned about making his work as real to life as possible. However, he does work mainly in Robots and Doughnuts so realism is not hard to achieve. It is quite easy to see the gesture of the brush in every painting he does.
Joyner often illustrates freelance and occasionally for periodicals and companies. However, he tends to only publicize his personal art. He severely separates himself into two different artists, one that illustrates to earn money and another that illustrates for the joy of it. Choosing to only show his Robots and Doughnuts series to an increasing fan base. Seemingly he joyfully creates these lighthearted pieces to profit off of and realize the back of the brain dream most artists have, to get famous off of art they enjoy to make. He seems to be at this point selling prints of his work for about 500 dollars.
As his material has become more popular he seems to create more of the same. The soft, mildly chaotic and lighthearted illustrations are very all purpose. They seem to be able to go just about anywhere in a house and perhaps that is why he is making such a killing doing what he is doing. It may also explain why he is doing more of the same even after all of this time.
For this week, I decided to go with a piece from an illustrator who is more well-known. It is likely that even if you do not know Drew Struzan's name you have seen his work, as he is the man behind some pretty iconic illustrated movie posters (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter being prime examples). However, I have never seen this piece, done for Pan's Labyrinth, outside of his gallery website, even though, according to the caption on the site, it was done for promotional purposes.
Stylistically, the piece seems to draw heavily on the organic motifs and more decorative backgrounds of Art Nouveau. In addition, the muted colors have a definite resemblance to Arthur Rackham's work, something that I think was intentional given who the illustration was for. In terms of style, it is definitely successful.
In terms of the content, I feel that this piece captures a main theme of the movie really well. I recall someone once saying that though the tasks that the faun gives to Ofelia are terrifying, they are less horrible than the other circumstances in her life. This illustration shows this perspective perfectly, as a distraught Ofelia seems to find comfort in the faun's magical world. What I find particularly interesting about this piece, and this may just be reading too much into it, is the faun's direct gaze at the viewer. There is something accusing in his expression, as if he holds the viewer responsible for Ofelia's grief.. if this was the artist's intent, it is intense and I love it. For this reason, this is my favorite Struzan piece, even if it didn't really see much use in promotional material.
For anyone interested in a trip down memory lane, see more of Drew Struzan's work at his site.
I just came across this piece on a whim, but it caught my eyes straight away. The scene is obviously inspired by the anime style and succeeds in capturing quite a mundane slice of life. Probably one most of us have witnessed and been a part of while commuting around the city. The detail and presence of the line art and the sort of simpleness of the colors give the scene a rather crisp look to everything. The use of the light, the frame of the door, and an uncommon hair color all help pull the focus on the girl stepping out. It’s just a simple, nice, but well done picture to look at overall.
Robert Crumb is an illustrator who is also a musician. He does a lot of comic book art and satire art. He was inducted in the Will Eisner's Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1991. Crumb was the founder of the Underground Comix and in 1970, one of his most famous comic books was called, " Keepin' on Truckin" along with helping with the illustrations for the comic book called "American Splendor" for Harvey Pekar.
His work is very sketchy, his style is messy and depressing. He draws pop culture and he also illustrates real life. He knows how to capture the essence of life in his work. His art is very interesting to look at because he has a very distinctive style. Some of his art is in just pen and ink but sometimes he adds color. The color he uses is bold and flat. He uses a lot of hatch marks to shade in his subjects which contributes to his messy and crazy style.